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Community Social Services Bargaining Updates


November 29, 2022

An update from your community social services bargaining association - BC Gen...

The nine-union Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) has not been back to the negotiations table since the last update that we shared with you in early November but we wanted to let you know what is happening with the negotiation of your new collective agreement in the Indigenous Services, General Services, and Community Living sub-sectors.

As you know, we have been hard at work for many months, negotiating with the representatives of the employers' association, and bringing forward the priorities that you identified. These priorities include fair and equitable wages to address rising costs, meaningful recognition of rights for Indigenous workers and your ability to address your own health needs, including mental health supports.

We have made progress at the table and have made many agreements on monetary and non-monetary priorities. However, at this point, we remain significantly far apart from the employers on a few key priorities in all three sub-sector community social services agreements. 

We are working towards true reconciliation which means that all Indigenous workers are respected, and their cultural needs are valued. Our work at the negotiations table is in line with a shared commitment to reconciliation, and we believe that this should be reflected in improvements in your collective agreement.

We will continue to fight for the best collective agreement that values you and the work that you bring to your workplace and to your community. We are working towards an agreement that not only puts more money in your pocket but enables you to take care of your health and have a safe workplace.

We are also working to address a systemic issue with our community social services sector: recruitment and retention. We are working hard to bring all of your priorities to the table and to make your work more supported and attractive to new workers in the sector. 

What comes next?

We had hoped to be able to schedule additional bargaining dates before the end of this calendar year, but due to scheduling challenges, that is not possible. We are now looking at bargaining dates in the New Year and we will keep you in the loop as we move forward.

In the meantime, it is critical that you keep your contact information up-to-date with your union stewards along with your workplace contacts so we can keep you informed as we move forward.

And please, share this bulletin with your co-workers to make sure that everyone in your workplace has a signed union card.

We thank you for all of your support!
In solidarity, 

Your Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) Negotiating Committee:

Andrea Duncan, CSSBA Negotiating Committee Chair
Angela Reed, BCGEU
April Duffield, BCGEU
Brian Calderwood, BCGEU
Jessica Daigneault, BCGEU
Kari Bepple, BCGEU
Katelynn Banky, BCGEU
Linda Rowley, BCGEU
Melissa Linn, BCGEU
Pamela Pye, BCGEU
Patricia Phillips, BCGEU
Rene Francis, BCGEU
Tammy Lewis, BCGEU
Wynn Hartfelder, BCGEU
Sheryl Burns, CUPE
Gabrielle Cameron, CUPE
Bob Crozier, CUPE
Lee-Ann Lalli, CUPE
Valeria Mancilla, CUPE
Mike Varga, CUPE
David Heuspe, HEU
Cheryl McLachlan, HEU
Loise Peloquin, HEU
Colin Brehaut, HSA
Dawn Marie Goodmurphy, HSA
Shelley Moore, LiUNA! Local 1611
Michael Reed, CUPE Staff
Christina Lloyd-Jones, HEU Staff
James Coccola, BCGEU Executive Vice President
Selena Kongpreecha, Lead Negotiator



UWU/MoveUP

November 08, 2022

Contract talks suspended for 17,000 unionized community social services worke...

Collective bargaining resumed between the nine-union Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) and the provincial Community Social Services Employers’ Association (CSSEA) this past week to negotiate a new contract for 17,000 unionized workers in the sector. However, on Monday, talks were suspended after the latest proposal put forward by the employers’ association failed to meet the needs identified by workers in the sector.

You have been clear about your priorities and what you want your representatives at the bargaining table to bring forward. These priorities include a fair and equitable compensation package that will help lighten the pressure of rising costs, meaningful recognition of rights for Indigenous workers and your ability to address your own health needs, including mental health supports. 

Community social services sector workers support some of the most vulnerable members of our society. Your bargaining committee is working hard to bring us all a contract that will take care of us as workers and that enables us to provide quality care for the people that we support in our work. 

As we are negotiating, the global health pandemic is entering its third year and your workplaces are critically short-staffed. During the pandemic, many of you were required to remain at work. Now we are pushing for you to be considered as important at the bargaining table too. 

Unfortunately, we are still not there. This past week, our discussions have been challenging and we are still not reaching an agreement on some of the most fundamental priorities that we believe will make the difference for you.

