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NEWS

COVID-19: BCGEU office closure details - BCGEU

Since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak in January, your union has been closely monitoring the situation and acting decisively based on the best available science and expert recommendations to keep members and staff healthy, safe, and informed while maintaining core services and supports for our 80,000+ members across the province during this critical time.

Yesterday, I convened the first meeting of the BCGEU COVID Response Team-which is made up of me, Treasurer Paul Finch, our four Executive Vice Presidents, the BCGEU's three directors and our press secretary. The team will be meeting daily (by phone) throughout the pandemic to identify urgent issues for members and staff and streamline the resolution of those issues.

The first issue we tackled was the decision to close BCGEU offices to the public and require all non-essential BCGEU staff to work from home effective as soon as it is operationally possible. We expect all offices to be closed by the end of this week-hopefully many will be closed by Wednesday.

We took this decision to ensure our members have access to core services and supports of their union during the pandemic while also supporting the ability of our staff to practice social distancing. Allowing non-essential staff to work from home and restricting public access to BCGEU buildings we are making sure staff whose work requires them to be in an office to practice social distancing in their workplace. 

I want to make two things clear:

  • BCGEU buildings are safe-we implemented deep cleaning protocols in every facility last week. This decision to have non-essential staff work remotely is simply our commitment to the recommended practice of social distancing.
  • The office closure will not impact members' ability to access the core services and supports of their union. During this period of remote work, local chairs will continue to have direct access to staff representatives and members with questions or issues related to COVID-19 or regular labour relations can contact their steward or local chair as they usually would. In addition, members with questions or concerns specific to COVID-19 in their workplace can email those questions to [email protected] 

Going forward your union will continue to protect the health, safety, and rights of our members and staff as well as all working people based on the best available science and expert advice and to keep our members and staff informed of our decisions and actions. I encourage all of you to follow the science, listen to the experts and take care of yourselves and your loved ones. Thank you for all that you do.

In solidarity,
Stephanie Smith

 



UWU/MoveUP

Happening soon – Local meetings to elect convention delegates - BCGEU

Once every three years members from across the province elect their representatives to convention. They're called delegates.

The next BCGEU convention will take place June 9-12, 2021.

These delegates attend BCGEU convention and vote on important resolutions, and in the election of the President, Treasurer, and Executive Vice-Presidents. For more information on convention, check out the latest issue of the Provincial magazine.

The majority of delegates to our convention are elected at meetings of their union local – regional groups of members in the same industry – and that process is currently going on. This year's meetings are happening online.

If you would like to be a delegate or participate in choosing your local's delegates, check your email or the BCGEU Member Portal for details about your local's meeting.

If you are unable to find details on your meeting, please contact your area office.



UWU/MoveUP

April 07, 2021

STAFF REPRESENTATIVE - LOWER MAINLAND AREA OFFICE - BCGEU

STAFF REPRESENTATIVE

LOWER MAINLAND AREA OFFICE

 

INTERNAL POSTING

April 7, 2021

 

The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union requires a staff representative to work in the Lower Mainland Area Office, effective date to be determined.

 

DUTIES:

  • Assist officers, stewards and membership in the day-to-day administration of their union by attending membership meetings; assisting in union elections, preparing and conducting ratification votes;
  • Advising union membership on union policy and procedures;
  • Negotiating collective agreements and contract administration through the handling of grievances up to and including expedited arbitration;
  • Teaching courses for stewards and local officers;
  • Assisting in or leading organizing campaigns, both internal and external;
  • Representing the union at local labour councils and conventions; and
  • Will be required to develop grassroots campaign plans to advance the interests of the union's membership as well as engage members and recruit activists.

 

QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Experience in the trade union movement is essential;
  • Ability to deal with union leadership and employer representatives;
  • Ability to prepare concise written reports and handle a large volume of correspondence and ability to speak in public;
  • Must have an understanding of the goals and values of the labour movement;
  • Must have a solid understanding of organizing principles. Proven experience in union organizing drives will be an asset; and
  • Demonstrated ability to develop activist skills and maintain an effective working relationship with union and community activists.

 

Travel is required, therefore, applicants must hold a valid B.C. Driver's Licence.

 

The BCGEU supports employment equity. Workers of colour, women, aboriginal workers, LGBTQ2SI+ workers, and workers with disabilities are encouraged to apply for positions with the BCGEU.

 

Submit applications no later than 5:00 pm, Wednesday, April 14, 2021.

 

Resumes will be accepted by e-mail to: [email protected], attention to:

Stephanie Smith, President, c/o Lisa Trolland



UWU/MoveUP

April 07, 2021

Staff Representative (Temporary) Lower mainland area office

STAFF REPRESENTATIVE (Temporary)
LOWER MAINLAND AREA OFFICE

 INTERNAL POSTING
April 7, 2021

 

The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union requires a temporary staff representative to work in the Lower Mainland Area Office, effective date to be determined. The term of the assignment is up to 8 months or return of incumbent.

