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Cariboo Region District workers form picket line in Williams Lake - BC General Employees' Union (BCGEU)


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 13, 2024

Cariboo Regional District workers form picket line in Williams Lake

WILLIAMS LAKE – Today (May 13), just under 50 BCGEU members who work at the Cariboo Regional District's (CRD's) main office in Williams Lake have decided to escalate their job action, moving from an overtime ban to a full strike in the fight for a fair deal.

Starting at 8:00 am, only staff whose roles fall under essential services will be reporting to work in a limited capacity. Media are invited to attend the workers' picket line from now until 5:00 pm at 180 3 Ave N, Williams Lake, BC V2G 2A4. The union says members are committed to picketing until the employer returns to the table with a fair deal:

"From waste management and library services to utilities, on to wildfire response and flood mitigation, our members do everything they can to keep the region safe and vibrant," says BCGEU Treasurer Paul Finch. "But they can only continue to work in our community if they can actually afford to call the Cariboo Region home."

In bargaining, staff have been pushing for protections that will help offset financial pressures if the Region's cost-of-living skyrockets again, reducing the risk of high staff turnover, which can destabilize local services.

"Right now, the Regional District is understaffed and rocked by high turnover," adds Finch. "It isn't fair to workers or the communities they're trying to service. Our members are striking to improve their workplace, bring stability to their jobs and fully support their neighbours."

While some service disruptions should be expected in Williams Lake starting today, picketing workers are available to respond to emergencies, as per the Essential Services Agreement that they negotiated with the Regional District.

BCGEU Members who staff the library adjacent to the Williams Lake CRD Office will continue to report to work, even though the employer closed its libraries to the public starting May 9. In Quesnel, 100 Mile House and surrounding communities, Cariboo Regional District workers will continue with their overtime ban, in solidarity with their Williams Lake coworkers and BCGEU bargaining committee.

However, if the employer is not prepared to bargain in good faith and return to the table with a revised deal that will meet locals' needs, workers at other CRD locations may need to escalate with picketing.

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

Backgrounder:

Read the BCGEU's May 10 press release



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