Community social services workers mark month-old strike with rally on Thursday

News release

Joint release of BCGEU, CUPE, HEU and HSA

Striking community social services workers, angry and frustrated at the government's refusal to end wage and benefit discrimination in the sector despite a month of escalating job action, will hold a noon-hour march and rally in Victoria, April 8.

"Enough is enough," said Cliff Andstein, chief negotiator for the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU). "Programs and services that thousands of British Columbians rely on every day are shutting down because the provincial government won't make good on its commitment to workers in this sector.

"It's well past time the government did the right thing and sent its negotiators back to the bargaining table with a mandate to end wage and benefit discrimination for the 10,000 women and men who care for society's most vulnerable people," Andstein added.

On Thursday, April 8, community social services workers from the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island will gather at 11:30 am at Centennial Square in Victoria, then march to the office of the Public Sector Employers' Council (PSEC) located across from the legislature. A noon-hour rally will feature speakers from each of the four unions representing workers in this sector: BCGEU, Canadian Union of Public Employees, Hospital Employees' Union, and Health Sciences Association.

Meanwhile, escalating job action across the province continues this week with BCGEU members in Fort St. John joining the hundreds of workers in the community living subsector already on strike. BCGEU members are also on strike this week at City Hall Child Care Society and Mt. Pleasant Child Care Society in Vancouver.

In addition, HEU members at the Cranbrook Society for Community Living are staging a one-day strike today.

Community social services workers work in a variety of community agencies providing support for community living, family and children's services, services to women, and child care. Most of the 10,000 workers in this sector have been without a contract since March 1998.