VANCOUVER, June 8, 2012 /CNW/ - Talks broke down yesterday between the
provincial government, employers and the ten unions representing B.C.'s
15,000 community social services workers. The parties have been in
negotiations since February to try and reach a collective agreement.
Wages, benefits and concessionary demands by the employer, including
revisiting improvements gained in the last round of bargaining are the
"We are asking for a fair and reasonable deal for the caring
professionals that care and support adults with developmental
disabilities, youth at risk, and women fleeing abusive relationships
and other vulnerable people in B.C.," said James Cavalluzzo, chair of
the multi-union bargaining committee. Community social service workers
are the lowest paid workers in the broader public sector, and they have
not had a pay increase in three years. With inflation, that equates to
an effective pay cut of five percent.
Under the B.C. Liberal government's "co-operative gains" mandate, wage
and benefit improvements must be funded through increased efficiencies,
but the community social services sector is too lean to generate
savings to fund wages through cuts elsewhere.
The bargaining committee tabled alternative proposals on cost savings
and efficiencies which were not considered. When bargaining on behalf
of 25,000 direct government service workers, the B.C. Government and
Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) presented concrete proposals to
generate hundreds of millions of dollars in new annual government
revenues to pay for wage and benefit improvements across the broad
public sector, including Community Social Services. The government
rejected these proposals.
Community social services workers provide a wide range of assistance to
people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds, including providing
child care for families, employment and housing support for people with
developmental disabilities, specialized services for immigrants,
support for women dealing with violence, substance abuse and
addiction-related services, and much more.
Community social service workers in Aboriginal Services currently remain
at the bargaining table.
The Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) is the
multi-union bargaining committee for BC's unionized community social
service workers. The CSSBA includes ten unions with a combined
membership of about 15,000. The BCGEU is the largest union in the
community social services sector, representing about two-thirds of
workers. CUPE, HEU, HSA are the next largest followed by UFCW, CSWU,
USW, SEIU and CLAC.
The provincial government's Community Social Services Employers'
Association (CSSEA) represents 220 agencies in the sector.
SOURCE BC's Community Social Services Workers
For further information:
Oliver Rohlfs, BCGEU Communications, (604) 291 9611 / (778) 318 9164