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NEWS

June 24, 2022

STAFF REPRESENTATIVE (Temporary) - BC General Employees' Union (BCGEU)

STAFF REPRESENTATIVE (Temporary)
FRASER VALLEY AREA OFFICE 

INTERNAL POSTING
June 23, 2022

 

The B.C. General Employees' Union requires a temporary staff representative to work in the Fraser Valley Area Office, effective date to be determined.  The term of the assignment is up to 4 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 is committed to the health and safety of BCGEU staff and members visiting our offices.  All employees with the BCGEU are required to provide proof of vaccination from COVID-19, as a condition of employment. 

The BCGEU supports employment equity. Indigenous workers, workers of colour, women, 2SLGBTQI+ workers, and workers with disabilities are encouraged to apply for positions with the BCGEU.

Submit applications no later than 5:00 pm, Monday July 4, 2022

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

Stephanie Smith, President, c/o Lisa Trolland



UWU/MoveUP

June 22, 2022

Nearly 95 per cent of BCGEU’s public service members vote in favour of strike...

Nearly 95 per cent of BCGEU's public service members vote in favour of strike in their fight for a fair contract

Employer bends before votes are counted and asks union to return to bargaining

BURNABY, B.C. – Hundreds of BC General Employees' Union (BCGEU) activists have pressured their employer to return to negotiations by organizing the union's biggest ever strike vote for 33,000 members in the public service. Today ballots were counted, and an overwhelming 94.6 per cent of voters said they are prepared to strike for a fair collective agreement.

"I couldn't be happier with this strong result," says Stephanie Smith, president of the BCGEU and chair of the union's bargaining committee. "But it was the lead-up - the five weeks of intensive organizing, pop-up voting sites and mail-in ballot-collecting - that really forced the public service agency to change its tune."

Between May 16 and June 22, BCGEU members employed with the PSA – with the support of BCGEU staff – embarked on an ambitious member outreach drive to ensure everyone in the bargaining unit could cast their ballot. As the vote wrapped up their employer suddenly invited BCGEU back to bargaining. Negotiations will resume on Monday, June 27, in Vancouver.

"This vote was a massive undertaking, and just by participating in it, our members clearly made waves," says Smith. "The voting results drove their point home and sent a strong message to the employer that their staff stand behind their demands, including cost of living protection for wages. We'll see how well the employer was listening when we return to bargaining next week."

As inflation continues to skyrocket – reaching 8.1 per cent in B.C. today – it erodes workers' spending power. Cost of living protections for wages has become a key issue for all workers, including the public service. Members of their bargaining unit are employees of direct government, including wildfire fighters, social workers, sheriffs and correctional officers, administrative staff, employees in BC Liquor and Cannabis stores and warehouses, as well as conservation officers, employees who do field and lab work in the realm of environmental monitoring, and more.

From the moment bargaining for their collective agreement began, members said that COLA was a must for the province to continue recruiting and retaining the qualified staff needed to keep our province running.

"Our province was in an affordability crisis before the pandemic and before inflation started to skyrocket last year," says Smith. "Any wage offer that doesn't include COLA protection is a wage cut, and no worker should have to accept a pay cut."

The public service strike vote sends a message of solidarity to hundreds of thousands of other public sector workers who are, or soon will be, in bargaining including staff at addiction treatment centres, group homes, community health, seniors' care, homes for persons with developmental disabilities, and more.

"A win for the BCGEU's public service members is a win for every public sector worker in B.C.," Smith says, "This vote will empower all of them to fight for COLA language."

Smith adds that she is hopeful the PSA's decision to resume negotiations means they're prepared to table a serious offer. "Our goal has always been to get a deal at the bargaining table. But if the employer is not fair and reasonable, members are prepared to action their strike vote in the future."

The BCGEU is the first of many public sector unions to bargain with the government in 2022. In total, almost 400,000 public sector workers have agreements that will, or already have, expire this year.

