Health care workers demanding increase 

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"We're going into our busiest time of the year... It's very stressful in the winter and to be told that we're not getting the wage increases before the busiest season is like a slap in the face to the staff," said Fenwick.

Cuthbert said there has been no indication when the board will hear back from the ministry.

Health care workers like Fenwick are angry that the unionized workers in the corridor are making more money and yet are doing the same job.

"We generate revenue for the rest of the corridor. We're generating money to support programs in Pemberton and Squamish and we're not getting equal pay," she said.

Unionized workers were granted wage increases in August after a hard-fought battle with the province. Each union worked out a separate deal with the province, with the British Columbia Nurses' Union (BCNU) getting the biggest increase.

Nurses who belong to the BCNU won a 23.5 per cent wage increase over the next three years, on average.

Fenwick said the nurses at the centre are looking for a 50-cent per hour increase that came into effect in April 1, in addition to the $3 increase on Oct. 1.

She is concerned that the current hourly rate difference will make it very difficult to attract and retain health care workers at the Whistler centre.

The Whistler staff has never been a part of their respective unions. Instead they discuss wage and benefit issues under the Workplace Consultation Committee and loosely follow the frameworks of other health care unions.

"How the employees represent and organize themselves is their decision and I think we have to respect that," said Cuthbert.

After the board meeting the CHC assured the staff that they were rigorously lobbying the ministry to reach approval as quickly as possible.

"They do an outstanding job and we do value them," said Cuthbert.

The meeting resulted in an unanimous decision by the board to write a letter to the Ministry of Health, HEABC, PSEC and others involved in the process, urging them to speed up the process. These letters were sent out the following day.

The board also decided that the wage increases would be granted as soon as the ministry approves the funding.

But the health care workers are not willing to wait until then while their unionized counterparts make more money doing the same job.

"We are being discriminated against because we are non-union," said Fenwick.

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