Community social services job action enters second month - #18

Bargaining bulletin

Clients at risk, workers’ anger grows as CSSEA ignores calls to return to bargaining table Over 1,500 striking community social services workers, angry and frustrated at the government’s refusal to end wage and benefit discrimination in the sector, marched through downtown Victoria April 8 to the Public Sector Employers’ Council (PSEC) office located across from the legislature.

HEU community social services workers joined their sisters and brothers from HSA, CUPE and the BCGEU at the noon-hour rally that featured speakers from each of the four unions.

“It was one year ago this month that community social services members sat down with their employers to negotiate new collective agreements,” HEU president Fred Muzin told the crowd. “One year later, we’re still waiting for fair and just settlements.”

In the Kootenays, HEU members from the Cranbrook Society for Community Living along with CUPE members in the region, continued their regular Wednesday picketing.

Despite one month of rotating, escalating job actions across B.C., the government and the Community Social Services Employers’ Association continue to ignore repeated calls for a return to the bargaining table.

“The government and CSSEA are putting clients, who are among the most vulnerable British Columbians, at risk by failing to negotiate seriously,” said HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. “The sector is not only underfunded—it’s undervalued. And the employer’s apparent disregard for the plight of community social services workers and the recipients of the programs and services demonstrates this.”

On April 15, many HEU community social services members will be off the job and in Victoria for a one-day organizing workshop.

At a press conference April 13, when asked about community social services, Premier Clark restated the NDP government’s commitment to end wage and benefit discrimination in the sector.