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For more information contact BCGEU Communications: [email protected], 604-291-9611



UWU/MoveUP

June 16, 2022

United Way Period Promise Campaign - BC General Employees' Union (BCGEU)

To: All Area 01 BCGEU Members

WHAT: Period Promise: Fill the bus

WHEN: June 25, 2022, between 10 am and 3 pm, at Tillicum Mall

Please help us help the United Way with their Period Promise: Fill the Bus Campaign! The United Way Southern Vancouver Island's Period Promise campaign is a cornerstone of the good works we do with our partners in the labour movement. We are hoping BCGEU leaders and members will want to join our efforts to fill a BC Transit bus with unopened boxes of tampons, pads and other menstrual hygiene products for distribution to community agencies across our region.

The United Way campaign was launched on May 28, International Menstrual Hygiene Day and will run until June 25, 2022.  Period poverty is much more common in our community than you would think. Half of all people who menstruate say that they have struggled to purchase products for themselves at some time in their life, and more than a quarter have gone through a period without having any products to support them.

Donations can be brought to the United Way Southern Vancouver Island office at 201-633 Courtney St, OR you can bring them down to our Fill the Bus event on Saturday, June 25. Products collected will be distributed to United Way-funded agencies.

 



UWU/MoveUP

June 14, 2022

All Area 01 BCGEU Members 2022 Pride Day Parade and Festival - BC General Emp...

The BCGEU is committed to advancing equity and human rights for everyone. Please come out and support the 2022 Pride Day Parade and Festival!

Look for the Victoria Labour Council and BCGEU Banner!

Join the Pride Festival at MacDonald Park in James Bay after the parade (starting at 11 a.m.) for an afternoon of festivities with live bands, children's entertainment, community groups,  drag performances, food fair and beer garden!

This year, the parade will take a new route that marches over the Johnson Street Bridge, south on Wharf Street, before turning onto Government, Belleville and Menzies Streets. With safety in mind, the parade will not proceed to MacDonald Park. Instead, parade floats will unload in the Robbins parking lot (The Q Lot) at Menzies off of Kingston and exit onto Superior Streets. Marchers can carry on down a designated route that will take them to the fully fenced MacDonald Park entrance. The entrance is located on Niagara Street and Oswego Street.

 

In solidarity,

Your Area 01 Cross Component Committee


Download PDF of notice here


June 13, 2022

Investors join union in plea for equity firm to set clear emissions-reduction...

Investors join union in plea for equity firm to set clear emissions-reduction targets

BCGEU celebrates strong first shareholder vote at Brookfield Asset Management AGM after launching ambitious climate action campaign

BURNABY – At the annual meeting of shareholders, over 17% of Brookfield (TSX:BAM.A) Class A shareholders voted in favour of a shareholder proposal asking Brookfield to have its largest subsidiaries set clear emissions reductions goals in line with the Paris Agreement by 2025. The vote result comes after Brookfield refused to meet with proponent of the proposal, the B.C. General Employees' Union (BCGEU). Brookfield also denied the union the opportunity to personally introduce and present the proposal at the June 10 meeting, as is customary for the presentation of such proposals at shareholder meetings.

"We hoped to engage with Brookfield about meaningful climate solutions, but instead the company chose to undermine shareholder rights and refused to meet with us. Brookfield investors are clearly concerned about climate risk and want to see firm climate action goals. We hope this vote pushes the company to take action. We will be closely monitoring the situation and may consider refiling this proposal."

Brookfield Asset Management has committed to achieving a net-zero portfolio by 2050, yet it does not require the company where it holds a 64 per cent stake, Brookfield Business Partners (BBU), to officially report reduction targets that would help meet this goal. This is a concerning oversight.

Currently, neither Brookfield affiliate BBU nor Brookfield Infrastructure Partners (BIP) disclose any emissions reduction targets, even though Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) found that Brookfield assumes a high climate risk exposure because of its heavy investment in fossil-fuels. Proxy advisory firm Glass Lewis recommended that Brookfield shareholders vote in favour of BCGEU's proposal, calling the proposal "reasonably crafted" and "in line with the Company's stated commitments".

The BCGEU believes emissions reduction targets from BBU and BIP will become more pressing following Brookfield's recent disclosure of its intention to split its asset management business from its proprietary assets business. Once this split is complete, Brookfield's financial results will become increasingly dependent on the contributions of BBU and BIP.

BCGEU democratically decided to divest from fossil-fuels in 2015, and the union launched its responsible investment program to leverage investor power to not only to protect and grow members' assets but also to push portfolio companies to take progressive action on issues that matter to working people including on climate and enhanced corporate governance.

