New CSS Wage Grids Effective April 1, 2024

The new wage grids effective the first full pay period after April 1, 2024, for employees under the Community Social Services (CSS) – Community Living Services, General Services, and Indigenous Services collective agreements are now available. 

The April 1, 2024 wage grids reflect  application of the negotiated 2% general wage increase (GWI) plus a full additional 1% cost of living adjustment (COLA). The grids also reflect the application of health sector comparability adjustments, retroactive to the first pay period after April 1, 2023.

The joint Community Social Services Bargaining Association / Community Social Services Employers’ Association summary of the changes and the 2023 and 2024 wage grids are attached.

The increases include the following three bargained increases:

 1.  GWI of 2% Plus Full Additional 1% COLA 

 The 2024 GWI negotiated throughout the broader public sector, including for CSS, provided a guaranteed 2% plus up to an additional 1% COLA. Whether there would be a COLA and to what degree depended on the 12-month average consumer price index (CPI) percent change for BC for the period ending in February. The BC CPI annualized average percent change from March 2023 through February 2024 was 3.4%. As this exceeded the guaranteed 2% GWI, the full additional 1% COLA has been applied to the grids, for a total general increase of 3%.

 2. Health Facilities Comparability

 CSSBA and CSSEA agreed in the last round of bargaining to a $4.1 million ongoing fund to maintain wage comparability with Health Facilities (FBA). As part of their wage comparability process, the FBA and health employers agreed on 25¢ per hour wage increases for the lowest wage-rated jobs retroactive to April 1, 2023, and 22¢ per hour increases for the next lowest wage-rated jobs effective April 1, 2024.

With the available $4.1 million, CSSBA and CSSEA can match the additional 25¢ per hour wage increases in Health Facilities, retroactive to April 1, 2023, for CSS employees in Grid 9 and below. The available funding means CSSBA and CSSEA can also match 63.6% of the 22¢ per hour additional increases given to some Health Facilities jobs—meaning CSS employees in Grid 10 will see an additional 14¢ per hour wage increase. Unlike the Health Facilities increase for this group of employees, which is not retroactive, CSS employees will get this bump retroactively to April 1, 2023. These increases are reflected in the grids.

 We recognize that an 8¢ per hour gap will remain between CSS Grid 10 jobs and comparable jobs in Health Facilities. This must be addressed in the next round of bargaining as we continue to fight for equal pay for work of equal value compared with the health sector.

 3. Nurses Comparability

 CSSBA and CSSEA also agreed to maintain CSS wage comparability with the Nurses (NBA). Effective retroactively to April 1, 2023, CSS LPNs and RNs will see positive adjustments to any wage step that was behind its NBA comparator. The result is all CSS nurses’ rates matching those of the equivalent steps in the NBA. These increases are reflected on the grids. Note that CSS RN Step 1 rates were not adjusted as they were not behind the equivalent NBA rates. 

 The following three matters remain in discussion with CSSEA and we’ll be providing an update on our progress on each of them as we move forward:

 1. Health Science Professionals Comparability 

 CSSBA and CSSEA also agreed in the last round on wage adjustments to achieve parity for CSS paraprofessionals with Health Science Professionals (HSPBA). The parties have unfortunately been unable to reach agreement but discussions continue and CSSBA is prepared to refer the matter to arbitration in the absence of a solution that reaches parity with HSPBA. In the meantime, the 2024 GWI applies to the paraprofessional grid. We will provide further updates on this issue as they become available.

2. Community Health Comparability for Supervisory Jobs

 While affecting only a very small number of CSS employees in supervisory roles, there are some supervisory rates in CSS that remain under those found in Community Health (CBA). This only affected supervisory positions in CSS Grids 1, 2, 7, and 8. Other CSS layered-over rates are not affected as they are not behind the equivalent CBA rates.

3. Public Service Comparability for Indigenous Services 

 The Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) and the Community Social Services Employers’ Association (CSSEA) agreed in the last round to adjust wage rates for Indigenous Services (IS) jobs where they paid less than like jobs under the Main Public Service Agreement and its Public Service Job Evaluation Plan. The work involved to achieve this is well underway but not yet complete.

The CSSBA member unions BCGEU and CUPE are consulting with their affected members to ensure that we provide a system that achieves parity with comparable work in the Public Service but also serves the unique needs and circumstances of Indigenous Services members.

 Overall, we are proud of the general wage increases and health sector comparability adjustments achieved in the last round of bargaining, the final instalments of which are in most cases detailed in this bulletin. Work remains to be done before the next round, via the arbitration process, on Health Science Professionals comparability, and in the next round to fully close the gap with Health Facilities. We look forward to continuing the fight for equitable wages with and for you.

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