Info on Covid-19, click for more information
B.C.'S UNION SINCE 1919

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

April 03, 2020

STAFF REPRESENTATIVE RESEARCH & INTERACTIVE (R&I) SERVICES - BCGEU

STAFF REPRESENTATIVE
RESEARCH & INTERACTIVE (R&I) SERVICES

INTERNAL
April 3, 2020

The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union requires a staff representative (capital stewardship officer) for its Research & Interactive (R&I) Services, effective date to be determined. The position is located at its headquarters in Burnaby.

The position reports to the coordinator, Research & Interactive (R&I) Services.

DUTIES:

  • Capital stewardship: develop and implement an engagement-oriented strategy to execute the union's shareholder advocacy initiatives, including through filing shareholder resolutions, liaising with external parties and labour unions and recommending the purchase of shares where our members work
  • Research and negotiation: with internal and external counsel to develop and research proposals and engage in negotiation with companies
  • Digital outreach: using digital tools, engage BCGEU members to participate in the union's shareholder activities, including through pension investments and general public pressure
  • Media outreach: liaise with media on the union's responsible investment activities, build relationships and establish BCGEU's reputation on responsible/ethical investment
  • Digital campaigns: develop campaign plans to advance the interests of the union's membership in regard to investments; execute campaigns to maximize member outreach and engagement; evaluate and analyze campaign effectiveness; recommend improvements to digital campaign strategy
  • Training, education and support: with IT and education staff, provide training and support to BCGEU staff, elected leaders and activists on skills, strategies, and best practices shareholder advocacy; training materials and resources
  • Committee assignments: support elected on BCGEU committees and represent the union on committees, external shareholder and investment bodies, or in meetings with government, opposition and employer representatives 
  • Liaison: work with BCGEU activists, community groups, coalition partners, unions and labour centrals on shared issues and campaigns
  • Other duties: primary role in this position is capital stewardship; however a campaigner may be assigned associated work, as required, to support departmental objectives

QUALIFICATIONS:

  • demonstrated skills and experience in capital markets and shareholder advocacy
  • familiarity with Canadian law on capital markets, demonstrated ability to lead corporate negotiations with stakeholders
  • proficiency working with digital campaign tools, including websites/microsites, e-marketing databases (NationBuilder), and social media
  • demonstrated ability to maintain effective working relationships with union and community activists as well as coalition partners including in labour and finance
  • an understanding of the goals and values of the labour movement

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, Tuesday, April 14, 2020.

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

Attention to: Stephanie Smith, President, c/o Lisa Trolland



UWU/MoveUP

April 03, 2020

It’s time to support essential workers – COVID-19 update - BCGEU

It's time to support essential workers – COVID-19 update

From the moment Coronavirus was declared a public health crisis several weeks ago through the declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic last month, thousands of you have raised concerns to your Stewards, Local Chairs and Component VPs about how your work and your workplaces have been impacted. Your union has been working hard with your employers to address those concerns as quickly and effectively as possible in this time of extraordinary uncertainty and stress. 
 
As part of that work, today I sent this letter to Carole James, Finance Minister and head of the Public Service Agency and the Public Sector Employers' Council, demanding immediate support for essential workers in direct government and the broader public service for the duration of the Provincial State of Emergency. In the coming days we will be making similar demands of other employers.
 
Please read the attachment and please continue to raise your concerns. We are on an uncertain road right now but I truly believe we will get through this together-and your union will be fighting for you every step of the way. 
 
In solidarity,
 
Stephanie Smith
BCGEU President



UWU/MoveUP

April 01, 2020

Child care for essential service designated workers – COVID-19: All members -...

Province helps essential service workers find child care

In response to concerns expressed by the BCGEU since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are pleased that the B.C. government has launched a process to provide child care to parents who are essential service workers. This process will match parents who are working on the front lines of B.C.'s COVID-19 response with child care in their communities for children up to five years old.

On the union's advice child care spaces will also be prioritized for children whose parents work in public health and health services, social services, law enforcement, first responders and emergency response sectors. Additional spaces will then be given to families working in other crucial roles, defined as essential service workers.

Essential workers can fill out a new "parent" form to identify their need for urgent child care. Forms can be accessed by calling 1-888-338-6622 and selecting Option 4, or online: www.gov.bc.ca/essential-service-child-care

Please see the information bulletin here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020CFD0017-000599 for detailed information (Chinese, French and Punjabi translations are available). See the list of COVID-19 essential services workers here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/covid-19-provincial-support/essential-services-covid-19

I thank you for your ongoing efforts to help our province through this extraordinary time – it's because of you that we will get through this together.

If you have specific questions about COVID-19, please send your inquiries to health@bcgeu.ca. If you want to review current information from the BCGEU on COVID-19 please go to our information hub at www.bcgeu.ca/covid.

