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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 health@bcgeu.ca 

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

October 23, 2020

The BCGEU stands in solidarity with Mi’kmaq fishers- BCGEU

October 23, 2020

Via email: chiefsack@sipeknekatik.ca

Sipekne'katik First Nation
Chief Michael P. Sack
522 Church Street
Indian Brook 14, NS
B0N 1H0 

Dear Mi'kmaw Nation & Sipekne'katik First Nation,

Re:  Solidarity with Mi'kmaw Nation & Sipekne'katik First Nation

The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) stands in solidarity with Mi'kmaq fishers. We wish to amplify your calls for immediate action by all levels of governments and law enforcement to protect your inherent rights, lives, and the safety of your fishers, including members of the Sipekne'katik First Nation.

BCGEU condemns the violent and racist attacks by non-Indigenous fishers. We condemn the escalating and dangerous crimes perpetrated by non-Indigenous people. And we condemn the RCMP's lack of leadership in addressing these attacks. 

The attacks on your fishers are in direct violation of the Supreme Court of Canada's landmark Marshall ruling that protects your inherent rights to fishing. Your legal and constitutionally protected rights to generate a moderate livelihood must be upheld by all levels of Government, and they must be upheld now.

The BCGEU calls on all relevant levels of government to take action against these acts of racism against the Mi'kmaq and to affirm and respect Mi'kmaq rights immediately. 

Your perseverance and commitment are inspiring to many, and though we are many kilometres away, please know that you have our union's full support.

In solidarity,

Stephanie Smith                                                     Paul Finch 
President                                                                Treasurer

 

Download PDF of letter here



UWU/MoveUP

October 22, 2020

BCGEU Headquarters office negotiations department

BCGEU HEADQUARTERS OFFICE
NEGOTIATIONS DEPARTMENT 

INTERNAL POSTING 

October 22, 2020

 

 

POSITION: SECRETARY

GRADE: LEVEL 3 - MoveUP AGREEMENT

A secretary is required to perform secretarial and word processing functions for staff representatives in the Negotiations Department.

DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES:

The successful applicant will perform Level 3 duties as assigned. Duties to include: processing a variety of documents on a personal computer including bargaining proposals, contracts, reports, memoranda, forms, leaves of absence, meeting notices and general correspondence; coordinating, preparing and distributing various materials for strike/ratification votes; maintaining filing systems and daily bring forward system; responding to telephone inquiries and walk-in visitors; arranging appointments; making travel and hotel arrangements; sorting and distributing mail; other related duties as required.

QUALIFICATIONS & EXPERIENCE:

Applicants must have 2-4 years' secretarial experience; high school graduation supplemented by secretarial training; excellent keyboarding skills (60‑70 wpm); excellent Word and Excel skills; excellent communication, spelling and grammatical skills; an aptitude for organization and detail; good telephone manner; the ability to set priorities and work within time limits.

Hours of work are 32 hours, four days per week.

General aptitude tests will be administered to all applicants. Keyboarding tests will be administered to regular/temporary employees who are not presently working in or have not previously worked in a secretarial position.

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

Apply in writing with resume to Sharon Penner, Human Resources Administrator, Headquarters, by 5:00 pm Wednesday, October 28, 2020.

Resumes will be accepted by e-mail to: human.resources@bcgeu.ca



UWU/MoveUP

October 21, 2020

New union office will reflect union values - BCGEU

New union office will reflect union values

We have some big news! Our union is building a new Lower Mainland Area Office (LMAO) that will provide BCGEU members and staff with the space and amenities they need, but it will also include much needed affordable housing and childcare spaces as well. We are excited to share this news with members and this bulletin will be the first of many updates as the project moves forward.

Here's what you need to know right now:

  • The land for the project has been acquired under the oversight of a special capital projects committee led by the Treasurer, and with the unanimous support of your elected leaders on the provincial executive. 
     
  • The land purchase was funded by the significant investment returns the BCGEU has earned since we began divesting our defence fund from fossil fuels back in 2014. The financing for the project is from investment returns, and not your dues.
     
  • The site of the new LMAO is in Burnaby-a location chosen because the city's progressive approach to zoning made our goal of providing affordable housing in the new LMAO possible. 
     
  • Every step of this project will be done in a way that is consistent with our values as a union committed to democracy and social justice. Our new LMAO will be a sustainable, accessible and inclusive building that provides the affordable housing and childcare options that working people deserve. 
     
  • The next step is to secure approval from the City of Burnaby for our plans. Our application has been submitted and we will be reaching out to members who live in Burnaby to support our application when it comes to a public hearing. 
     
  • At this point we don't have a date for the start of construction but while we work on those details the buildings that currently stand on the future site of our new LMAO will be part of the City of Burnaby's Mural Program. We will update you on the details of this aspect of the project as we have them.

 
Building for human need, not for profit, is something Canadian and U.S. unions did to support working people back in the 1920s – 1970s. It's a model our union has pursued in our long-standing commitment to build rather than lease the offices used by our members. And we're proud to be reinventing this model using the economic principles of our Affordable BC plan.

