"A year and a half may seem a long time, but there are important issues that require urgent attention. British Columbians can't wait a year and a half for real solutions." — Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President
Vancouver (14 Nov. 2017) – The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) is ramping up pre-bargaining efforts by conducting bargaining conferences, even though most collective agreements aren't set to expire until 2019.
Delegates from across the province gathered in Vancouver to hammer out bargaining priorities for upcoming negotiations, which are expected to take place in the new year.
Early preparations for bargaining mean union will be ready
"A year and a half may seem a long time, but there are important issues that require urgent attention," says Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President. "British Columbians can't wait a year and a half for real solutions."
"There are so many priorities that need immediate attention — from enhancing child protection services identified in the Plecas report, to solving recruitment and retention issues across key sectors, and ensuring adequate resources for people affected by the opioid crisis. We have an opportunity to address the erosion of public services, and we're eager to get to work."
Austerity measures taking a toll on public services
Members from across the public services sector have expressed concern that 16 years of restraint have eroded wage parity with the private sector, leading to serious recruitment and retention issues in key areas.
"Unfilled vacancies, unsustainable workloads and uncompetitive wages have created a siege mentality in many workplaces," says Smith. "Social workers, sheriffs, corrections officers and community social service workers are just a few areas that need immediate attention."
The BCGEU/NUPGE is British Columbia's fastest-growing union, with more than 73,000 members working in direct government service, the broader public sector and service sectors in British Columbia.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 370,000 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