Arbitrators continue to award increases in health care

Two more arbitration decisions recently awarded increases to hospital-based employees.

OPSEU members at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) were awarded retroactive increases of 2.5 per cent per year as part of a first collective agreement. The two-year agreement runs from November 7, 2008 to November 6, 2010. CHEO had retracted its wage offer during bargaining after the government introduced the Public Sector Compensation Restraint to Protect Public Services Act. The arbitrators awarded the increase following decisions at Windsor Regional Hospital, Sunnybrook, and earlier between CHEO and LIUNA.

The Toronto Star reports today that about 16,000 SEIU members in 60 hospitals across Ontario have been awarded two per cent raises in each of two years.

In this latest arbitration, arbitrator Kevin Burkett wrote: “Government pronouncements of intent with respect to future funding are not, in and of themselves, sufficient to override what would other wise be the content of an arbitrated award.A legislated directive would be required for this to happen.”

Dwight Duncan told the newspaper that “we won’t be transferring additional funds to accommodate them. That’s just the bottom line,” he said.

Tom Closson, CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association, said the government should enact legislation capping what arbitrators can award so there is “equity” between non-unionized and unionized health workers.

The OHA CEO dismissed the 2007 Supreme Court of Canada decision that struck down a BC law that took away worker’s rights and stripped job protection.

The CEO of Windsor Regional Hospital has been on his own rant about arbitration decisions following an award to OPSEU members at his hospital. (

One response to “Arbitrators continue to award increases in health care

  1. Apparently the OHA CEO’s reference to “EQUITY” between non-unionized and unionized health workers with respect to compensation awards, seems to conveniently overlook the fact that some, if not many, non-unionized management workers got big five digit raises in each of two years preceding the Public Sector Compensaton Restraint Act…how convenient!
    If we had a five digit raise last year and/or before that… I would be happy to have my salary frozen this year too. Perhaps a reminder is due instead: that if you can’t pay what health care workers are worth on the front lines…then you deserve to lose them. Our compensation awards are nowhere near five digits!
    It also behooves me that the OHA CEO feels he is in a position to simply dismiss the 2007 SUPREME COURT of CANADA decision. Political rhetoric. With such self-justification, it would be most appropriate, therefore, that he should run for the position of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada…himself. And that, my friends, is my rhetoric too.

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