Apr 20, 2012

Slow progress at community social services bargaining table

BURNABY—Progress has been frustratingly slow during the second round of contract talks this week between the multi-union bargaining committee, the Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA), and the employer group, the Community Social Services Employers Association (CSSEA).

The multi-union bargaining committee is working hard to make the case for a fair and reasonable deal, including a wage increase. It will also maintain past gains, including job security improvements gained in the previous bargaining round. It is also busy negotiating essential services levels at the local level, and is currently in discussions regarding strike headquarters.

Additional bargaining dates have been set for the following weeks: April 30, May 14, June 4 and June 18. In early May, the CSSBA will also meet with benefit providers to discuss improvements to health and welfare benefits.

Meanwhile, bargaining representatives from Aboriginal Services are preparing to meet with employers to table proposals specific to this sub-sector.

Community social service workers should know that over 300,000 unionized public sector workers will be at the bargaining table in 2012, including health care, education, direct government service, and many other independent employers and crown corporations. There is strength in numbers.

In fact, as we speak 25,000 BCGEU members who are direct employees of the government of British Columbia – both professional staff and front-line workers – are conducting a strike vote to demand a fair and reasonable deal, including a wage increase.

In the meantime, members are asked to make sure your union has up-to date-contact information – especially home email and phone numbers – and to stay tuned for further updates from the bargaining table.

The CSSBA includes nine unions with a combined membership of about 15,000. The BCGEU is the largest union in the community social services sector, representing about two-thirds of workers. CUPE, HEU, HSA are the next largest followed by UFCW, CSWU, USW and CLAC.

The Community Social Services Employers’ Association represents 220 agencies.

COPE 491