“B.C. Liberal government has put vulnerable families last on its priority list." BCGEU President Darryl Walker.
Vancouver (29 Oct. 2012) - Striking community social service workers went to the B.C. Liberal convention in Whistler with a clear message: stop putting vulnerable families last!
“The B.C. Liberal government has put vulnerable families last on its priority list. Since 2004, they have slashed $300 million in funding for programs that support the developmentally disabled, vulnerable women, at-risk youth, and children and infants in community-based programs across the province,” said B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) President Darryl Walker.
“We are headed to the B.C. Liberal convention to support the caring professionals dedicated to supporting vulnerable families at community-based not-for-profit agencies across the province,” said BCGEU/NUPGE Community Social Services Chair Patsy Harmston, who is a transition house worker. “The government is failing vulnerable families by putting services they depend upon at risk through constant cuts.”
“Workers have faced a decade of declining wages, and many are leaving the profession or are taking multiple jobs to make ends meet,” said Harmston. In 2002, the starting wage for a residential care worker was $16.83. Today, it’s $15.54. That’s a wage loss of over 20 percent over a decade, after inflation.
Community social service workers have been in a position to strike as of October 16, and rotating strike action took place last week in Vancouver, Kamloops and Prince George.
BCGEU/NUPGE is the largest union representing B.C’s 15,000 community-based social service workers, followed by CUPE, HEU and HSABC/NUPGE.
Community social services are not government social workers; they help and support the most vulnerable members of B.C.’s communities, including youth-at-risk, women fleeing violence, people with disabilities, immigrants, First Nations, and many others.
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