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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

May 03, 2021

Remembering Component 1 member Bikramdeep Randhawa

On behalf of 80,000+ members across the province, the BCGEU offers our deepest condolences to the family, friends, and loved ones of Local 104 member Bikramdeep Randhawa as they grieve his sudden and senseless death on Saturday, May 1st.

While the loss of any member under any circumstance is a tragedy, Bikramdeep's youth and the violent, and public nature of his death make this loss harder to bear especially for the close-knit members at Fraser Regional Correctional Centre who knew him as a colleague and a friend.

In the coming days and weeks our union will be focused on ensuring our members have everything they need to get through this difficult time and that their mental, emotional, and physical health and safety are protected going forward.

 

In solidarity,

 

Stephanie Smith, President, BCGEU
Dean Purdy, Vice President, Component 1 (Corrections and Sheriff Services)



UWU/MoveUP

April 30, 2021

How the BC Budget affects you – BCGEU analysis

BC Budget Analysis 2021/22
Moving in the right direction, but at the wrong speed.

 
On April 20, the BC NDP delivered its first budget and fiscal plan since winning a new majority mandate in the October 2020 general election. More importantly, this was the government's first official budget since the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.
 
Budget 2021 includes significant funds for emergency relief and ongoing pandemic response measures. While these measures create large deficits, they are critical investments needed to support British Columbians in this difficult time.
 
It is reassuring to see government continuing to spend what is necessary to fund important programs and services for workers, families, and communities.
 
Click here to read our full analysis of Budget 2021/22 
 
However, apart from making some improvements to commitments that were made in Budget 2020, this budget is unimaginative in areas where real transformation is still needed for working British Columbians. 
 
It fails to address areas where extreme social, economic, and health-related vulnerabilities have been brought to public light though the ongoing pandemic.
 
Budget 2021 does offer an array of valuable new social investments and supports and it certainly provides resources in places where there is an urgent need, especially throughout B.C.'s health sector, but there are several missed opportunities in this plan as well.
 
Our union has carefully reviewed the provincial budget, ministry by ministry, to help understand how the government's choices will affect the work members do and the services our province relies on, as well as identifying areas where new progress has been made and where significantly more improvement is still needed.
 
Click here to read our full analysis of Budget 2021/22 



UWU/MoveUP

April 28, 2021

STAFF REPRESENTATIVE (Temporary) - WEST KOOTENAY AREA OFFICE - BCGEU

STAFF REPRESENTATIVE (Temporary)

WEST KOOTENAY AREA OFFICE

 

INTERNAL POSTING

April 28, 2021

 

The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union requires a temporary staff representative to work in the West Kootenay Area Office, effective date to be determined. The term of the assignment is up to 3 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, May 5, 2021.

 

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

Stephanie Smith, President, c/o Lisa Trolland



UWU/MoveUP

April 22, 2021

The Provincial Spring 2021 - BCGEU

Check out the latest issue of The Provincial

This issue has convention candidate statements, updates on the Fight for Essential Pay for BC Liquor Distribution Branch workers, COVID and Women a call for a just recovery, and a big win for the members in the Community Living Sector.

2021-005-PROVINCIAL-MARCH-2021.jpg

UWU/MoveUP

April 22, 2021

Chartwell’s pandemic profiteering off seniors’ care demonstrates need to move...

The B.C. Government & Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) is appalled to learn that Chartwell Retirement Residences, where the union represents 125 members at two of its long-term care facilities in B.C., provided executive bonuses for "100% customer satisfaction during the pandemic" while at the same time rejecting a proposal to provide frontline workers a living wage despite their tireless efforts to care for residents during the pandemic.

"It's unconscionable – but it's how the for-profit system works and why our union has been advocating for an end to for-profit seniors' care in B.C.," said Stephanie Smith, president of the BCGEU. "This is an egregious example of an inequitable distribution of profits at the expense of those doing the hard work on the ground, especially when you consider the billions in taxpayer dollars paid to for-profit companies to pay these worker's wages for care delivery."

