“By its very nature, fighting forest fires is seasonal work. That should not mean the men and women who work so hard to protect our province should be denied benefits.” — Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President
Vancouver (29 Sept. 2016) — The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) is pleased to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that will improve benefits for all auxiliary members of the BC Wildfire Service. This MOA covers front-line fire fighters and the administrative staff who support their work.
Seasonal workers need access to benefits
“By its very nature, fighting forest fires is seasonal work. That should not mean the men and women who work so hard to protect our province should be denied benefits,” says Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President. “Many of these auxiliary workers are on the job year after year during forest fire season. This is an important first step to improve their benefits.”
“Our auxiliary members work long hours over a short period of time. All too often they simply cannot use their benefits until the fire season, and their benefits coverage comes to an end,” says George Buis, BCGEU Vice-President of Environmental, Technical and Operational Services.
Change recognizes unique nature of work
“This MOA addresses the unique nature of the work our BC Wildfire Service members do. I know it will come as good news,” says Maria Middlemiss, BCGEU Vice-President of Administrative Services.
Under the new MOA, seasonal auxiliaries will be eligible for benefits earlier and be able to use the benefits for a month after their work season ends. Eligibility for benefits will occur after employees begin their second fire season and have worked 500 hours. The current requirement of 3 seasons and 700 hours.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE