Wednesday, February 16, 2011

In labour news...will the HSA "vote no" campaign have an impact on the wage freeze?

I reported earlier about several CUPE locals that have voted overwhelmingly to reject a contract proposal under the government mandated wage freeze. The locals bargain together with a component of the HSA for a single "HSPBA" collective agreement.

Unfortunately, the HSA bargaining team is recommending the tentative agreement. But there is substantive resistance amongst some members. A website, is blogging to convince HSA members to vote no.

Even if the overall vote is a yes in the end, this represents a significant shift in the mood of public sector union members in relation to the wage freeze. A sizeable number are willing to reject contracts that meet the "net zero" mandate.

And so they should.

This mandate is a wage cut for BC's public sector workers at a time when others are receiving modest increases. Inflation is now pushing up above 2.5%, meaning any wage freeze in a two year agreement (which they all are) equals a 5 - 6% pay cut. And not just for this year,...but for every year after unless that cut is subsequently reversed - a much more difficult prospect than maintaining cost of living increases.

Is this justified? Since the Liberals came to power in 2001, while private sector wages have increased on average 25% over the decade, public sector wages rose only 17% (averages based on data from Statistics Canada). Government interference and wage mandates have had an unfair impact and it is time for public sector workers to say no.


  1. Thanks for your support! We do have a big fight ahead of us if we want to save our public services; the trend right now is for governments to cut costs in favour of corporate tax cuts. This might be good for a few people who own shares in VERY BIG business, but it's not good for the rest of us! There is a lot we can do because we are organized into unions, and so much more that we can do united as a labour movement. Keep in touch and we'll do the same!
    On behalf of HSA Vote No,
    Miriam Martin

  2. Two more days until the results of the vote will be known. It was very irresponsbile for the HSA Leadership to reccomend a Tentative Agreement that would be so divisive amongst the membership.

    Leadership that is totally out of touch with the membership.