We are working towards true reconciliation which means that all Indigenous workers are respected, and their cultural needs are valued. We are seeking improvements that recognize the cultural capacity and competency that is required to support Indigenous families when working in Indigenous agencies. These improvements should reflect the value our members bring to communities. Government has expressed a strong commitment to reconciliation, and we believe this commitment should also be reflected in your Collective Agreement.

We are not prepared to bring an agreement back to you that does not value your work and addresses your basic needs and your priorities. We are working towards an agreement that not only puts more money in your pocket but enables you to take care of your health and have a safe workplace.

We are still fighting for a compensation package that protects against rising costs and addresses a root problem in our sector: recruitment and retention. If our communities are going to keep the skills and experience we already have in our sector and recruit the next generation, we need a compensation package that is attractive and competitive.

The employers’ association have different ideas to address the systemic issues in the sector.  But we have heard from you about the priorities that will make the difference to you in the workplace and at home and we continue to find way to ensure that your priorities are reflected in the agreement we bring back to you.

What comes next?

We will be back to the negotiating table at a later date to continue this fight. And we will keep you in the loop as we continue these discussions.

In solidarity, 

Your Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) Negotiating Committee 

PS. 

We're asking all members to update your contact information in the Member Portal. If you don't yet have a Member Portal account, click here to sign up today
 
Already have a Member Portal account? You can log in here. If you've forgotten your password, you can reset it here. It's more important than ever to make sure that our union has your up-to-date contact information including your personal email, phone number and home mailing address. 

Please make sure that your colleagues are also updating their contact information and share this bulletin! 



UWU/MoveUP

October 04, 2022

Bargaining paused until November - BC General Employees' Union (BCGEU)

After returning to the negotiating table in mid-September, talks continued over wages and compensation with a focus on making gains in the areas that members have mandated us to achieve in this round of bargaining. 
As it stands, the parties still do not agree on how to reach a tentative agreement that includes a fair and equitable compensation package, meaningful recognition and reconciliation for Indigenous workers, supporting psychologically safer and healthier workplaces and promoting equity, diversity and inclusion. 

Community social services is the only public sector with a specific subsector collective agreement for Indigenous Services. These workers support individuals, children and families in communities across the province. We cannot reach a tentative agreement that does not fully recognize these workers and bring them parity with their counterparts, specifically those who are directly employed with the provincial government in non-Indigenous agencies. 

Bargaining will now be paused due to scheduling conflicts. However, we will continue with small group discussions in preparation for resuming negotiations in November. 

In June, the BCGEU members of the CSSBA bargaining committee created a Contract Action Team or CAT. The CAT is a network of members just like you who have attended a training and are now busy helping other CSS members get their contact information updated. We want to make sure everyone receives bulletins like this one, and all the information members need to vote on whatever the bargaining committee brings back from the table – whether that's a tentative agreement or a vote on job action if we reach impasse. 

We know that you have been waiting patiently for us to reach a tentative agreement. While we did not anticipate spending this much time at the bargaining table, we are committed to working towards an agreement we can proudly bring back to members to vote on. 

In solidarity, 

Your Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) Negotiating Committee 

PS. 

We're asking all members to update your contact information in the Member Portal. If you don't yet have a Member Portal account, click here to sign up today

Already have a Member Portal account? You can log in here. If you've forgotten your password, you can reset it here. It's more important than ever to make sure that our union has your up-to-date contact information including your personal email, phone number and home mailing address. 

Please make sure that your colleagues are also updating their contact information and share this bulletin! 



UWU/MoveUP

September 16, 2022

Wages, compensation and Indigenous rights dominate contract talks this week -...

As negotiations for your new collective agreement continue, talks are heating up between your community social services bargaining association and representatives of the employers' association.

This week, your committee countered the employers' wages and compensation offer. Your committee has heard loud and clear from our members across the community social services sector that protection against the rising cost of living is a key priority.

There is still significant work to do at the table to achieve a fair and equitable compensation package, including wage increases, as both sides are quite far apart.

Talks are also focused on meaningful recognition of the rights of Indigenous workers across all three subsector collective agreements- Community Living, General Services, and Indigenous Services.

Community social services is the only public sector with a specific subsector collective agreement for Indigenous Services. These workers support individuals, children, and families in communities across the province in roles including family preservation workers, social workers, counsellors, support workers and so much more.

We cannot reach an agreement that does not fully recognize these workers and bring them parity with their counterparts, specifically workers who are directly employed with the provincial government in non-Indigenous agencies.

