Canadian Blood Services workers win 4 years of wage freezes

These workers had been without a new contract since their last one expired in 2017.

In the May 2023 Bargaining Update released earlier this month, Alberta’s jobs, economy, and northern development ministry indicated that a new collective agreement for Canadian Blood Services had been reached.

Settled on 8 May 2023, the new agreement is between Canadian Blood Services and Local 1846 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents 150 Canadian Blood Services workers in Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge, and Red Deer.

These workers—which include phlebotomists, logistics workers, maintenance workers, administrative workers, and clinical assistants—had been working on an old contract that had expired in March 2017.

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According to the May 2023 Bargaining Update, these workers will receive a total increase of 4.25% over the term of their contract. Here’s how it breaks down per year.

1st year 0.00%
2nd year 0.00%
3rd year 0.00%
4th year 0.00%
5th year 1.00%
6th year 1.25%
7th year2.00%

That works out to an average annual increase of just 0.61%.

Keep in mind that between inflation for 2022 was 6% in Alberta. That means that this proposed increase won’t be enough to cover the increase in inflation for last year, let alone the increase for all 7 years.

The new 7-year contract expires in less than a year, at the end of March 2014, which means they’ll have to start negotiating the next contract nearly right away.

This isn’t the first time Canadian Blood Services has dragged their feet in negotiations. Their contracts with over 250 technologists and transport drivers, who are members of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta, expired in March 2021, and the two parties are still in negotiations.

Plus, CUPE 1846 went on a 2-week strike 20 years ago because of bargaining issues.

Bargaining between CUPE 1846 and Canadian Blood Services on this new contract had been in mediation since October 2019.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

2 replies on “Canadian Blood Services workers win 4 years of wage freezes”

Hey Kim, just an fyi that “lab tech” is a shortened form of “medical laboratory TECHNOLOGIST” not technician.

In this phrase, “Their contracts with over 250 technicians and transport drivers…” you mention technicians but they are actually technologists.

Apologies for being pedantic but MLTs in Alberta are covered by the Health Professions Act (HPA) and regulated through the College of Medical Laboratory Technologists of Alberta (CMLTA).
Sometimes the Medical Laboratory Assistants (phlebotomists) are referred to as technicians so it can get a bit confusing.

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