News » Whistler

Health care employees still waiting for wage increase



Workers at the Whistler Health Care Centre are angry and frustrated that they haven't received the same wage increases as their unionized counterparts across the province.

Their employer, the Community Health Council (CHC) has told them they must wait for the Ministry of Health to approve the pay hikes because they do not belong to any union.

"Up to recently we've always had a really good working relationship with our administration and so never felt the need to be unionized," said Francesca Cole, the head nurse at the Whistler Health Care Centre.

"Most people feel insulted at the moment," she added.

There are over 60 employees at the centre who are now working on a different pay scale to unionized health care workers. This number includes the added staff that join the centre during the winter, its busiest time of the year.

The CHC is hoping that the matter can be resolved quickly but they don't have the money right now to cover the wage increases for the Whistler Health Care workers.

"We receive money from the province. We don't have a large surplus," said Brian Kines, the chief executive officer for the CHC. "I can certainly appreciate their frustration. I wish there was a better process in the ministry to recognize pay increases to non-unionized employees."

Currently the ministry has approved funding for union facilities but has not approved any funding for non-union facilities.

Workers in Squamish and Pemberton, who fall under the same Sea to Sky Community Health Council as those in Whistler, are now making more money than non-unionized workers.

"It's not fair. We're doing the same work," said Cole.

Earlier this year, after five years of restraint and wage controls, B.C.'s unionized health care employees were awarded wage increases.

Workers under the British Columbia Nurses' Union were given a 23.5 per cent wage increase for the average nurse over the next three years.

Health science workers under the Health Sciences Association were also given general wage increases of 5.5 per cent to 14.25 per cent over three years.

It was a hard-fought battle with the province that saw members of BCNU on an overtime ban starting in April. Members of the HSA started an overtime ban in May which escalated to a rotating withdrawal of services and then to a province-wide strike on the first week of June.

The matter was finally resolved in August with increased wages over a period of time, among other things.

But health care employees in Whistler were far removed from the toils of the union members this year.

Add a comment