CUPE 1816, representing more than 600 employees of the benefits provider Pacific Blue Cross (PBC) in Burnaby, BC, have voted overwhelmingly in favour of job action after a strike vote was held last week.

The strike vote came after several rounds of bargaining failed to result in a tentative agreement. The latest PBC proposal includes concessions to retiree benefits and the extended health care plan, including drug coverage, paramedical services, and vision care. It also includes a small lump-sum payment in lieu of wage increases.

“Our members have made it absolutely clear that they will not accept concessions that strip away important benefits for either current or future employees, and I think this strike vote is a reflection of that,” said CUPE 1816 President Beth Miller.

Pacific Blue Cross provides health, dental, life and disability coverage for more than two million individuals and union members working primarily in education, municipal, health care and government.

CUPE 1816 members working at Pacific Blue Cross represent a wide range of job classifications including underwriters, benefit examiners, disability claim representatives, benefits administrators and call centre employees.