Throughout this difficult round of negotiations, we never lost sight of the value of the work performed by the General Support Services members who are the unseen heroes of our health care system. This bargaining unit represents more than 100 classifications — from administrative support staff and financial analysts to laundry workers and surgical processors, our work keeps AHS facilities safe and clean, and running smoothly.
One of our greatest challenges in this difficult round of bargaining was the “zero mandate” of wage freezes. The employer was adamant about these freezes, and so we were just as adamant about addressing longstanding inequities, strengthening the agreement’s language and providing job security for our members in an uncertain future.
The mandate GSS members gave to the bargaining committee was for better internal equity among health-care workers, with a focus on benefits. In this tentative agreement, we have achieved improvements to areas such as overtime and health benefits, bringing our entitlements closer to the level of other AHS employees.
Some of these improvements will help members we heard from who are struggling with specific concerns, such as those burdened with the high cost of equipment such as CPAP machines, or diabetic supplies, including the flash glucose monitoring system (e.g. FreeStyle Libre). These were items our members felt strongly about, and we want you to know we heard you. We also achieved overall improvements that will help all benefit eligible members, such as enhanced dental and paramedical coverage and an increase of $100 to our annual flexible health spending account.
We have also succeeded in bargaining groundbreaking new rights for our members in this tentative agreement. For example, a new workload appeal process will give our members a tool to address ongoing workload issues. In addition, employment security provisions and protections against contracting out will stem the trend of selling off our jobs to the lowest bidder.
This agreement also guarantees our members job security until March 30, 2020. We have also added recent changes to Occupational Health and Safety and Employment Standards laws in our collective agreement, which protects these rights.
In fact, these changes go beyond the minimum legal protections for members struggling with challenges outside of work, such as new domestic violence leave provisions.
AHS GSS will be in the lead as the first health care group to take part in the wage reopener process beginning on January 15, 2019.
There is increasing justification for improved wages during the wage reopener talks, given the improving economic conditions in the province. If no agreement has been reached we will have the ability to apply for arbitration by March 31, 2019. The arbitration will be held no later than June 30, 2019, where we will be able to make compelling economic arguments about the value of our work.
We are recommending members vote in favour of this tentative agreement, but ultimately the choice is yours. By voting in the ratification process outlined below, you can have your say.
If you vote in favour, this tentative agreement will take effect. If you vote against, we will continue to negotiate the Essential Services Agreement and prepare our next move in the face of a possible strike or lockout.
Your bargaining committee thanks you for your patience, support and participation throughout the bargaining process. We know that only a mobilized and engaged membership can help us achieve the recognition, respect and equality that we deserve.
AHS GSS BARGAINING TEAM MEMBERS:
To View the TA Summary, voting instruction and to review the full Tentative Agreement click hereResources: