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BCGEU, LifeLabs reach tentative agreement

Potential deal comes a day after unionized workers began job action that included an overtime ban and work-to-rule job action
LifeLabs
LifeLabs has four clinics in Kamloops: two downtown, one in Aberdeen and this location in North Kamloops, in the Library Square complex.

Unionized workers at LifeLabs have reached a tentative agreement with their employer, just a day after job action began.

Employees represented by the B.C. General Employees' Union (BCGEU) reached the tentative agreement with their employer in the early hours of Sunday, Oct. 24, according to the union.

The BCGEU said the member bargaining committee will present details of the tentative agreement members on Monday., Oct. 25, after which employees will vote on whether to accept the agreement.

Until the vote on the tentative agreement is held, the union’s overtime ban and work-to-rule job action, which started on Oct. 23, will cease.

“From the 98 per cent strike vote in July to the difficult decision to action that vote this weekend, our LifeLab members have shown solidarity and a willingness to fight to get the deal they deserve,” BCGEU president Stephanie Smith said in a statement. “That solidarity enabled the members of our bargaining committee to make the progress at the table we have now seen.” 

There are 130 LifeLabs locations in B.C. and another 250 in Ontario and Saskatchewan combined.

The BCGEU represents about 1,550 workers at 94 LifeLabs locations across B.C. as medical laboratory technologists, laboratory technical assistants, client information specialists, couriers and clinical technical assistants.

In Kamloops, there are four LifeLabs locations: two downtown, one in Aberdeen and one in North Kamloops. Only the Aberdeen location, at 1966 Harrison Way, is not unionized.

The strike notice issued on Oct. 19 followed eight days of mediation and months of negotiations, according to the union.

LifeLabs, meanwhile, said it had delivered "multiple, competitive offers" to the union, adding some concessions had been made.

Last week, a BCGEU spokesperson told KTW that LifeLabs wages are between 4.5 and 13.5 per cent below public-sector wages for similar jobs.