Your bargaining team is scheduled to be back at the table for more talks next week. We are making progress on shared priorities including improvements for safer and healthier workplaces, better mental health supports and recognition of the diversity of our members. But we are going to continue to fight hard for a compensation package that recognizes your value.

As we move forward, it is more important than ever before that we keep you in the loop.

We're asking all members to update your contact information in the Member Portal. If you don't yet have a Member Portal account, click here to sign up today.

Already have a Member Portal account? You can log in here. If you've forgotten your password, you can reset it here. It's more important than ever to make sure that our union has your up-to-date contact information including your personal email, phone number and home mailing address.

Please make sure that your colleagues are also updating their contact information and share this bulletin!

In solidarity,

Your Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) Negotiating Committee



UWU/MoveUP

September 12, 2022

Community Social Services Bargaining Association is back at the table - BC Ge...

Last week, your Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSEA) was back at the negotiations table with the Community Social Services Employers Association of BC (CSSEA) to continue negotiations on a new collective agreement for 17,000 unionized workers in the community social sector.

Discussions at the table are now focused on monetary priorities. Your bargaining committee has made it clear that they are not prepared to accept any offer that does not include a compensation package that recognizes the value of community social services workers and protects you against rising costs.

Your bargaining committee's goal is to work towards a deal that recognizes your value and that addresses the priorities that you identified. Those priorities include a fair and equitable compensation package, health and safety improvements, mental health supports, and meaningful and tangible recognition and reconciliation for all Indigenous workers.

While negotiations are happening, you can help by making sure that all of your co-workers have their union cards and have updated their contact information with their union representatives or stewards. Please share this bulletin!

It is important that every workplace has the most up-to-date contact information so that we can keep everyone in the loop and stay engaged. Please check in with your worksite contacts and stewards and make sure that everyone in your workplace has signed union cards too.  
We're asking all members to update your contact information in the Member Portal. If you don't yet have a Member Portal account, click here to sign up today.

Already have a Member Portal account? You can log in here. If you've forgotten your password, you can reset it here. It's more important than ever to make sure that our union has your up-to-date contact information including your personal email and phone number.
 
In solidarity,
 
Your Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) Negotiating Committee
 
 
PS. Your bargaining committee has an information video, explaining the bargaining process and what to expect moving forward. You can watch it here!



UWU/MoveUP

August 16, 2022

The parties continue talks at the bargaining table - BC General Employees' Un...


The nine-union Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) was back at the table in the first two weeks of August for further discussions with the Community Social Services Employers Association (CSSEA). The community social services sectoral agreements cover more than 17,000 unionized workers across the province and includes workers in the Community Living Services, General Services, and Indigenous Services sub-sectors.
 
Since bargaining began in February, your committee has continued to push for the shared priorities that the members from all unions have identified in the sector. Those priorities include a fair and equitable compensation package, health and safety improvements in the workplace, mental health supports for all workers, and meaningful and tangible recognition and reconciliation for all Indigenous workers.  
 
After months of discussions, we have made progress at the bargaining table and have reached agreement on non-monetary priorities and language improvements to your collective agreement.
 
Last week, the two parties began more in-depth discussions on monetary priorities. Unfortunately, at this point in the process, we continue to be far apart in our positions.
 
Your bargaining committee is not prepared to accept any offer that does not include a compensation package that recognizes the value of community social services workers and protects against rising costs.
  
Essential Services discussions are ongoing
 
Community social services workers are the glue that holds our communities together. When someone is in need, it is you that supports them. For too long many of you have subsidized the province’s social safety net with your own compensation, mental health and time spent away from your families and friends. Now, the community social services sector is at a crisis point with staff shortages, high turnover and increased medical leaves.
 
Your bargaining committee has been hard at work for many months to make the gains that you have identified and need. And if we are not able to do that at the bargaining table, we may need to take job action, as a last resort.
 
Essential service discussions with employers started in July and are in progress.
 
Determining essential service levels is a legal process that is necessary and a normal part of the bargaining process. It prepares us for every scenario, including if we need to take job action.  Essential service levels for each workplace identifies what work needs to be done to keep you and the people you take care of safe.  It is different than when the provincial government determined what jobs were essential during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
If there is an essential service order from the Labour Board for the program that you are working in or the service that you provide, your union will ensure that the levels are met. You may be hearing information that is confusing.
 
