LifeLabs employees voted on Thursday to ratify a new collective agreement, which will include a 12 per cent wage increase over three years. The new three-year agreement is effective April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2024. The BC General Employees’ Union issued a press release on Friday morning and stated highlights of the agreement include the wage improvements and a $1,250 signing bonus for all active employees. Pension plans, health coverage and sick leave were also improved, as well as policy around health and safety and language around workload to deal with under-staffing.
“After so many months of hard work in negotiations we are pleased to see members ratify a deal that values and respects their expertise, their contributions during the pandemic and their goal to better serve the public,” BCGEU president, Stephanie Smith, said in a press release. “Through their solidarity and the strength of our union, these members demanded better, and we’re so pleased with the advances they made in this round of bargaining.”
The agreement extends to about 1,550 workers — couriers, phlebotomists, technical assistants, technologist and information specialists — at 94 LifeLabs locations in British Columbia.
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 agreement follows strike notice issued on Oct. 19 that came after 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.
A BCGEU spokesperson earlier told KTW that LifeLabs wages were between 4.5 and 13.5 per cent below public-sector wages for similar jobs.