Striking community social services workers deliver message to MLAs - #15

Bargaining bulletin

The time to end wage and benefit discrimination in female-dominated sector is now Community social services workers resumed job action March 15 with a focus on delivering their message to provincial politicians—it’s time to end wage and benefit discrimination in the sector.

“Community social services workers have waited far too long for fairness and justice,” said HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. “It’s time for government to live up to its commitment to address low wages and sub-standard benefits in this chronically undervalued sector.”

Striking care-providers carried their message to MLAs in the Lower Mainland, the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island throughout the week. About 100 community social services workers rallied Monday at Finance Minister Joy MacPhail’s Vancouver community office. On March 16, representatives of the sector’s four unions—the BCGEU, CUPE, HSA and HEU— met with newly-minted cabinet minister Gordon Wilson in Powell River. And on March 18, activists gathered at the community offices of Public Service Minister Moe Sihota in Victoria and Women’s Equality Minister Sue Hammell in Surrey.

Speaking at the rally at Hammell’s office, HEU financial secretary Mary LaPlante said that it’s shameful that community social services workers, the majority of whom are women, are earning from $4 to $8 an hour less than their counterparts in health care who do the same or similar work, and receive fewer and inferior benefits.

HEU members were off the job in Victoria, Richmond and Maple Ridge for two days Monday and Thursday, and in Cranbrook on Wednesday. Nanaimo HEU members walked out Wednesday afternoon and joined strikers in Victoria on Thursday.

Other job actions during the week included targeted picket lines, information demos, letter-writing campaigns and an on-going overtime ban throughout Vancouver Island, the Kootenays and the Lower Mainland.