Our new building will support BCGEU members and staff for years to come and will truly be an anchor for the progressive community and all working people in Burnaby. We are excited about this project and look forward to sharing more details as we watch our vision come to life.

If you have any questions, please email building@bcgeu.ca.

In solidarity,

Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President
Paul Finch, BCGEU Treasurer



UWU/MoveUP

October 16, 2020

BCGEU concerned about proposed redesign of the Municipal Pension Plan

You're receiving this as a BCGEU member of the Municipal Pension Plan.

As you may be aware, the Municipal Pension Plan (MPP) has announced potential changes to the plan and is currently seeking stakeholder feedback on a proposed redesign, by October 23. 

Despite being the fourth largest union in the MPP and representing thousands of pension-contributing members, the BCGEU is not one of the "Plan Partner" unions and does not have a seat on the plan's Board of Trustees (who are ultimately responsible for redesign decisions). As a result, we were not formally included in the proposed redesign and did not get to vote directly or independently on it. 
We have been asking the board and partners for years to give the BCGEU representation that is commensurate with the relative size of our membership in the MPP. Nevertheless, our union's pension experts have repeatedly communicated BCGEU members' needs in any future plan redesign.

It is important for you to know that our union supports some aspects of the proposed redesign, in particular the move to what is called the "flat rate of accrual." This is something we've been advocating for members for years, and it means that most new members joining the plan will retire with a superior pension. Our union also supports the notion of a Health Care Trust for retirees.

However, the BCGEU overall opposes the proposal because of three particular concessions that fail BCGEU members:

  • When the Public Service Pension Plan (PSPP) was redesigned, BCGEU members received 12 years of 0.3 per cent accrual below the YMPE (Year Maximum Pensionable Earnings). In comparison, the MPP's proposed redesign offers no retroactive increase. We think it should, and we believe it would offset the loss of the Bridge benefit for members retiring in the next five to 10 years.
     
  • We have been demanding for years that the MPP Board rebalance the contribution rates, and they are proposing to wait until 2022 to do so, instead of implementing these much needed changes for fairness in 2021.
     
  • The Plan Partners agreed to a 0.5 per cent of payroll break in contributions for the employer only. This is unacceptable for us, and it is a concession we refused in the Public Service Pension Plan redesign.
     

As an MPP member, if you are upset with the proposed redesign, or have any questions about how it will impact your pension personally, we encourage you to use this online form by October 23 to communicate your concerns or questions to the MPP partners and Board of Trustees, and to demand a seat on the Board for the BCGEU. The online form takes only a minute to complete, and you'll find more of our research and reasoning on the site.

In solidarity,

Paul Finch, BCGEU Treasurer
Andrea Duncan, Vice President, Component 3 (Community Social Services)
Mahen Ramdharry, Vice President, Component 4 (Health Services)
Cindy Battersby, Vice President, Component 7 (Education, Scientific, Technical & Administrative)
Scott De Long, Vice President, Component 8 (Community Health Services)
Dave MacDonald, Vice President, Component 17 (General Services)



UWU/MoveUP

October 15, 2020

SECRETARY LEVEL 3 (Temporary 12 month) - Advocacy *REVISED* - BCGEU

 

BCGEU HEADQUARTERS OFFICE 

INTERNAL POSTING *REVISED*

October 15, 2020

 

 

POSITION: SECRETARY – ADVOCACY (Temporary)

GRADE: LEVEL 3 - MoveUP AGREEMENT

A secretary is required to perform secretarial and word processing functions for staff representatives as required in Advocacy. Term of assignment is up to 12 months or return of incumbent.

DUTIES:

Will include processing a variety of documents on a personal computer including reports, memoranda, forms, leaves of absence, meeting notices, legal documents and general correspondence; compiling books of authorities and exhibits under the direction of servicing staff; inputting all files into a grievance database and updating hearing/arbitration reports; compiling quarterly statistical Advocacy reports for PE meetings; handling Component administrative duties; processing invoices from outside professionals; maintaining filing systems and daily bring forward system; responding to telephone inquiries and walk-in visitors; arranging appointments; making travel and hotel arrangements; sorting and distributing mail; other related duties as required.

QUALIFICATIONS:

Applicants must have 2-4 years' secretarial experience; high school graduation supplemented by secretarial training; excellent keyboarding (60–70 wpm); excellent Microsoft Word and Excel skills; excellent communication, spelling and grammatical skills; an aptitude for organization and detail; good telephone manner; the ability to set priorities and work within time limits; database and arbitration preparation experience an asset.

Hours of work are 32 per week, four days.

General aptitude tests will be administered to all applicants. Keyboarding tests will be administered to regular/temporary employees who are not presently working in or have not previously worked in a secretarial position.

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.

Apply in writing with resume to Sharon Penner, Human Resources Administrator, Headquarters, by 5:00 pm, Wednesday, October 21, 2020.

Resumes will be accepted by e-mail to: human.resources@bcgeu.ca

 



UWU/MoveUP

October 09, 2020

Union elections postponed - BCGEU

We hope you are safe and well as we move into the cooler months.

