Community social service workers committed to strike

Unions call on B.C. government and employers to protect community jobs and services

VANCOUVER, May 30, 2011 /CNW/ - Frontline community social service workers across British Columbia have given their bargaining committee an 82% strike mandate.  The vote follows more than 18 months of protracted contract talks that broke down on March 30.

"This strike vote comes at a time of deepening crisis in community social services," says James Cavalluzzo, bargaining association chair. "We are seeing group home closures, cutbacks in agencies that serve women in crisis, families, people with disabilities, children with special needs and many others who rely on these community-based services."

At issue are increased layoffs, job security, and a chronic recruitment and retention problem. "This seriously impacts the quality of care and support we are able to provide to some of our most vulnerable citizens," says Cavalluzzo.

The Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) says it is time for the provincial government and its employers to step up and provide the respect and resources needed to stabilize services and improve working conditions.

In the meantime, CSSBA is working to establish essential services levels to protect client health and safety in the event of job action.

Community social services workers provide a wide range of assistance to people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds, including child care for families, employment and housing support for people with developmental disabilities, specialized services for immigrants and First Nations families, substance abuse and addiction-related services, support for women dealing with violence, and much more.

The CSSBA includes nine unions representing about 15,000 workers employed by 220 agencies across British Columbia.

SOURCE B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union

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B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union

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