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BCGEU expands Cariboo Region strike, calls on the Regional District to bargain in good faith - BC General Employees' Union (BCGEU)


May 21, 2024

BCGEU expands Cariboo Region strike, calls on the Regional District to bargain in good faith

WILLIAMS LAKE - Cariboo Regional District workers, who have been fighting for a fair contract for months, expanded their strike action this morning. Forced by the Regional District's inaction, they are now picketing the library in Williams Lake and Quesnel's City Hall.

The workers, who are members of the BC General Employees' Union (BCGEU), will be on the picket lines between 8:15 am and 4:15 pm. Media are invited to visit all striking locations, which include:

  • Quesnel: 410 Kinchant St (8:15 am to 4:00 pm)
  • 100 Mile House: Cariboo Regional District Library - 449 Birch Ave S (8:15 am to 4:00 pm)
  • Williams Lake: 180 3 Ave N Suite D (8:15 am to 4:15 pm)

"It's disappointing that the Regional District is not honouring its workers and returning to the bargaining table with a reasonable deal," says BCGEU Treasurer Paul Finch. "Our members were committed to the negotiations process from day one and exhausted every avenue to resolution, including applying for mediation. But the Regional District clung to its subpar offer, pushing members to strike."

The Regional District tried to strongarm BCGEU members into accepting wages that do not offer staff the financial security they need to continue calling the Cariboo Region home while they serve their communities with library support, waste management, fire mitigation and more. In contrast, the workers have been advocating for inflation-matching protections, which will help offset financial pressures if the Region's cost-of-living skyrockets again.

The Regional District, which is already suffering from recruitment and retention problems, needs vital improvements to working conditions; otherwise, high turnover risks destabilizing local services.

"The level of respect that a government shows for its workers is a direct reflection of the respect it has for its residents," adds Finch. "The Regional District owes it to their constituents to put more resources into the support that people count on. They owe it to their constituents to help get our members back to work by returning to the bargaining table."

BCGEU members were pushed to kick off strike action on Monday, May 13, starting with the Regional District's main office in Williams Lake, where the majority of the BCGEU members work. Since then, they've been expanding their picket lines, as the CRD has failed to come back to workers with a fair offer.

"The community support has been incredible to see," says Finch. "Between donations and kind words from neighbours, unions, a school district, and even a small business, Cariboo Region residents are rallying behind our members and their fight for a contract that will attract and retain dedicated and experienced workers in the Cariboo Region." 


For more information, please contact: 
Celia Shea, BCGEU Communications officer, at 780-720-8122 or [email protected]