Your bargaining committee is still in active negotiations with the employers’ representatives. Our goal is to negotiate a fair agreement with appropriate compensation while doing our absolute best to minimize impact on you and the community you serve. But we need to be prepared for all possible scenarios, including the ability to apply pressure through various forms of job action.
 
Next steps
 
Our next round of negotiations are scheduled in September. If we are not able to get the best possible agreement for you and your coworkers, then we will come back to you for guidance on our next steps. There are various ways that you as union members can stand strong and united, up to and including job action, which will be coordinated by your bargaining committee. And remember, you cannot be disciplined for participating in any form of job action.
 
We will be thoughtful and strategic and will keep you informed at every step of the way. This is your agreement and you will have a say as we move forward.
 
Keep connected
 
While negotiations are happening, you can help out by making sure that all of your co-workers have their union cards and have updated their contact information with their union representatives or stewards. Please share this bulletin!

It is important that every workplace has the most up-to-date contact information so that we can keep everyone in the loop and stay engaged. Please check in with your worksite contacts and stewards and make sure that everyone in your workplace has signed union cards too. 
 
We’re asking all members to update your contact information in the Member Portal. If you don't yet have a Member Portal account, click here to sign up today.

Already have a Member Portal account? You can log in here. If you’ve forgotten your password, you can reset it here. It’s more important than ever to make sure that our union has your up-to-date contact information including your personal email and phone number.

In solidarity,

Your Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) Negotiating Committee


UWU/MoveUP

July 27, 2022

We’re heading back to the bargaining table - BC General Employees' Union (BCGEU)

Your community social services bargaining committee is preparing to head back to the table to negotiate a fair collective agreement that meets your needs and reflects your worth. 

We have bargaining dates scheduled for the first two weeks of August and we anticipate a challenging set of discussions ahead of us. Your committee is continuing to work through the issues that you have identified as priorities including a compensation package that includes equitable wages, mental health supports, more accessible and affordable services and meaningful and tangible recognition for all Indigenous workers that work in General Services, Community Living Services and Indigenous Services agencies. 

Where are we now in the bargaining process?

We are still in active negotiations. In this round of bargaining, your bargaining committee is applying the 'interest-based negotiations' process which means that both sides come together to identify their issues, challenges and interests in the sector with the goal of seeking an agreement.

If no agreement can be met, then your bargaining committee will be coming back to you for guidance as we go to the next phase of the bargaining process.

Essential Service levels negotiations

We are continuing to negotiate the essential service levels. Deciding what work is essential is a standard part of the bargaining process and it is done in a way that ensures the safety of you and your clients while identifying the minimum level of work that is required to do in the event of a job action.

This does not necessarily mean that we will take job action, but this is part of how we are preparing for any scenario for you and your co-workers. 

There is a community social services bargaining association (CSSBA) essential services committee that is working through the essential services proposals from the employers now through a clearly defined process. 

What can I do?

While negotiations are happening, you can help out by making sure that all of your co-workers have their union cards and have updated their contact information with their union representatives or stewards. Please share this bulletin!

It is important that every workplace has the most up-to-date contact information so that we can keep everyone in the loop and stay engaged. Please check in with your worksite contacts and stewards and make sure that everyone in your workplace has signed union cards too. 

We're asking all members to update your contact information in the Member Portal. If you don't yet have a Member Portal account, click here to sign up today.

Already have a Member Portal account? You can log in here. If you've forgotten your password, you can reset it here. It's more important than ever to make sure that our union has your up-to-date contact information including your personal email and phone number.


In solidarity,

Your Community Social Services Bargaining Committee



UWU/MoveUP

June 30, 2022

Updates from your Community Social Services negotiating committee - BC Genera...

Bargaining update

Your community social services negotiating committee was back at the bargaining table last week.  We continued to work through a number of significant items, including further discussions on the monetary priorities put forward by community social service workers from all three sub-sectors- Community Living Services, General Services and Indigenous Services.

Discussions around compensation and wages at the bargaining table have been challenging. We continue to remain focused on advancing the priorities of members from all unions from the Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) including equitable wages and improved working conditions.

We are taking a scheduled break from the bargaining table but have more meeting dates scheduled over the summer. We are still in active negotiations and continue to move forward on the issues you have identified as priorities.  