In solidarity,

Stephanie Smith
President



UWU/MoveUP

March 31, 2020

Beware of fraudulent Emails related to Covid-19 - BCGEU

We are seeing a significant increase in the number of phishing and other fraudulent email scams being sent to BCGEU members, some trying to capitalize on people's fears related to COVID-19. Please review all incoming messages carefully, and if in any doubt about the authenticity of the message, do NOT click on any attachments or links contained within the message, delete the email.

The overwhelming amount of news coverage surrounding the novel coronavirus has created a new danger - phishing attacks looking to exploit public fears about the sometimes-deadly virus.

How does it work?

Like other types of phishing emails, the email messages claiming to be from legitimate organizations with information about the coronavirus usually try to lure you into clicking on a link or providing personal information that can be used to commit fraud or identity theft.

The email messages might ask you to open an attachment to see the latest statistics or provide personal information in order to download some important information. If you click on the attachment or embedded link, you're likely to download malicious software onto your device.

The malicious software - malware, for short - could allow cybercriminals to take control of your computer, log your keystrokes, or access your personal information and financial data, which could lead to identity theft.

Here are some tips to avoid getting tricked.

  • Be vigilant. Never send personal and/or financial information by e-mail.
  • Beware of online requests for personal information. A coronavirus-themed email that seeks personal information like your Social Insurance number or login information is a phishing scam. Legitimate government agencies won't ask for that information. Never respond to the email with your personal data.
  • Check the "from" address. Hover your curser over the "from" name, you will see the actual electronic email address. Some phishing attempts use a sender email address that looks legitimate but isn't – in Microsoft Outlook a red flag is displayed when email domain doesn't match the organization that the sender says they are from. Be careful! Phishers can create links that closely resemble legitimate addresses. If you receive an email where the "from" name doesn't match the actual electronic email address delete the email.
  • Watch for spelling and grammatical mistakes. If an email includes spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors, it is likely a sign you've received a phishing email - delete it.
  • Never click on suspicious links. Phishing emails often include embedded links that look valid, but if you hover over them, you can usually see the real hyperlink. If the hyperlinked address isn't the same as what appears in the email, it's probably a phishing attempt - delete it.
  • Never click or open unexpected attachments. Does the email include an attachment that you weren't expecting? Never open suspicious attachments.
  • Look for generic greetings. Phishing emails are unlikely to use your name. Greetings like "Dear sir or madam" signal an email is not legitimate.
  • Avoid emails that insist you act now. Phishing emails often try to create a sense of urgency or demand immediate action. The goal is to get you to click on a link and provide personal information - right now. Instead - delete the email.

The Government of Canada's Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre has compiled a list of reported scams exploiting COVID-19 available at the following URL: https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/features-vedette/2020/covid-19-eng.htm

As a reminder, the BCGEU will not ever request a member to send cash or gift cards to another member in an "emergency". All such requests should be immediately deleted.

An example of a COVID-19 scam request looks like this:

A recent example of a fraudulent email in which a claim that the recipient has been exposed to COVID-19 at a BCGEU event and is asked to open/print an attachment and proceed to an emergency clinic:

 

Another example of a SCAM email:

These messages are often sent to local or component executive members, and look like they have been sent by another local or component executive member. However, these are phishing emails and should be deleted.

If you receive any such emails, do NOT click on any attachments or links and delete it from your computer immediately (from both your Inbox and your Trash folder).

To the best of our knowledge, the BCGEU has not held any event where someone with a confirmed or presumption case of COVID-19 has attended. As you all know, the BCGEU started cancelling events involving more than 10 people as of March 12. We also closed all of our offices to the public as of March 18. These steps were taken to reduce the exposure of our members and our staff to this pandemic.

If you had been exposed to a confirmed or presumptive case of COVID, either at the BCGEU or at any other event, a health officer from the BC Centre for Disease Control (BC CDC) would be in touch with you, most likely by phone. Regardless of the form of contact, such contact would advise you of where and when you were exposed and would provide you with information about what steps you need to take.

 

IT Services Department

B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union



UWU/MoveUP

March 31, 2020

STAFF REPRESENTATIVE EAST KOOTENAY AREA OFFICE (CRANBROOK) - BCGEU

STAFF REPRESENTATIVE
EAST KOOTENAY AREA OFFICE
(CRANBROOK)

 

INTERNAL POSTING
March 31, 2020

 

 

The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union requires a staff representative to work in the East Kootenay 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, LGBTQ+ workers, and workers with disabilities are encouraged to apply for positions with the BCGEU.

Submit applications no later than 5:00 pm, Tuesday, April 7, 2020.

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

Stephanie Smith, President, c/o Lisa Trolland

 



UWU/MoveUP

March 17, 2020

2020 BCGEU scholarships

We are now accepting applications for the 2020 BCGEU scholarships. Our annual scholarship programme 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.

Download the poster 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 2020.

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. One job should be enough! How does precarious work impact workers and why is decent work so important?
  2. What are the impacts of work on the mental health of workers and what can employers and unions do to support workers' mental health?
  3. What does Reconciliation between Indigenous and settler peoples mean to you?

