Community Social Services members gear up for bargaining
B.C.’s Community Social Services workers will return to the bargaining table the week of February 27 – a month before their current collective agreement expires on March 31, 2012.
The negotiating committee for the multi-union Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) met last week to identify priority demands and disucss bargaining strategies.
Contract negotiations come at a time when employers are finding it increasingly difficult to retain and recruit qualified staff, and when community social services workers continue to be among the lowest-paid employees in the public sector.
HEU is one of nine unions in CSSBA, which together represent 15,000 workers in the province’s community social services sector. In addition to HEU, CSSBA includes BCGEU, CUPE, HSA, CLAC, UFCW, USW, CSWU and BCNU.
HEU members working in the sector elected their new negotiating team at the union’s bargaining conference held in Victoria in late November. They are: David Huespe; Tasha Whenham; alternates Richard Brens and Jessica Steele; and HEU bargaining representative Bob Wilson.
Employers in the sector are represented by the Community Social Services Employers’ Association, which includes 220 agencies in Community Living, General Services and Aboriginal Services.
Currently, there are more than 60 job classifications in the sector including community support workers, early childhood educators, victim service workers, addictions counsellors, group facilitators, employment counsellors, infant development consultants, transition house workers, and crisis line coordinators.
Members are asked to be in touch with their local executive to ensure their contact information is up to date, and to stay tuned to the union website for regular updates as bargaining proceeds.