"After 16 years of cuts and wage restraint leading the sector into crisis, this agreement with a government that wants to put people first provides a foundation to build on." — Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President
Vancouver (29 August 2018) — Members of the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) in the Community Social Services (CSS) sector have voted by 85.7 per cent in favour of ratifying a new collective agreement. The 3-year contract provides significant compensation increases for workers, while meeting the government mandate of improving the services British Columbians count on.
Gains made in agreement, after years of cuts
CSS consists of 3 collective agreements: Community Living workers ratified their agreement by 82.3 per cent; General Services ratified by 95.8 per cent; and Indigenous Services ratified by 50.9 per cent. The weighted average ratification vote for all 3 sub-sectors was 85.7 per cent.
"After 16 years of cuts and wage restraint leading the sector into crisis, this agreement with a government that wants to put people first provides a foundation to build on," says Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President. "We are pleased to see substantial gains to support the vital work CSS workers do. However, the low support among the membership for the Indigenous Services contract demonstrates how much more needs to be done. Over the next 3 years, the union will continue to work with CSS members to further strengthen support for the sector."
The ratified agreement is the result of negotiations between the 10-union Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) and the Community Social Services Employers' Association (CSSEA).
More work to be done to improve working conditions and wages, especially in the Indigenous Services sector
"While our negotiating team did the very best it could, we know there is still some distance to go in getting a deal that receives strong support by all sub-sectors," says Andrea Duncan, BCGEU Vice President, Component 3."This is the work of our union — to continue making progress and fighting for the wages and working conditions we deserve."
The new collective agreement will be in effect from April 1, 2019, until March 31, 2022.
The BCGEU/NUPGE is the lead union in the sector, representing two-thirds of the unionized community social service workers in British Columbia. These caring professionals provide supports, services and resources to adults and children with developmental disabilities, women and children fleeing violence, Aboriginal families in need, at-risk youth, those with substance addictions, and more.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 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