“I’m a fairly new employee and I had no idea what unions did for people. It was through conversations with co-workers that I heard so many positive things about the BCGEU/NUPGE.” — Jessica Keras, Salvation Army Centre of Hope worker, BCGEU/NUPGE member.
Abbotsford (25 Feb. 2015) — Nearly 40 employees at the Salvation Army Centre of Hope in Abbotsford have decided to join the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU/NUPGE), one of the largest and most diverse labour unions in British Columbia.
Salvation Army Centre of Hope workers provide services to Abbotsford's most vulnerable
The Center of Hope members voted to join the BCGEU/NUPGE in a certification vote held in September, with the results finalized at the Labour Relations Board in January 2015. These members join more than 400 Salvation Army workers already represented by the union.
“We are very pleased to welcome our new members from Abbotsford’s Centre of Hope to the BCGEU/NUPGE. They provide important programs and services to that community’s most vulnerable citizens,” said BCGEU President Stephanie Smith.
“The BCGEU/NUPGE negotiates strong collective agreements. We look forward to helping our new members realize some of the benefits that come with unionization, including having a voice in the workplace, a formalized grievance process for resolving workplace issues, as well as a structured and fair bargaining process.”
“Our agreements are also fair and reasonable for non-profit employers like the Salvation Army that provide such important services to the most vulnerable in our communities,” added Smith.
Workers join union to have stronger voice in workplace and improve working conditions
The Salvation Army Centre of Hope in Abbotsford provides a shelter for the homeless, a drop-in café, a meal centre and kitchen, an emergency shelter, supportive independent living, outreach teams, housing support, and caseworkers for advocacies and referral services.
“I absolutely adore my job, and my co-workers do too. It’s our passion. We help our clients build self-confidence,” said Center of Hope shelter worker — and new BCGEU member — Jessica Keras. “I’m a fairly new employee and I had no idea what unions did for people. It was through conversations with co-workers that I heard so many positive things about the BCGEU/NUPGE.”
“I know that with the union we’re going to have a stronger voice in our working conditions, we’re going to look at improvements to our wages and benefits and improve health and safety at the workplace,” said outreach worker Susan Smith.
“I’m looking forward to bargaining and advocating for our co-workers. When the staff are happy our clients are happy. I know we’re going to be able to work with management in a positive and collaborative way,” added Keras.
BCGEU/NUPGE represents over 400 Salvation Army workers across B.C.
The BCGEU/NUPGE represents over 400 Salvation Army workers across B.C., including Belkin House (Vancouver), Harbour Light (Vancouver), Ocean Crest Ministries (Campbell River), Southview Terrace and Heights (Vancouver), Stevenson House (New Westminster), Victoria Addictions and Rehabilitation Centre.
The BCGEU/NUPGE represents over 65,000 workers at 550 employers across B.C. The members work in B.C.’s public service, community health and health facilities sector, community-based social services, but also at Vancity and other credit unions, at the B.C. Institute of Technology and other community colleges. They also work as highways maintenance workers, casino workers, on the Canada Line, and in many other workplaces.
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