DUTIES:

  • Assist officers, stewards and membership in the day-to-day administration of their union by attending membership meetings; assisting in union elections, preparing and conducting ratification votes;
  • Advising union membership on union policy and procedures;
  • Negotiating collective agreements and contract administration through the handling of grievances up to and including expedited arbitration;
  • Teaching courses for stewards and local officers;
  • Assisting in or leading organizing campaigns, both internal and external;
  • Representing the union at local labour councils and conventions; and
  • Will be required to develop grassroots campaign plans to advance the interests of the union's membership as well as engage members and recruit activists.

QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Experience in the trade union movement is essential;
  • Ability to deal with union leadership and employer representatives;
  • Ability to prepare concise written reports and handle a large volume of correspondence and ability to speak in public;
  • Must have an understanding of the goals and values of the labour movement;
  • Must have a solid understanding of organizing principles. Proven experience in union organizing drives will be an asset; and
  • Demonstrated ability to develop activist skills and maintain an effective working relationship with union and community activists.

Travel is required, therefore, applicants must hold a valid B.C. Driver's Licence.

The BCGEU supports employment equity. Workers of colour, women, aboriginal workers, LGBTQ2SI+ workers, and workers with disabilities are encouraged to apply for positions with the BCGEU.

Submit applications no later than 5:00 pm, Wednesday, April 14, 2021.

Resumes will be accepted by e-mail to: [email protected], attention to:

Stephanie Smith, President, c/o Lisa Trolland

 

 



UWU/MoveUP

April 01, 2021

COVID-19 unpaid vaccination leave - BCGEU

COVID-19 unpaid vaccination leave

Our union welcomed government's announcement today to provide better protections for workers requiring leave to get vaccinated for COVID-19. As part of B.C.'s Immunization Plan, part-time and full-time workers are now entitled to take unpaid leave from work to get the vaccine. This is a result of changes to the Employment Standards Act that also include taking time off work to take a dependant family member to get vaccinated. Click here to read the full details of the announcement

Along with taking this step to protect workers, we also look forward to government making good on their promise to explore options to provide workers with paid leave while getting their vaccine – something our union continues to fight for. 

Also announced are changes to allow a worker to take job-protected leave if they need to care for other family members because of COVID-19, and not only a child or dependent adult as previously defined. Changes also allow workers with underlying conditions, who are undergoing treatment or who have contracted another illness that makes them more susceptible to COVID-19, to take the leave.
 
And remember, as a unionized worker you may already be entitled to paid leave from work to get vaccinated. Please check your collective agreement for details on leave entitlement or contact your steward if you have questions.



UWU/MoveUP

March 29, 2021

BCGEU members ratify collective agreement with Vancouver Island seniors' care...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 29, 2021

BCGEU members ratify collective agreement with Vancouver Island seniors' care facility

After several months of unsuccessful negotiations, as well as a unanimous vote to strike if a deal could not be reached, B.C. Government & Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) members at Nanaimo Seniors Village have voted by a strong majority to ratify their new collective agreement.

"For too long, low wages and precarious working conditions in for-profit seniors' care have taken a toll on workers, and created care deficiencies for seniors," says Stephanie Smith, president of the BCGEU. "If the pandemic has a silver lining, it added new urgency around recognizing and correcting these chronic issues, and this new collective agreement takes a step in this direction." 

The agreement is for a 27-month term from July 20, 2019 to October 31, 2021 and includes: significant wage increases; a process to address workload concerns; improved sick leave, vacation and retirement savings; improved human rights, harassment and bullying protections and more.

Nanaimo Seniors Village is one of nine Retirement Concepts worksites represented by the BCGEU – all of which have long-standing problems such as chronic under-staffing, high rates of staff burnout and injury and a crisis in recruitment and retention. For this reason, the union pursued and achieved a declaration from the Labour Relations Board that these nine sites are under a common employer. In future the sites will bargain together at a common table which will better position members and their union to address these issues.

"Of the Retirement Concepts worksites the BCGEU represents, Nanaimo Seniors Village has lagged behind the others in terms of wages, health and welfare benefits and even with the stability of their management," Smith continued. "While we are pleased with where this new contract landed, we look forward to achieving more in the next round of bargaining at a common table with the other sites."

The BCGEU represents 84 members at Nanaimo Seniors Village who work as home support workers, activity aides, cooks, food service attendants, housekeepers, receptionists, and nurses.

The BCGEU is one of the largest and fastest growing unions in B.C. with over 80,000 members working in virtually every community and economic sector in the province.

For more information contact: BCGEU Communications, [email protected]



UWU/MoveUP



UWU/MoveUP

March 26, 2021

Day of Mourning 2021 - BCGEU

Every year, on April 28, BCGEU members across the province come together to honour and remember co-workers and family members who were injured, made sick or killed because of something that happened at work. 

Because of COVID-19, our coming together this year will once again look different but will be no less important. In 2020, 173 workers died due to work, and with many jurisdictions concerned with an emerging third wave, the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to have tremendous impact on workers, including continued lack of protection. It is critical that we all remember those workers and reiterate our commitment to fight for the living to prevent further tragedies. 

