“This strike vote comes at a time of deepening crisis in community social services,” says James Cavalluzzo, bargaining association chair.
Vancouver (31 May 2011) - Following 18 months of protracted contract talks, frontline community social services workers across British Columbia have given their bargaining committees a solid strike mandate.
“This strike vote comes at a time of deepening crisis in community social services,” says James Cavalluzzo, British Columbia Government and Services Employees Union(BCGEU/NUPGE) representative and bargaining association chair. “We are seeing group home closures, cutbacks in agencies that serve women in crisis, families, people with disabilities, children with special needs and many others who rely on these community-based services.”
At issue are increased layoffs, job security, and a chronic recruitment and retention problem. “This seriously impacts the quality of care and support we are able to provide to some of our most vulnerable citizens,” says Cavalluzzo.
“Our members say they fear for the clients they serve. By closing group homes and cutting back services to agencies that are meant to help the most vulnerable in our communities, BC’s government is not living up to their promise of “Families First," said id Josef Rieder, spokesperson for the Health Sciences Association of British Columbia (HSABC/NUPGE).
The union bargaining association says it is time for the provincial government and its employers to step up and provide the respect and resources needed to stabilize services and improve working conditions. Members and supporters can easily send a “fair deal or no deal” message directly to B.C. Premier Christy Clark at www.cssfairdeal.ca
With the strike mandate in hand, the unions are working to establish essential services levels to protect client health and safety in the event of job action. Members are asked to stay tuned for further development.
Both BCGEU/NUPGE and HSABC/NUPGE are members of the Community Social Services Bargaining Association which includes nine unions representing approximately 15,000 workers employed by 220 agencies across British Columbia.The BCGEU/NUPGE is the lead union in the sector.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 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