Aug 15, 2011

Tentative agreement

Strike averted as deal improves job security and fair work practices

VANCOUVER—A tentative agreement has been reached for British Columbia’s 15,000 community-based social service workers, thereby averting a strike. Talks went into the weekend to avert looming job action. 

Key bargaining demands were met, as the tentative agreement improves job security and fair work practices for workers, such as bumping, job selection language and bullying. In addition, the government has approved a $600,000 retraining grant for workers in the sector.

The bargaining association unanimously recommends the settlement.

Union members showed tremendous patience and solidarity throughout a very lengthy and often frustrating process. To back-up their bargaining demands, members returned an 82-per-cent strike mandate on 30 May.

Employers and union members will now have an opportunity to ratify the tentative agreement. Details of the agreement and the ratification process will be released next week. Your bargaining committee is developing a comprehensive report to members and a timeline for ratification.

The tentative agreements cover community social service workers in Community Living Services and General Services. Negotiations to conclude the outstanding issues for the Aboriginal Services collective agreement will commence in late September.

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 CLAC, UFCW, USW, CSWU and BCNU. There are 220 employers represented by the Community Social Services Employers’ Association.

COPE 491