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June 23, 2011

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Community Social Services - Steady progress to job action

Essential service levels to be set by July 22

BURNABY—We are making steady progress in moving towards job action following the May 30 strike vote. 

Community Social Service workers are prevented from taking strike action until essential service levels have been set at every worksite across the province. For several months, your unions have been working to negotiate those essential service levels, and employers have stalled and delayed. However, on June 22, the BC Labour Relations Board (LRB) ordered the organization representing your employers - the Community Social Services Employer Association (CSSEA) - to cooperate to determine essential service levels. This will involve mediation and adjudication at the LRB, and should be finalized by July 22.

Your bargaining committee - the Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) - is very frustrated with the repeated delays in determining essential services, and understands your frustration.

The employers’ delays are an attempt to prevent you from exercising your right to strike. Some employers have been deliberately stalling the process of determining essential service levels. In recent weeks, the employers have twice refused to attend Labour Relations Board meetings. Our understanding is that a core group of employers within CSSEA are responsible for these stalling tactics.

The June 22 LRB ruling is an important milestone in moving towards job action. Essential service levels should be finalized by July 22.  We can issue 72-hour job action notices anytime afterwards.

Your bargaining committee understands that some employers are increasing their intimidation tactics towards workers. Intimidation tactics include:

  • Threatening to cancel approved vacations

There is absolutely no reason to do this.  Your collective agreement rights remain in place.  If you hear this threat, ask your employer to clarify in writing immediately.  If your vacation is cancelled, file a grievance immediately and contact your union to report.

  • Refusing overtime

Your right to refuse overtime in non-emergencies is a collective agreement right.  If your employer demands you work overtime against your wishes in a non-emergency, file a grievance immediately.

  • Spreading rumours about strike impact

Some employers are spreading rumours about the impact of a strike, scheduling during a strike, strike pay and other topics. This is an attempt to undermine our solidarity and resolve. Contact your steward to report rumours, and get the right information. Strike information will be posted on the CSSBA website and on your union’s website.


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