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Bargaining update: When can we strike? - BC General Employees' Union (BCGEU)

When can we strike?
Our union is being prevented from being in a legal strike position by the B.C. government’s insistence on high essential services levels that would dramatically reduce the effectiveness of a strike. As a result, your bargaining committee and our legal team are contesting their positions through the Labour Relations Board so we can exercise the strike mandate as soon as possible.
Why aren’t we going on strike right away?
Some of you may be wondering why aren't we striking right now. Our union will not be in a position to strike until essential services negotiations are completed. This process is still underway. As noted in last week's FAQ, our union has 90 days to action a strike vote. That means we have until September 20th to initiate some form of job action.
Essential Services
Your bargaining committee met this week to discuss strategy, essential services and more. Regarding essential services, your committee is addressing a number of issues that have moved forward at the Labour Relations Board for adjudication. We are dealing with essential services ministry by ministry, and with a bargaining unit of 33,000, this process takes time.
Our legal team is working with frontline members from the affected ministries to deal with these issues, and to ensure we can action our strike mandate as soon as possible. We will continue to keep you updated on this process.
COLA Buttons
Remember to wear your COLA (cost of living adjustment) button to show your support. Wearing a button helps send a message that you are standing strong and united behind your bargaining committee. Have you not received a button yet? Connect with your BCGEU area office, or you can contact your local chair.

Picket captains
Right now, a team of members is recruiting picket captains — member activists who will help organize pickets at their worksites in the event of job action. The response has been incredible, with hundreds of picket captains already confirmed and more stepping up every day. Soon we will hold trainings for picket captains to ensure they are ready to hit the ground running as soon as strike notice is issued.
Last week we shared this fact sheet that answers some of your most frequently asked questions. We have added two more questions and will continue to update the FAQ to address the many questions and concerns you may have.
Strike pay direct deposit
We plan to issue strike pay by direct deposit in the event of job action. In order to register for direct deposit, our union must have your personal email address on file. Please confirm your personal email address is up to date in the Member Portal to avoid delays in receiving strike pay.
Standing strong for COLA
In the meantime, your bargaining committee remains ready to get back to the table as soon as your employer comes back with a revised wage offer that meets your needs and includes cost of living protections (COLA). We are on a path to a settlement but we need a revised proposal; we are not bargaining with ourselves. As we've said many times before, we are not interested in negotiating wage cuts for our members. Anything less than COLA will not get ratified.
Thanks again for your unwavering support.
In solidarity,
Your BCGEU Public Service Bargaining Committee
Stephanie Smith, President
Paul Finch, Treasurer
Judy Phipps, Executive Vice President
Dean Purdy, Vice President - Component 1
Kusam Doal, Vice President - Component 5
Judy Fox-McGuire, Vice President - Component 6
Kayla Woodruff, Member at Large - Component 6
Maria Middlemiss, Vice President - Component 12
Matt Damario, Component 12
Robert Davis, Vice President - Component 20
Michael Eso, Secretary and Lead Negotiator
Lisa Lane, Support Staff

Download PDF of notice here