Province-wide walk-out begins #21

Bargaining bulletin

CSSEA fails to produce on premiers’ commitment HEU, BCGEU, CUPE and HSA launched a province-wide walkout May 3 after ten days of bargaining failed to result in a settlement. “We’re very disappointed that government negotiators did not carry through on Premier Clark’s commitment to parity,” says HEU acting secretary-business manager Zorica Bosanic.

Both sides agreed on all outstanding language issues, but it became clear to union negotiators that CSSEA was unwilling to table a proposal that would bridge the parity gap between community social services workers and the rest of the public sector. Union negotiators walked out of talks May 1.

CSSEA’s wage proposals potentially leave an even larger gap between this sector and those in community health care. And while there was a proposal to improve benefits, CSSEA fell far short of the mark on several other key bargaining issues including:

  • no successorship protection;
  • complete exclusion of child care workers from wage and benefit proposals; and
  • an incomplete plan to eliminate 24-hour live-in shifts funded from the same resources available for other collective agreement issues.

“CSSEA’s proposals may appear generous to some members of the public,” says Bosancic. “But considering the low wages and lack of benefits in this sector the employers’ offer clearly falls short of the mark.”

“And considering that an entire group of workers — those who work in childcare — are excluded from the employers’ proposal completely,” adds Bosancic, “it appears that CSSEA’s final position is designed to drive a wedge between the four unions at the table.

“What is needed now is a clear and comprehensive proposal from CSSEA to eliminate the gap between workers in this sector and those in the rest of health care.”

The unions are mapping out plans to intensify the province-wide walkout by picketing shared worksites. No new talks are scheduled.