Nearly 500 family service workers on strike

February 5, 2013

Proper government funding needed for programs that support vulnerable families. Picketing will occur in Vancouver, North Vancouver, Kamloops, Nelson, Castlegar, Trail, Cranbrook and Vernon on Wednesday and Thursday

Nearly 500 family service workers across British Columbia will be striking on Wednesday February 6 and Thursday February 7.  

“Striking workers want to send a clear message to the BC government: stop putting the squeeze on family services and other community-based social services,” says BCGEU Community Social Services Chairperson Patsy Harmston. “Proper government funding is needed for programs for vulnerable families and the workers who support them.

“We enjoy helping families participate in their community and enjoy the best quality of life possible,” says Harmston, “but many of us can’t make ends meet. Starting wages are $15 an hour, a dollar less than 10 years ago. Many of us have had to take on second jobs or are having to leave the work we love.”

Family service workers work with vulnerable families. They intervene when children or youth are at risk. They help with substance addictions. They work with teenage or single parents trying to make ends meet. They provide family counselling, vocational and life skills training, job placement services, assessment, therapy, infant and supported child development, and autism intervention.

This family services strike follows last week’s strike by 3400 community living workers across British Columbia.

The following agencies will be on strike, but essential services will be maintained:

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Community

Agency

Picket location & time

Union

Members impacted

Vancouver

WestCoast  Family Centres

8am-5pm
2780 East Broadway (at Kaslo St.)

BCGEU

55

Vancouver

WestCoast Child Care Resource Centre

8am-5pm
2780 East Broadway (at Kaslo St.)

BCGEU

19

North Vancouver

North Shore Crisis Services Society

8:30am-12:30pm
145 East 15th Street (at Lonsdale)

BCGEU

35

North Vancouver

North Shore Disability Resource Centre Associations

8:30am-12:30pm
145 East 15th Street (at Lonsdale)

CUPE

108

 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Community

Agency

Picket location & time

Union

Members impacted

Kamloops

Interior Community Services (ICS)

8:30am- 4:30pm

396 & 765 Tranquille Rd.

12-1 pm: action on the Overlander bridge

BCGEU/UFCW

90+26

Nelson

Kootenay Kids

9am-4pm 312 Silica St.

BCGEU

35

Castlegar

Castlegar & District Community Services

8:30am – 4:30pm

1007-2nd Street

BCGEU

15

Trail

Canadian Mental Health Association for the Kootenays

7am - 7 pm
1200 Hospital Bench

BCGEU

5

Trail

Trail Family & Individual Resource Centre Society (FAIR)

8am-8pm
2079 Columbia Avenue

BCGEU

35

Cranbrook

Canadian Mental Health Association for the Kootenays

9am-1pm
39-13th Avenue South

BCGEU

10

Cranbrook

Community Connections of Southeast BC (including Cranbrook Women’s Resource Centre)

9am-1pm
39-13th Avenue South

BCGEU

5

Vernon

North Okanagan Youth & Family Services

8:30am-1pm
3100-32 Avenue

CUPE

50

Total members impacted

488

BCGEU, CUPE, HEU, HSA and six other unions, which together make up the Community Social Services Bargaining Association, represent family service workers. There are 15,000 unionized community social service workers, and about one-third of them work in general services, which includes family services.

Media enquiries: Oliver Rohlfs, BCGEU Communications, (778)318-9164 or oliver.rohlfs[at]bcgeu.ca