Here are a few ways you can acknowledge Day of Mourning on April 28:

  • Attend the BC Federation of Labour's virtual gathering at 10:30 a.m. 
  • Download and post at your worksite the BCGEU's Day of Mourning poster. To receive a hard copy of the poster, please submit a request here by Tuesday, April 6, 2021, 5 p.m.
  • Observe a moment of silence. 
  • Share the following statement in your email signature or on social media:
    • On April 28, we honour the lives of those that have been injured or lost their lives to workplace injury or disease in B.C. Visit dayofmourning.bc.ca for more information.
    • In 2020, 173 workers in B.C. lost their lives to workplace injury or disease. Join us in honouring their memory on April 28. Visit dayofmourning.bc.ca for more information.
  • Call on your employer to:
    • work with health and safety committees and representatives to ensure safe and healthy working conditions, whatever work is taking place; and 
    • ensure all workers have access to free personal protective equipment, training and paid sick days so they can stay home when they are ill and not risk exposing co-workers and their community.
  • Call on our provincial government to:
    • Ensure every worker has seamless access to universal, permanent and adequate paid sick leave, so no one has to choose between going to work sick and getting a paycheque. Being able to stay home when you are sick is fundamental to reducing workplace exposures and illness;
    • Enforce workplace health and safety provisions, including the right to refuse unsafe work; and
    • Deliver on the promise that workplace health and safety is recognized as a fundamental right at work at the International Labour Organization (ILO) this year

Please respond to this email with any questions.



UWU/MoveUP

March 20, 2021

Update on frontline workers prioritized for COVID-19 immunization - BCGEU

For months the BCGEU has been working hard to make sure frontline essential workers would be offered vaccines as soon as possible. This week's announcement that more than 300,000 front-line workers will be eligible for immunization starting in April is great news-especially for thousands of BCGEU members in child-care and corrections who are among the priority groups listed

 

However, thousands of BCGEU members who have also worked on the front lines throughout the pandemic still don't know where they stand. These members-including wildfire fighters, Liquor Distribution Branch workers, social workers and Special Provincial Constables-deserve to know when they will be offered a vaccine.

 

The bottom line is essential workers deserve clarity and I am pushing government to get it. I will update you with any new information as soon as I receive it. 

 

Whether you are an essential worker who is directly impacted by this week's announcement or whether you are one of millions of British Columbians-myself included-eagerly awaiting their opportunity to get vaccinated as part of the mass population program, please make sure you have the most up-to-date information on BC's vaccine plan. Visit https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/vaccine/plan to find out about approved vaccines, eligibility, and how to book appointments for your or your loved ones to get vaccinated.

 

In solidarity, 

Stephanie Smith

President



UWU/MoveUP

March 17, 2021

2021 BCGEU Scholarships - BCGEU

Applications for the 2021 BCGEU Scholarship program are now being accepted.

Our annual scholarship program of $60,000 offers awards of $2,000 for full-time students and $1,000 for part-time students. Scholarships are funded by the dues of our 80,000 members.

Apply online here


Eligibility

  • A BCGEU member in good standing, or related to a current, retired or deceased BCGEU member or staff; and
  • A student or prospective post-secondary or higher learning student enrolled, registered or planning to attend an eligible educational institution in 2021.

Eligible relatives include spouses, parents, and children or grandchildren (including foster, adopted and stepchildren and grandchildren).

Eligible educational institutions must be designated by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). Find a list of eligible institutions here.

Previous BCGEU scholarship recipients are not eligible to apply.

Essay

In addition to providing personal information, applicants must submit a short essay of 450 - 500 words in response to one of the following topics for their essay:

  1. The coronavirus pandemic has deemed frontline workers – like grocery store cashiers, retail shop clerks, security guards, health and social care workers, food delivery and taxi drivers, early childhood educators - 'essential' yet these workers continue to be poorly paid and are often forced to put their health and safety at risk. Many low-wage and racialized workers have been disproportionately impacted during the pandemic highlighting the critical role of robust public services in tackling major health and social crises. How do we build a post-pandemic world that is caring, sustainable and equitable?

  2. The earth is in the midst of a man-made climate emergency. Addressing this emergency requires system change and collective – not just individual – action. What can the BCGEU and unions do to mobilize this collective action?

  3. In 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic unfolded, BC saw a surge in anti-Asian racism. There was also an intense focus on anti-Black racism and institutional violence toward Black and Indigenous people. What should the BCGEU do to challenge racism and build a union and province that is just, equitable and inclusive?

  4. The BCGEU is active in many communities where our members live and work. What are the benefits of the union's presence at community events and why is it important?

We encourage applicants to interview a BCGEU member, or to use personal experience or original research for this essay.

Click here for a copy of our scholarships brochure

Click here for a copy of our scholarships poster

The deadline for applications is Sunday, May 9 at midnight.


You may also be eligible for one of the scholarships offered by NUPGE, our National Union of Public and General Employees. Find details and apply directly here.

NUPGE scholarship for Black students

NUPGE scholarship for Indigenous students

NUPGE scholarship for 2SLGBTQI+ students

NUPGE Terry Fox Memorial scholarship for students with a disAbility

NUPGE scholarship for students of colour

NUPGE scholarship for young workers

NUPGE Tommy Douglas scholarship

 


UWU/MoveUP