Despite Chartwell's recommendation to reject the wage proposal, unitholders will still have a chance to vote on it at the company's annual meeting to be held on May 20, 2021. As a unitholder in Chartwell, the BCGEU has actively engaged with the company on board oversight of risk management and intends to vote in favour of the proposal to provide frontline workers a minimum living wage. The BCGEU became a unitholder in Chartwell in 2020 as part of its shareholder advocacy program to fight for workers' rights beyond the bargaining table.

Now in the third wave of the pandemic, Canada continues to hold the worst record among wealthy nations for COVID-19-related deaths in long-term care facilities.[1] With thousands of those deaths occurring in for-profit facilities including at Chartwell, calls across Canada to abolish for-profit long-term care continue.

"Chartwell's actions prove once again that the profit motive is directly at odds with supporting the kind of care system that workers and seniors' deserve," Smith continued. "It's time for government to take action by building a non-profit, publicly delivered system in our province and across Canada."

Sign our petition to end for-profit seniors' care in B.C. here: www.seniorsdeservebetter.ca

[1] https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/canada-record-covid-19-deaths-wealthy-countries-cihi-1.5968749

UWU/MoveUP

April 20, 2021

BCGEU applauds investments in sectors like childcare and seniors care; urges ...

Victoria, B.C. – The BCGEU is applauding Budget 2021's support for the critical public services needed to get B.C. through the pandemic. But the union representing tens of thousands of members direct government and throughout the province's broader public sector is highlighting that more needs to be done to support workers as we move towards recovery.

"Our members' top priority for Budget 2021 was to see government unequivocally supporting public services as a path out of the pandemic and we got what we were looking for," said Stephanie Smith, president of the BCGEU. "The big news is childcare-especially with the federal government's commitment announced yesterday-and we're also happy to see ongoing and some impressive new investments in seniors care, mental health and addictions, BC Parks, and poverty reduction. Overall, this budget shows that the government is committed to supporting British Columbians and leveraging the lessons of the pandemic."

The BCGEU consulted with members across the province to inform their submission to the Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services. That submission urged government to deliver a budget that protected the province's most vulnerable, preserved existing public services, and presented a bold plan to provide the services and supports British Columbians will need to get through the pandemic and build a just recovery.

"There is a lot to celebrate in this budget, particularly compared to what is happening in other provinces," said Smith. "Frankly, what's missing are critical supports for the frontline workers that have gotten our province this far-like paid sick leave and mental health supports. Those are gaps that need to be filled for our province to come out of this pandemic."

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

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For more information, contact our BCGEU communications department at [email protected]



UWU/MoveUP

April 16, 2021

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 13, 2021

B.C. liquor and cannabis workers rally for essential pay at Finance Minister’...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 13, 2021

B.C. liquor and cannabis workers rally for essential pay at Finance Minister's offices
 

BURNABY, COAST SALISH TERRITORIES – After more than a year of serving the public safely and peacefully at publicly-owned liquor and cannabis stores and warehouses without financial acknowledgement of their pandemic working conditions, B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) members working for the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch (BCLDB) will be safely and peacefully rallying at the offices of the Finance Minister to have her authorize essential pay for their government-deemed essential work.
 
"These rallies aren't just about financial acknowledgement of the risky conditions we've endured and record revenues we've helped generate during this pandemic," said BCLDB employee and BCGEU steward Erica Cardarelli. "This is about our need to be treated fairly now and into the future, better than we have been treated long before COVID-19."
 
BCLDB workers were among thousands who the B.C. government declared essential during the initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring. Liquor and cannabis retail stores have remained open to the public throughout the pandemic-with prevention measures like plexiglass barriers and mandatory masks introduced long after members called for them. The warehouses have also remained fully operational to support increased demand from stores as well as pubs, bars and restaurants.
 
At a recent employee town hall, the BCLDB reported record retail sales and Christmas-level wholesale orders throughout the pandemic, as well as increased spending on advertising and opening or renovating stores. At the same event, when asked if the BCLDB would provide workers with essential pay, CEO and General Manager Blain Lawson claimed it was government, not him, who had the power to authorize that particular item.
 