"In a world where working people often feel powerless against mounting ecological disaster, BCGEU members are showing their neighbours that we do have a say in our future. We can course correct, and we can pressure big players to do the right thing and put money where it will thrive – in sustainable investments, not volatile markets that hurt investors, workers, and the planet," said Smith.

BCGEU's shareholder program has pushed RBC to stop doing business with the United States private prison industry, Saputo to reduce its food waste by 50 per cent by 2035, and Thomson Reuters to adopt the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

View the BCGEU's investor letter here.

The company's response to the proposal can be found in its management circular on page 79.

 

**

About BCGEU: BCGEU is one of the largest unions in British Columbia, with over 85,000 members in almost every community and economic sector in the province. Under BCGEU's capital stewardship strategy, the union has submitted shareholder proposals at some of Canada's largest companies on topics like human rights, racial equity, and executive compensation. The union's strategy has succeeded in achieving strong commitments on ESG issues.

 

 



June 09, 2022

Strike Vote: FINAL WEEK! - BC General Employees' Union (BCGEU)

Thanks to the incredible work of stewards and worksite contacts, thousands of BCGEU members have already cast ballots in the public service strike vote. The deadline to vote is next week. If you haven't voted yet, can we count on you to vote as soon as possible?
Why vote "YES"?
A strong strike mandate sends a clear message that members are united behind our bargaining committee's demand for cost of living protections (COLA).
 
Remember, all strike vote ballots must be received at BCGEU headquarters or a BCGEU area office no later than 5:00 pm on Friday, June 17. 
 
If you've requested a mail ballot or been notified that a mail ballot is coming to you, it should arrive soon. Please complete and return your ballot as soon as possible to ensure it reaches us before the June 17th deadline.
 
You don't need to wait for a mail in ballot, if you are in your worksite – ask your steward and vote there – or go to an area office. Ensure you vote and that your voice is heard!

 
Contact [email protected] or call our toll-free number: 1-888-984-1632 if you have any questions.
 
In solidarity,


 
Your BCGEU Public Service Bargaining Committee
 
Stephanie Smith, President
Paul Finch, Treasurer
Judy Phipps, Executive Vice President
Dean Purdy, Vice President - Component 1
Kusam Doal, Vice President - Component 5
Judy Fox-McGuire, Vice President - Component 6
Kayla Woodruff, Member at Large - Component 6
Maria Middlemiss, Vice President - Component 12
Matt Damario - Component 12
Robert Davis, Vice President - Component 20
Michael Eso, Secretary and Lead Negotiator
Lisa Lane, Support Staff



UWU/MoveUP

June 08, 2022

1 in 5 Investors Demand Dollarama do More to Protect Global Supply Chain Work...

 

1 in 5 Investors Demand Dollarama do More to Protect Global Supply Chain Workers, including at Quebec-Based Warehouse and Distribution Centres

Canada's largest dollar store faced a shareholder vote from the B.C. General Employees' Union (BCGEU), earning backing from major investors

BURNABY – Today, shareholders at Dollarama voted 18% in favour of a shareholder proposal asking the company to do more to protect workers in the company's global supply chain, which includes over 1,000 workers in Quebec-based warehouse and distribution centres. The B.C. General Employees' Union (BCGEU), a long-term Dollarama investor, filed the proposal.

"It's simple: by failing to include freedom of association in its Vendor Code of Conduct, Dollarama is failing workers and shareholders alike. Today, investors sent a strong message that they want Dollarama to do more to protect workers, and they're not buying Dollarama's claims that that it does not need to address freedom of association and collective bargaining in its code of conduct," said BCGEU president Stephanie Smith.

In response to the proposal, Dollarama said that since the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms (Québec) protect certain personal freedoms, Dollarama did not need to address these rights in its Vendor Code of Conduct. The Canadian Charter does not apply to private persons – it applies to government action/legislation only.

Belying their claim that Charter protections are sufficient, Dollarama's Vendor Code of Conduct already includes provisions covered by the Québec Charter, including those against forced labour, underage labour and discrimination. Dollarama's own peers including Metro Inc. have chosen to include freedom of association and collective bargaining in their vendor/supplier codes, making Dollarama's decision to exclude such matters even more questionable.

