Unifor Local 4606 today reached an agreement with Northwoodcare Inc. and the Provincial Government, which will see wages for our members at Northwoodcare Inc. adjusted upward by one per cent to match more recent public sector settlements. This settlement was reached outside of normal bargaining. It will include retroactive pay as outlined below.
The agreement became necessary because your Bargaining Committee concluded its collective bargaining in 2021, before other public sector locals – including the Health Support Bargaining Unit which Unifor was the Lead Negotiator, and before to the full impact of inflation was known. Subsequent negotiations for other public sector groups addressed some of the impact from growing inflation. This resulted in higher pay increases than healthcare was able to achieve. Today’s new agreement fixes that difference.
Your Bargaining Committee and the Healthcare Council of Unions settled its collective agreement in June of 2021. That deal followed the NSTU pattern of a 1.5% economic adjustment in November 1, 2020 and 1.5% on November 1 of 2021. The Council was then able to negotiate a combined 2.5% economic adjustment for 2022. The first 1.5% applied November 1, 2022, the last 1% was to apply October 31, 2023.
This deal was among the best settlements in Canada for healthcare at the time. However, it was made just as inflation was starting to show in month-over-month CPI statistics and inflation is notoriously difficult to predict.
As we all now know, inflation continued to grow throughout 2021. Even before the end of the year, it became clear that the 2.5% adjustment for Health Care for 2022 would not be enough to offset 2021 inflation.
In the spring of 2022, the pattern was broken in the established public sector wage pattern and closed the gap on inflation by taking Civil Service bargaining unit to arbitration. At arbitration, the Union sought greater economic adjustments for Civil Service.
On June 8, 2022, Arbitrator Susan Ashley’s award changed the public sector pattern by increasing the amount in the third year of the Civil Service deal to 3% on the first day of the last year and 0.5% on the last day. The award kept the same 1.5% and 1.5% for the first two years.
Although the first two years of the wage pattern remained at 1.5% respectively, the third year saw an overall increase of 1% over the existing pattern.
Other public sector agreements in the province began to follow the new Civil Service pattern.
Unifor, with the support of your Employer, held discussions with government about this starting early in the fall. Your Union is pleased to report that the provincial government and Northwoodcare Inc. have agreed that members will have their wages adjusted to match the Civil Service and Support Services pattern.
For Unifor Members at Northwoodcare Inc., you will see an additional 1% added to your pay and will have 0.5% advanced forward by one year.
In addition, any classification whose top step hourly rate is below $20 an hour before the application of the 3% adjustment, will receive an additional $1,950 divided by 2080 hours (approximately $.93) an hour at each step of the scale which was negotiated in the Health Support Bargaining Unit.
This means the new corrected wage pattern will look as follows:
- Replace the existing November 1, 2022 1.5% increase with a 3% increase effective the same date;
- Effective November 1, 2022, prior to the application of the 3% mentioned above, for any classification in which the top of the wage scale is less than $20.00/hr, provide an additional $1,950 divided by 2080/hr increase to each step of the wage scale; and
- Replace the existing October 21, 2023 1% increase with a 0.5% increase effective the same date.
The Unions will also finalize a time frame in which retroactivity on these wage adjustments will be paid.
This increase helps address some of the impact inflation has had since the time that the original healthcare agreements were negotiated.