Nov 15, 2012

Community social services workers target Minister of Children and Families

SURREY—Caring not-for-profit community workers who provide counselling, mental health, transition housing, but also family, children and immigrant services in Surrey are on strike today.

Striking workers have a message for Surrey-Panorama MLA Stephanie Cadieux: stop putting vulnerable families last! Striking workers will be protesting at Cadieux’s office at #120 – 5455 152nd Street in Surrey from 11am to 1pm.

Cadieux is B.C.’s Minister of Children and Family Development. Since 2004, the B.C. Liberal government has slashed $300 million in funding for programs that support the developmentally disabled, vulnerable women, at-risk youth, and children and infants in community-based programs across the province.

Although today’s strike action is limited to the 61 BCGEU members who work at Options Community Services Society (OCSS), CUPE members and members of the other unions represented by the Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) are encouraged to attend the protest at Cadieux’s office. The OCSS is a non-profit community based organization providing programs in response to the social needs of Surrey youth, families and immigrants.

Community social service workers across the province have faced a decade of declining wages. The current starting wage for a residential care worker is $15.54 an hour. In 2002, it was $16.83. Factoring in inflation, that’s a 22 percent wage cut over the past decade.

Since October 16, rotating strike action in community social services has impacted agencies around British Columbia, including in Vancouver, Kamloops, Prince George Victoria, Nelson, Vernon, Williams Lake, and others.

The CSSBA is comprised of the BCGEU, CUPE, HEU, HSA, and five other unions representing 15,000 unionized workers in the community social services sector.

Workers will be contacted directly if their agency or workplace is a target for job action. As specific worksites are being targeted in each community for each day of action, workers have been asked not to take job action unless directed to do so by their union.

Download strike information leaflet 

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COPE 491