Cabinet minister sides with CSSEA - #22

Bargaining bulletin

HEU says provocative move a barrier to talks

As community social services workers entered week nine of job action, the NDP government has taken the unprecedented action of promoting the employers’ bargaining stand in newspaper ads across the province.

The ads, which feature an open letter from Children and Families Minister Lois Boone, characterized the last offer of the Community Social Services Employers’ Association as “generous.”

“We’re disappointed that Victoria has taken this provocative stance,” says acting secretary-business manager Zorica Bosancic. “By adopting CSSEA’s line, Boone has sent a clear message to our members that there’s no plan for achieving parity.”

Bosancic says CSSEA’s proposal would leave workers in the sector no closer to parity at the end of three years and there’s no commitment to eliminate 24-hour live-in shifts and no successorship protection.

It’s a position that led to the May 1 breakdown of talks and a full-scale walk-out by community social service workers.

HEU members took part in a range of job actions during the first two weeks of May:

  • Victoria members put the Public Sector Employers’ Council HQ behind pickets for one morning;
  • a province-wide fax campaign targeted Boone and Premier Clark;
  • WHR, Nidicarus locals picketed MCF offices in New Westminster, North Vancouver and Vancouver;
  • Lower Mainland members bolstered a BCGEU line at Henry Hudson school in Vancouver;
  • Cranbrook Society for Community Living maintained pickets at their employers’ HQ and also supported BCGEU lines;
  • Victoria members held a Sunday car wash raising $157 for Special Olympics while distributing strike information to motorists; and
  • mid-island members reinforced CUPE picket lines in Nanaimo.

And on May 13, community social services workers from all four unions will converge on Vancouver’s Library Square at noon for a giant rally.