The primary issues identified by members are wages, benefits, sick leave and reimbursable expenses.
Vancouver (28 Aug. 2012) - Contract negotiations on issues specific to Aboriginal Services workers broke off on August 17. Around 400 British Columbia Government and General Employees Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) members at five different Aboriginal Services agencies across the province will now vote on whether to strike.
The primary issues identified by members are wages, benefits, sick leave and reimbursable expenses. The BCGEU/NUPGE bargaining committee is recommending members vote "yes" and support the demands for a fair and reasonable agreement.
Negotiations broke off when the representatives of the affected Aboriginal Services agencies insisted that the union's proposals be dealt with at the main community social services table. BCGEU/NUPGE believes that the bargaining process must reflect the specificities of the sector.
A strike vote information and balloting package will be sent to all impacted members. Voting will commence on Tuesday, September 4 and conclude on Friday, September 21.
The provincial government's Community Social Services Employers Association (CSSEA) represents Aboriginal Services agencies. They negotiate collectively with the multi-union Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA), with the BCGEU/NUPGE being the lead union in the sector, which includes Community Living Services, General Services and Aboriginal Services. Common agreement provisions are negotiated at one table. However, proposals specific to Aboriginal Services have been negotiated separately in the past.
The members working in delegated programs in Aboriginal Services are also impacted by negotiations for the BCGEU/NUPGE master (direct provincial government) agreement. Wages for delegated programs have been tied to corresponding classifications in government, but the government has refused to address what appear to be the discriminatory inferior benefits of Aboriginal Services workers who perform identical work as their colleagues in the Ministry of Children and Family Development.
Negotiations at the main community social services table broke off in June. BCGEU/NUPGE members in Community Living Services and General Services voted 90 per cent and 85 per cent respectively in favour of a strike. The provincial government has told employers that they must fund any wage or benefit improvements themselves - an impossibility for agencies in a sector devastated by years of cutbacks and underfunding.
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