"In calling on Minister Robinson, we're simply acting on our employer's message," said BCGEU vice president Kusam Doal. "We're not asking for funds from the provincial budget. We're asking Minister Robinson, the minister who oversees the BCLDB, to validate our employer's claim and authorize our employer to use a fraction of the public-supporting revenue we help generate during this pandemic to appropriately acknowledge our risk and efforts. This seems like a simple administrative matter, one we believe Minister Robinson can resolve."
 
BCGEU members working for the BCLDB will rally outside Selina Robinson's constituency office on Austin Avenue in Coquitlam and outside the B.C. Legislative Assembly buildings in Victoria at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, April 14 – two weeks since workers and their supporters began emailing Minister Robinson with the same message. Workers will also be active on social media using the hashtag #essentialBCLDB.
 
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, including about 4,600 members at the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch.

For more information contact BCGEU Communications, [email protected]

Additional quotes: 
"Being deemed essential but not recognized as such is a blow to our pride – which I think all front line workers can say is vital, given the devastating impacts to our physical and mental health." – Erica Cardarelli, BCLDB employee and BCGEU steward
 
"Our employer and the government are one in the same. We're just being passed back and forth between our direct employer and government, and neither is taking responsibility nor accountability for the relationship with us workers. We've had enough of being messed around and gaslit." – Erica Cardarelli, BCLDB employee and BCGEU steward
 
"Not only are we government employees, we are tax-paying, voting stakeholders of the government. And we have a say in how the public-supporting revenue that we generate gets used." – Erica Cardarelli, BCLDB employee and BCGEU steward
 
"Neither our meeting with Robinson's ministerial assistant or yesterday's Throne Speech offered us any reassurance that our call is being heard." – Kusam Doal, BCGEU vice president Kusam Doal and BCLDB employee
 
Background:
 
On March 26, 2020, the provincial government declared BCLDB workers in retail stores and warehouses to be essential.
 
Despite their status as essential workers, these workers were not included in the provincial government's Temporary Pandemic Pay program (TPP), which was announced in May.
 
On May 29, after the TPP was announced, the BCGEU launched a petition and letter-writing campaign calling on the public to tell their MLAs to provide pandemic pay to all frontline workers. The campaign produced 2,100 letters.
 
BCLDB members also wrote to then Finance Minister, Carole James, asking to include them. James did not include BCLDB workers in the TPP but publicly encouraged "all businesses who've seen an increase in revenue to ensure that their workers are being properly compensated at this difficult time."
 
In September, workers then asked their employer, BCLDB General Manager and CEO Blain Lawson, to allocate just 20 per cent of excess revenue generated during Q4 of 2019/2020 to pandemic pay for all BCLDB employees. Lawson ultimately declined, claiming he was an advocate of employees but ultimately didn't have the power to authorize use of BCLDB revenue.
 
In December, as the second wave of the pandemic intensified and British Columbians headed into the holiday season, workers at BCLDB stores and warehouses ramped up their campaign to be recognized and compensated as essential workers by wearing Essential Pay for Essential Work buttons on the job. Over 3,500 buttons have been distributed and worn. Workers also requested meetings with Lawson and Robinson, neither of which were fulfilled. Workers then initiated an action survey and launched bcldb.bcgeu.ca.
 
On March 16, 2021, at the BCLDB's virtual employee town hall, over 600 BCLDB workers across the province asked Lawson to provide essential pay. Many workers were removed or denied access to the town hall when expressing their call for essential pay. Lawson ultimately deferred to government to authorize use of BCLDB funds for essential pay.
 
On March 30, workers and supporters began emailing the Finance Minister, calling on her to authorize Lawson and the BCLDB to provide financial compensation to workers in recognition of their essential work during the pandemic. Over 1,700 emails have been sent.
 
On April 9, BCGEU Component 5 Vice President and BCLDB employee Kusam Doal met with the Finance Minister's ministerial assistant to discuss the request for essential pay, however no concrete assurance was offered. On April 12, the Throne Speech made no indication that BCLDB workers would receive essential pay from the B.C. Budget.

 



UWU/MoveUP