B.C. government compensates unions for breaking community social services agreements

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Four unions have reached a settlement with the provincial government for community social services workers who lost their job security provisions under the BC Liberals’ 2002 contract-breaking legislation – Bill 29.

The total settlement of $425,000 will be divided among the Hospital Employees’ Union, the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees B.C., and the Health Sciences Association of B.C.

HEU’s share of the settlement is about $45,000 which is based on the number of members we have in community social services. The union has convened a committee to make recommendations as to how HEU should use the monies to collectively benefit all members working in the sector.

In 2007, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the charter right to freedom of association had been infringed upon because Bill 29 arbitrarily eliminated key provisions contained in the unions’ collective agreements. Following that ruling, the B.C. government paid a settlement of $85 million to compensate health care workers, who were directly impacted by Bill 29.

At issue under this latest settlement was the B.C. government’s removal of job security provisions from negotiated collective agreements that specifically affected community social services workers.