Homewood Health Centre HLDAA Arbitration decision determines inflation must be considered
Recently, the members at Homewood Health Centre in Guelph received a precedent-setting victory at interest arbitration.
As is often the case for healthcare collective agreements, the Union and the company met in arbitration (referred to as the Hospital Labour Disputes Arbitration Act, or HLDAA) to reach a fair contract for the workers. These arbitration hearings often lag one or more years behind the current year meaning workers are left waiting for retroactive wage increases and other improvements.
After both the Union and Homewood Health Centre had presented their arguments, Arbitrator Hayes issued a decision that is important in a couple of ways.
- First, the decision included detailed reasons as to why Arbitration boards must consider inflation when issuing decisions. That reasoning included that “to defer this issue to future bargaining would render their recent inflationary losses permanently unrecoverable.”
Arbitrator Hayes also addressed the issue of patterns: “Arbitral application of the replication principle does not entail willful blindness or embracing a fiction.” The ‘replication principle’ refers to the idea that an Arbitrator should seek to award an agreement that the parties would have reached themselves through the process of free collective bargaining. In other words, Arbitrator Hayes an Arbitrator cannot willfully ignore context and relevant issues, such as inflation in this case, when issuing an award.
- Second, the award is significant for service workers in the healthcare sector. Arbitrator Hayes’s decision stated that there is no reason to provide service workers less than what registered nurses received (1.75%). This effectively set a new wage floor for service workers (including Aides and other job classifications) including increases upwards of 1.5% in nursing homes, and 1.65% in hospitals.
As a result:
- All members at Homewood Health Centre will see an increase of 1.75% retroactive for all hours worked since July 17, 2020.
- Further, the members at Homewood will all receive an increase of 3% retroactive for hours worked since July 17, 2021.
- The new chart for Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs) applies as of April 7, 2022.
“This is a big win for the members at Homewood and for workers across Ontario’s healthcare sector,” said President Haggerty. “Not only does this set an incredible precedent for HLDAA cases, but these members will see an immediate substantial increase that sets a new floor for wages going forward.”
Read more Negotiation Updates from the Local 175 HOPE Sector! What’s HOPE? It stands for Health, Office & Professional Employees.