The bargaining committee negotiating on behalf of twenty RNs and RPNs working at Community Living BC's Provincial Assessment Centre (PAC) is recommending a five-year tentative agreement for approval.
The proposed agreement, running from April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2019 follows the provincial wage mandate of 5.5% over five years, plus four possible economic stability dividends. With the two dividends paid to date, the value of the contract rises to 6.3%, with the possibility of two additional dividends paid in 2018 and 2019.
The tentative agreement also commits Community Living BC to an independent review of the challenges facing the PAC in recruiting and retaining nurses because of the difference in work opportunities and compensation with public sector nurses. The review will address hiring issues arising from the current wage gap with health sector nurses, which makes it difficult to attract new hires into these demanding jobs.
PAC nurses work with a complex clientele who are 14 years of age or older and have a developmental disability and a mental health or behavioural disorder.
The tentative agreement also proposes aligning wage increase dates with the health sector and introduces a new nine-step wage grid with increments every 12 months instead of every 18 months.
Portability of seniority for new hires is also established, in order to make recruitment into the sector more attractive.
Other monetary benefits include a lift to $300 in the contribution towards nurses' annual licensing fees, effective April 1, 2018, an increase of special leave to two days effective April 1, 2017, and increases to shift differentials and recruitment and retention bonuses.
The employer also committed to reviewing the Attendance Management Program to update and simplify procedures.
Members will receive a full package of improvements prior to the ratification vote on August 9.
PAC nurses Melissa Clint and Julie Dutt participated at the bargaining table with BCNU negotiator Laura Anderson.
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