Talks break down in community social services, strike votes to be taken

Bargaining bulletin
Bargaining Bulletins

Talks broke down yesterday between the provincial government, employers, and the multi-union Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA), which includes HEU and nine other unions.

As a result, strike votes will be taken for all unionized workers in B.C.’s community social services sector.

The parties have been in negotiations since February to try and reach a collective agreement.

Outstanding issues include: wages, benefits, sick leave, reimbursable expenses and concessionary demands by the employer, including revisiting improvements gained in the last round of bargaining. 

CSSBA representatives say they are seeking a fair deal, including a wage increase. Government, however, has offered nothing, which is why members are being asked to support their bargaining demands with a strong strike mandate.

“We are urging members to come out and vote, and make your voices heard,” says HEU secretary-business manager Bonnie Pearson.

“Community social services workers are among the lowest paid workers in the broader public sector. Your bargaining team needs a strong strike mandate that lets government know workers in this sector are standing up for a fair and reasonable settlement.”

Unions will be reaching out to members through strike vote meetings that will begin next week, information materials and a telephone town hall which will be scheduled in the coming days.

Members are asked to stay tuned to your union website and for more information.

There are up to 15,000 workers in the sector, represented by ten unions. The four largest are BCGEU, CUPE BC, HEU, and HSA.

The provincial government's Community Social Services Employers’ Association (CSSEA) represents 220 agencies in the sector.