Community Social Services -- ‘Mean-spirited’ move sets negative tone

Bargaining bulletin
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Employers are choking off pay rates above what the collective agreement says and firing up the rumour mill as community social services contract talks are set to begin.

The Community Social Services Employers’ Association (CSSEA) directed employers to stop paying wages above what the collective agreement says, effective April 1.

“The employers’ actions are very mean spirited” said Chris Mullen, Chief Spokesperson for the Union Bargaining Association (UBA).

”Instead of thinking up new ways to punish frontline community social services workers, employers should be concentrating on reaching a fair settlement,” Mullen added.

Many employers have been paying more than what the collective agreement says to attract and keep new staff in light of the severe staffing shortages created by four years of BC government cutbacks and rollbacks to wages and services.

The Union Bargaining Association is fine tuning its proposals and preparing to negotiate for a fair settlement starting Monday, Jan. 30. Members stress that any new contract must address longstanding issues including restoring members’ rights, decent wages and improvements to benefits.

The 13-union association represents nearly 15,000 workers in community social services. Members provide support to: people with physical, mental and developmental disabilities; children who witness and experience abuse; young offenders; women experiencing domestic violence; and people with addictions.

Members report some employers have also launched a propaganda war by circulating rumours that a one-time signing bonus would be forfeited if a settlement is not reached by the government’s arbitrary March 31 deadline. As happens during most contract negotiations, community social service workers can expect more pressure and rumours from employers.

To submit information on what’s happening in your workplace, or to get the latest news, check your union’s website or the UBA website at: www.respectbc.ca

Community Social Services Union Bargaining Association