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, hsavoteno.wordpress.com 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.