Essential services negotiations are underway

Everyone’s job is important. But under the BC Labour Relations Code, some work can be designated as ‘essential’. This is different from when the government determined what jobs were essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. Deciding what work is essential is a standard part of the bargaining process and it is done in a way that ensures the safety of you and your clients while identifying the minimum level of work that is required to do so in the event of a job action.

This does not necessarily mean that we will take job action, but this is part of how we are preparing for any scenario for you and your co-workers. 

The process of identifying essential services levels is done through negotiations between designated union representatives and employer representatives in a clearly defined process. If you are being approached by your employer to sign-off on anything or discuss essential services, please advise your employer that you're not authorized to sign-off and talk to your shop steward or someone from your bargaining committee.

Section 72(2) of the Labour Relations Code defines essential services as “facilities, productions and services” that are “necessary or essential to prevent immediate and serious danger to the health, safety or welfare of the residents of British Columbia.” 
 
There is a provincial CSSBA Essential Services committee with representatives from each union who will coordinate essential services negotiations for their union. Each of these representatives will receive the proposals from the employers and then coordinate and distribute to the local union representatives. The committee then reports to the Lead Negotiator of the CSSBA Negotiating Committee, and they will ensure that the negotiating committee is informed and up to date on the progress of essential services negotiations. 
 
Here is the CSSBA Essential Services committee:
 
BCGEU – Shelly Appleton and Deb Wilson
CUPE – Michael Reed and Sheryl Burns
HEU – Robbin Knox and Christina Lloyd Jones
HSA – Colin Brehaut
CSWU – Shelley Moore
CLAC – Aleasha Wegner
USW – Marty Gibbons
BCNU – Carolin Bleich and David Ling
 

Sign up/sign up your coworkers

For community social services, we are still actively at the negotiating table and our bargaining process is ongoing. However, you may have heard that there are other bargaining tables that have already taken a strike vote. Solidarity is a key value of the union movement and although we continue to have positive, but challenging negotiations, we also support other members of the public sector who may be at different stages of the bargaining process. 

We will continue to keep you informed every step of the way, which is why it is so important that we have your up-to-date contact information including your personal email and phone number, so make sure your shop steward or your union local has your contact information.

We’re asking all members to update your contact information in the Member Portal. If you don't yet have a Member Portal account, click here to sign up today.

Already have a Member Portal account? You can log in here. If you’ve forgotten your password, you can reset it here. It’s more important than ever to make sure that our union has your up-to-date contact information including your personal email and phone number.

Please check with your coworkers to make sure they are also receiving these email updates and to please share this bulletin with them.                                                                                                                      

In solidarity,
 
Your Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) Negotiating Committee


UWU/MoveUP

June 23, 2022

Fellow BCGEU members in the public service voted in favour of strike action -...

Have you heard the news? Your fellow BCGEU members in the Public Service voted 94.6% in favour of striking for a fair collective agreement that includes cost-of-living-adjustments. Here’s how this affects you:
 
Members directly employed by the Government of B.C. took a strike vote to push their employer, the Public Service Agency (PSA), to improve their disappointing wage offer and come back with a fair proposal. As the vote wrapped up – before we even knew the results – their employer asked the union’s bargaining committee to return to negotiations. 
 
Just by voting, your fellow members sent a strong message to their employer. Today they amplified that message, and made it clear they’re united in their commitment to negotiate fair wages. They are now in a strong position to get a fair deal, and this is good news for you because the public service is the largest sectoral bargaining unit in the province and can set a strong precedent for other sectors like yours.
 
A win for the public service is a win for you. 
 
Am I going on strike? 
No, your bargaining unit is not going on strike. The strike vote does not apply to your bargaining unit, only to the 33,000 members in the Public Service (direct government services in Components 1, 5, 6, 12 and 20).
 
Are public service members going on strike? 
Not immediately. This will depend on their employer’s position when they return to the bargaining table. Depending on that, BCGEU public service members may have to action the strike vote. Don't worry – we will provide updates when we know more. 
 
Many of you work alongside these members, we all depend on the services they provide, so your union will tell you ahead of time if there will be any job action.
 
Make sure to keep up-to-date with updates from your bargaining committee to find out actions you can take to help them apply pressure at the bargaining table. If they’re feeling the strength of our solidarity from all sides, they cannot ignore us. 
 
In Solidarity,
 
Stephanie Smith
BCGEU President 



UWU/MoveUP