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

Apply online at: www.bcgeu.ca/scholarships.

The deadline for applications is Sunday, May 3 at midnight.

Additional opportunities

You may also be eligible for one of these five scholar- ships worth $1,500 awarded by our national union, NUPGE:

  • Brian Fudge Memorial Scholarship
  • Scholarship for Indigenous Students
  • Scholarship for Students of Colour Terry Fox Memorial
  • Scholarship Tommy Douglas Scholarship

For information on these scholarships, including eligibility criteria and the deadline for submissions, visit www.nupge.ca.



UWU/MoveUP

March 13, 2020

BCGEU calls for suspension of rent and mortgage payments for sick/self-isolat...

Burnaby, B.C. – In response to the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 a "pandemic" and public health experts recommending social distancing including self-isolation for exposed or symptomatic people, the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) is calling on federal and provincial governments to immediately suspend all mortgage and rent payments until the pandemic is over.

"The BCGEU has said from the beginning of this outbreak that protection of workers must be a central plank of government response-that's why we called for an end to doctors' notes as well as paid sick leave and a host of other worker-focused measures," said Stephanie Smith. "The BCGEU is urging our members and all working people to trust the science and follow public health recommendations. The federal and provincial governments could support our message by suspending mortgage and rent payments during the COVID-19 pandemic to make sure working people can afford to do the right thing."

Recent research from the 2019 annual BDO Affordability Index shows that more than half of Canadians are living paycheque to paycheque. The public health measures already announced-such as cancellation of large gatherings, travel advisories, and social distancing measures-mean some British Columbians are working less or not at all. As the pandemic evolves those impacts are expected to get worse, and more working people will be unable to make mortgage and rent payments.

"We all have a part to play in flattening the curve-workers, employers, and governments," said Smith. "Our federal and provincial governments have an opportunity right now to mitigate one of the major economic pressures that force people to choose to keep working even if they have been exposed to COVID-19 or are symptomatic."

Two days after announcing the $1-billion fund to address the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters he empathized with Canadians' worries and assured that the federal government would assist financially but has yet to suggest what that assistance will look like. More details are expected after the First Ministers' Meeting with the Prime Minister later today.

The BCGEU is one of the largest, most diverse and fastest growing unions in B.C. with more than 80,000 members working in almost every community and economic sector in the province.

 



UWU/MoveUP

March 11, 2020

COVID-19 Pandemic Response - BCGEU

Today, the WHO declared that COVID-19 has escalated from public health crisis to pandemic. In plain language this means the public health priority has shifted from preventing the spread of the virus to slowing it down so that our healthcare system doesn't get overwhelmed by too many infections happening concurrently. In light of this, the Provincial Executive of the BCGEU unanimously passed the following motion:

The Provincial Executive approves that, effective immediately and until at least May 2nd:

  • All non-essential BCGEU gatherings over 10 people will be postponed;
  • Where possible, essential gatherings will be conducted remotely; and,
  • The Executive Committee will monitor the situation and reassess as new information on the pandemic becomes available.

Our union's senior leadership has been monitoring the emergence and evolution of COVID-19 from regional outbreak to general public health crisis to global pandemic and has been taking appropriate action at every stage to protect the physical and financial health of our staff and members while minimizing disruption to core union business.

This was not an easy decision, but it is absolutely the right decision for our union. Pandemic response is a collective responsibility and we all have a part to play in "flattening the curve". Though I understand this decision will inconvenience some members your provincial executive is unanimous that cancelling non-essential gatherings is the best course of action.

Immediate impacts include postponement of:

  • Local Chairs' Assembly scheduled to begin Friday, March 13th at the Metrotown Hilton.
  • Women's Health and Safety Course scheduled for Thursday, March 12th at Fraser Valley Area Office.
  • Area 10 (Fort St. John) and Area 02 (Nanaimo) steward appreciation events scheduled for April 18th and May 2nd respectively.

Every effort will be made to find alternate ways of "meeting"-for example, conference calls, video conferencing, and telephone town halls-to support core union business and to maintain solidarity between and among members.

Members with questions about whether an upcoming meeting not listed above is essential or non-essential should contact their Component VP or their Area Office. Members with questions about how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact any aspect of their workplace should contact their Area Office. I will update you as the situation evolves.

In the meantime, here are two things can you do:

  • Do your part to "flatten the curve". Even if you are in a low-risk group, I urge you to take precautions not just to avoid getting infected with or spreading COVID-19, but also to avoid burdening our healthcare system during the pandemic.
  • Listen to experts. The rumours about COVID-19-from transmission to prevention to treatment-are spreading faster than the virus itself. I urge you to rely on the Office of the Provincial Health Officer and the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) for reliable and up-to-date COVID-19 information as it affects British Columbians:

In solidarity,

Stephanie Smith
President



UWU/MoveUP