Community social services members prepare for March 8 job action - #12

Bargaining bulletin

Activists strategize at historic multi-union bargaining conference

Community social services members from HEU, CUPE, HSA, and the BCGEU made history when they gathered for the first-ever, multi-union bargaining conference in Richmond last week.

More than 90 local activists from around B.C. reviewed the status of their separate negotiations with the Community Social Services Employers’ Association and met in regional working groups to develop coordinated, long-range action plans and to finalize details of March 8 and 9 rallies and job actions.

HEU bargaining committee chairperson Marilynn Rust joined Cliff Andstein (BCGEU), Bill Harper (CUPE) and Julio Trujillo (HSA) at a noon-hour media briefing regarding the unions’ job action strategy that begins March 8, International Women’s Day.

“It is ironic that on International Women’s Day, when we should be celebrating the gains women have made, 10,000 community social services workers who are mostly women are forced to strike in an effort to end years of wage and benefit discrimination,” said Rust.

The government has remained quiet despite repeated calls from the unions over the past eight months for Victoria to live up to its commitment to end wage and benefit discrimination against women in the sector.

Mass rallies March 8 in Vancouver, Victoria, Prince George and Terrace, and March 9 in Nanaimo, Kelowna and Nelson, will mark the start of job action that will also include the withdrawal of some non-essential services in community living, family and children’s services, services to women and child care. HEU and CUPE members in Cranbrook will picket on March 8 and join the Nelson rally on March 9.

HEU’s essential services negotiations were completed late Wednesday with only a few details left to sign off Thursday morning.

For rally details and other community social services sector news, call the HEU Bargaining Hotline or check HEU’s web site, www.heu.org.