Community social services workers keep focus on politicians - #16

Bargaining bulletin

Rotating actions underscore demand for end to wage and benefit discrimination

Striking HEU community social services (CSS) workers kept up the pressure on politicians this past week with more rallies at MLAs’ community offices throughout the province.

“Our community social services members have given this job action a high public profile,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. “Despite their relatively small numbers and isolated work sites, they have caught the media’s attention and put their parity demands front and centre.

“And the high degree of solidarity and coordination between the four unions representing workers in this sector will not be lost on provincial politicians.”

The 18-day old job actions by community social services workers represented by HEU, HSA, CUPE and the BCGEU have included walkouts, picket lines and a series of rallies and meetings at MLAs’ offices.

Nanaimo HEU members carried out a one- day job action March 19 and joined a rally at MLA Gerard Jannsen’s Port Alberni community office. On March 24, Victoria HEU css members staged a one-day strike erecting a picket line at Forrester House and holding an information demo contrasting wage rates at for-profit companies and non-profit agencies.

Later, striking members met with supportive Victoria-Hillside MLA and former labour council president Steve Orcherton.

And, HEU Cranbrook Society for Community Living workers were also off the job and on the line on Wednesday.

On Thursday, HEU certifications in Nanaimo and Port Alberni went out for one day. Job action concentrated in Port Alberni where striking workers leafleted the public outside the offices of the Ministry of Children and Families. Victoria members from ILHS, Community Connections and Cornerstone supported a picket line in Sidney.

There are 1,100 HEU members in the community social services sector; 850 are involved in the current labour dispute.