Community health workers launch strike for fair wages and fair scheduling - BCGEU

“Community health workers are trained professionals, and the vital work they do must be coordinated and compensated fairly.” — BCGEU president Stephanie Smith

Vancouver (10 Aug 2017) — Following several months of unsuccessful negotiations seeking fair wages and fair scheduling provisions, 221 community support workers, members of the British Columbia Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE), will go on strike Friday. The workers, employed by home support agency We Care Home Health Services, will initiate a rotating strike to emphasize the need for a fair contract.

Caring for the vulnerable

“Community health workers are trained professionals, and the vital work they do must be coordinated and compensated fairly,” says BCGEU president Stephanie Smith.

“Many of these workers are on the front lines of the most pressing health issues in our province. It is critical that they are supported with fair wages and reasonable schedules so that we can retain and recruit the best in the profession to care for those in need.”

Workers calling for fair pay and improved schedules

We Care employees are currently paid less than direct employees doing the same work at Fraser Health – the health authority that contracts them through We Care – and they are seeking to narrow that pay gap. Further, their employer is attempting to backslide on fair scheduling practices currently in place, such as moving from weekly to daily scheduling, a move that would put already stressed and underpaid workers in a more precarious position.

 “As these workers fight for what is fair in terms of wages and appropriate scheduling provisions, they will ensure the strike has as little negative impact as possible on those that depend on their care and services” says Smith. “Essential services such as providing medications or meal preparation will not be disrupted.”

The BCGEU is one of the largest and most diverse unions in British Columbia with over 73,000 members and represents 10,000 workers in community health services throughout the province.


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


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