78 per cent support parity for community social services workers

News release

Joint release of BCGEU, CUPE, HEU and HSA

On the eve of province-wide job action, unions representing 10,000 community social services workers have released a poll showing strong public support for their main bargaining goal of wage and benefit parity.

The poll asked British Columbians to respond to the following question: Do you support or oppose bringing community social service workers' salaries and benefits in line with those of hospital and community health services workers? Is that strongly or somewhat?

Nearly 78 per cent of respondents supported parity for community social services workers (44.3 per cent support strongly; 33.3 per cent support somewhat). Less than ten per cent opposed parity for these workers (3.1 per cent oppose strongly; 6.6 per cent oppose somewhat). The balance 12.7 per cent had no opinion or refused to answer.

Total support for parity is strongest among women (81 per cent) and among those whose household income is less than $45,000 a year (85 per cent).

Community social services workers provide support to British Columbians in the areas of community living, family and children's services, services to women and child care. Their unions, BCGEU, CUPE, HEU and HSA, served strike notice on March 4 and will kick off job action Monday with rallies across the province.

Community social services workers earn up to $8 an hour less than health care workers who do the same or similar work. Their unions are asking the provincial government to send their negotiators back to the table with a mandate to bargain a fair collective agreement.

The province-wide poll, conducted by the Vancouver firm McIntyre & Mustel between February 23 and February 26, sampled the opinions of 515 B.C. adults. The poll is accurate to within plus or minus 4.4 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Detailed results of the poll are available on request.