New bargaining dates set for workers in community health sector

Bargaining bulletin
Bargaining Bulletins

The Community Bargaining Association (CBA) has agreed to reconvene bargaining on January 7, 2013 in Vancouver. There will be no further job action over the holidays.

Rotating job action has been taking place since November 7 at community agencies around B.C., including Vancouver, Kamloops, Prince George, Victoria, Nelson, Vernon, Williams Lake, and many others.

HEU members working at Richmond Health Services and the Canadian Mental Health Association (Kamloops) were impacted by job action on November 23 and 29 respectively.

On November 28, community workers joined nearly 2,000 trade unionists for a rally – organized by the B.C. Federation of Labour – in downtown Vancouver in support of a fair and reasonable deal for community social services, community health and post-secondary education workers.

Since 2004, the B.C. Liberal government has cut $300-million in funding for programs that support vulnerable families, recent immigrants, the developmentally disabled, at-risk youth, and children and infants in community-based programs across the province.

At the same time, community workers faced a decade of declining wages. Starting wages for caring professionals are below the living wage. Residential care workers now start at $15.54 an hour, down from $16.83 ten years ago. That’s a wage cut of one-fifth, factoring in inflation.

Workers in community health have been without a contract since March 31. The multi-union CBA, led by BCGEU, represents more than 14,000 workers, including 1,500 HEU members.