Community social services workers continue pressure to return to bargaining table

News release

joint release of BCGEU, CUPE, HEU and HSA

Striking community social services workers will keep up the pressure on politicians on Wednesday, March 24, with a rally beginning at 2:30 p.m. at NDP MLA Steve Orcherton's community office, 2736 Quadra Street in Victoria.

They're pressing government to send their negotiators back to the bargaining table with a mandate to settle a fair collective agreement that includes wage and benefit parity with health sector workers who do similar work.

"This strike is about fairness for those who care for some of B.C.'s most vulnerable citizens," says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt.

"These workers care deeply for their clients but they are determined to continue escalating job actions until they overcome wage and benefit discrimination in this sector."

Other job actions Wednesday include: · BCGEU members, off the job since Monday at Kamloops Family Resources Society, Kamloops Association for Community Living and Kamloops Youth Resources Society, and since last week at selected sites in Prince George and the Lower Mainland, continue their actions; · CUPE on strike for 24 hours beginning at 12:01 a.m. at the Nanaimo Association for Community Living (3148 Barrons Road) and at three sites of the Powell River Association for Community Living; · HEU certifications in Victoria, on strike for one day with a picket line at Forrester House, 1768 Forrester Road in Victoria from 10:00 a.m. to noon; and · an HEU information demonstration from 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. at the main office of non-profit Victoria Association for Community Living (3861 Cedarhill X-road) - an agency which signed a contract that includes the elimination of wage disparity last year.

The province's 10,000 community social services workers, represented by the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Hospital Employees' Union and the Health Sciences Association, provide programs and support in community living, family and children's services, services to women, and childcare. Most community social services workers have been without a contract since March, 1998.