COVID-19 has brought adjustments to the way our union operates. For instance, provincial health regulations caused us to have to postpone our June 2020 triennial convention until June 2021.

This is to let you know we're also postponing our steward elections until 2021. Local elections are postponed until early 2022. 

In the meantime, elections will still be held to fill vacancies. The postponements for the general elections are happening because they're required to occur after the convention, as per our constitution.

We hold local elections every three years. Every position on the executive is open to nominations. Positions include chair, 1st vice-chair, 2nd vice-chair, 3rd vice-chair, treasurer, secretary, members at large, and young worker representative.

We encourage members to become active in their BCGEU locals, and by doing so, play a greater role in our union's governance.

We'll have more information about the 2021 steward and local elections, and the triennial convention, in the weeks to come. 

 

 



UWU/MoveUP

October 02, 2020

Temporary employment opportunity at LifeLabs - BCGEU

To BCGEU members impacted by workplace closure or disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the union would like to let you know about a temporary employment opportunity to work with fellow BCGEU members at LifeLabs, a Canadian laboratory services provider.

 

LifeLabs is currently hiring temporary Packaging Clerk positions in Surrey, BC, to support the increase in COVID-19 testing across the province. No medical background is required to fill these casual 3 to 4 week-long posts. The pay is $19.10 per hour and the hours will vary.

 

The position will be responsible for receiving, counting, packaging and organizing samples for transportation. Full personal protective equipment (PPE) and training, where required, will be provided.

 

This is an urgent staffing need so if you are interested, please apply now at:

https://career4.successfactors.com/sfcareer/jobreqcareer?jobId=83031&company=LifeLabs

 

When asked in the application who referred you or how you found out about the job, please be sure to indicate 'BCGEU'. Should you have any questions regarding the Packaging Clerk positions, please contact LifeLabs directly.

 

To see all opportunities at LifeLabs go to: https://www.lifelabs.com/careers/ 



UWU/MoveUP

September 29, 2020

Poll finds majority of British Columbians support phasing out for-profit long...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 29, 2020


Poll finds majority of British Columbians support phasing out for-profit long-term care


The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the deficiencies of for-profit seniors' care and this issue will be top of mind for voters deciding who to support in the provincial election

(Burnaby, B.C.) - A new Research Co. poll has found that a significant majority of British Columbians are concerned about for-profit corporations in the province's long-term care sector and would prefer not-for-profit operators to be awarded new contracts for delivery of these services. The survey of a representative provincial sample was conducted on behalf of the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU), a lead union in long-term care representing more than 5,000 members in the sector.

"The pandemic shone a light on what BCGEU members and others on the front lines of the long-term care sector have been saying since the early 2000s when the rules were changed to allow increased privatization: for-profit long-term care is a bad deal for workers and for seniors," said BCGEU president Stephanie Smith.

The polls results include the following:

  • 73 per cent of British Columbians with opinions on the issue would prefer to see for-profit operators reduced, and 71 per cent would prefer not-for-profit operators to be in charge of new long-term care bed contracts;
  • 79 per cent said the issue of long-term care will be important (32% very important, 47% moderately important) in determining their vote on October 24th; and
  • 65 per cent of respondents confirmed they have been following issues related to long-term care.

"This poll shows that British Columbians not only understand what's going on in the long-term care sector, they know what needs to be done about it," said Smith. "The bottom line is British Columbians agree with what our union has been saying for years: we need to shift away from the for-profit delivery of seniors' care. Now that we have an election coming up, I'm challenging all political parties to be clear about their plan to tackle the ongoing crisis in long-term care."
 
A report from B.C.'s seniors advocate tabled in February, just before the pandemic took hold of the province, revealed that for-profit seniors' care operators failed to deliver 207,000 care hours which they were funded to deliver. The Research Co. poll addressed that report's findings and found that 91 per cent of British Columbians believe the provincial government should monitor whether long-term care homes are delivering the care hours they are funded to provide and 86 per cent believe that those who fail to do so should face penalties.
 
"As we've seen during the pandemic, for-profit seniors' care operators pad their bottom line by suppressing wages, allowing working conditions to deteriorate and cutting corners on care," Smith continued. "While companies increase their profit margins, frontline staff and the seniors they care for pay the price. It's been going on too long and it's unacceptable."
 
"British Columbians who have a personal connection to long-term care are more likely to call for a reduction on the participation of the for-profit sector in the future," says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. "Significantly fewer residents of the province believe expanding the role of for-profit corporations in long-term care is the right course of action."
 
In April 2020, the BCGEU launched a campaign calling on the provincial government to end for-profit long-term care in B.C. The campaign has garnered nearly 15,000 signatures to date. The union also supports national calls for a federal framework for the public delivery of seniors' care.
 
Results are based on an online study conducted from September 22 to September 24, 2020, among 800 adults in British Columbia. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in British Columbia. The margin of error-which measures sample variability-is +/- 3.5 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Link to Factum
Link to Data Tables
Link to BCGEU's petition to end for-profit seniors' care in B.C.
 
For more information contact BCGEU Communications: communications@bcgeu.ca



UWU/MoveUP