BURNABY – Today, and in the weeks ahead, the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) will begin negotiating new contracts for more than 53,000 members in the public service, health sectors and community social services.
"We're ready," says BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. "Beginning negotiations today gives us the time we need to address long-standing issues we've been raising with government over the past four years."
That starts by acknowledging the diverse cross-section of workers who, collectively, provide the foundation for services and supports that British Columbians depend on. "Frankly, without them, this province just wouldn't work," Smith said.
In that spirit, the union launched its "thanks to them" campaign-a series of video vignettes showcasing the broad and impressive scope of work performed by BCGEU members. The campaign website, www.thankaBCworker.ca, creates a platform for British Columbians to express their appreciation for the dedicated workers throughout B.C.'s public service, health and community social service sectors. Videos will appear province-wide on television and social media in the weeks ahead.
"BCGEU members are invested in the work they do, and they're passionate about the quality, accessibility and responsiveness of the services they provide to families, businesses and communities across B.C.," said Smith. "Our members know, as citizens and residents themselves, that we all have a stake in our province's continued prosperity. So, with 'thanks to them,' we're asking other British Columbians to take a moment to recognize and reflect on our workers, and to show that we all have a stake in them too."
"B.C. is a special place to live, and we know protecting that means reinvesting in our public, health and community social services," observed Smith. "It also means recognizing that it's time to reinvest in our workers-to stand behind them in support and with appreciation. That's why we're saying, 'Thanks to them'."
Public service bargaining begins on May 7. Negotiations in both health and community social services start May 14. Collective agreements between the BCGEU and the B.C. government expire on March 31, 2019. The union prepared for negotiations, as it routinely does, through broad consultation with its membership, including surveys, meetings and bargaining conferences, to identify key priorities.
The BCGEU is British Columbia's most diverse union, representing over 75,000 workers in the private sector and public services.
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