In its 2021 ESG Report, Dollarama outlines the importance of vendor audits which are guided by the Vendor Code of Conduct. By deciding not to include the terms proposed by the BCGEU, Dollarama has ensured that it will never audit suppliers regarding their actions relating to freedom of association or collective bargaining.

Dollarama uses an "arms-length" operating style in Quebec, outsourcing the entirety of warehouse and distribution centre work to six staffing agencies that compete for contracts. In 2021, allegations of dangerous and unhealthy working conditions at Dollarama's Quebec warehouse led to the BCGEU filing a shareholder proposal asking the company to investigate and report on potential human rights abuses that third-party staffing agencies enable. That year, 20% of shareholders supported the proposal.

Going against standard practice in Canada, Dollarama has refused to discuss the proposal with the BCGEU. "As a long-term shareholder, we are disappointed at Dollarama's refusal to discuss this important issue. We hope that today's vote will push the company to do more to protect all workers in their supply chain," said Smith.

The BCGEU launched a responsible investment program in 2018 to leverage its power as an investor to not only to protect and grow its members' assets but also to push portfolio companies to take progressive action on issues that matter to working people including on climate, enhanced corporate governance, human rights, and labour protections.

View the BCGEU's investor letter here.

The company's response to the proposal can be found in its management circular on page B-1.

***

About BCGEU: BCGEU is one of the largest unions in British Columbia, with over 85,000 members in almost every community and economic sector in the province. Under BCGEU's capital stewardship strategy, the union has submitted shareholder proposals at some of Canada's largest companies on topics like human rights, racial equity, and executive compensation. The union's strategy has succeeded in achieving strong commitments on ESG issues.

 

 

 

June 07, 2022

2022 National Union scholarships - BC General Employees' Union (BCGEU)

Did you know the BCGEU is a component of the National Union of Public and General Employees? The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is a family of 11 component and three affiliate unions. The BCGEU is a component of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE). Just like the BCGEU, our national union offers its own scholarships program. There are nine scholarships of $2,500 available to the children (including foster children) and grandchildren of BCGEU members or retirees.

The online application portal is now receiving applications for our National Union. 2022 Scholarships and can be found here: https://scholarships.nupge.ca. In addition, the web page contains the unique entry requirements for each scholarship. Please note the deadline for applications is July 1, 2022 at 5 p.m. EDT at which time the portal will close.

Entrants may apply to any or all scholarships that they are eligible for but only one award may be received. Due to the eligibility rules for the Young Worker Scholarships, applicants may apply in subsequent years, providing they have not previously won this scholarship, they are still in school, and are under the age of 31. All scholarships come with an award of $2,500 and there are a total of nine annual scholarships as follows:

  • Brian Fudge Memorial Scholarship
  • Scholarship for Black Students
  • Scholarship for Indigenous Students
  • Scholarship for LGBTQI2S Students
  • Scholarship for Students of Colour
  • Terry Fox Memorial Scholarship
  • Tommy Douglas Scholarship
  • Young Worker Scholarships (2 to be awarded)

Entrants must be:

  • the children or grandchildren, or the foster children or the foster grandchildren, of members or retirees of the National Union's component unions or its affiliates; and
  • planning to enter the 1st year of a Canadian public, post-secondary educational institution on a full-time basis in 2022.

All scholarships awarded will be based on the best 750- to 1,000-word essay. Essays will be marked based on content, relevance to the question and presentation.

For further information please phone 613-228-9800, or email [email protected].

Click here for information about the BCGEU scholarship program.



UWU/MoveUP

May 31, 2022

BC Union Gets Powerful Endorsement from Advisory Firm on Its Net-Zero Demands...

 

BC Union Gets Powerful Endorsement from Advisory Firm on Its Net-Zero Demands

BCGEU Shareholder Proposal to $690B giant deemed "reasonably crafted," "warranted," and "flexible."

BURNABY – Ahead of the June 10 annual meeting of shareholders, influential proxy advisor Glass Lewis has endorsed the B.C. General Employees' Union's (BCGEU) shareholder proposal at Brookfield Asset Management (TSX:BAM.A), which would compel two of the company's largest affiliates to set clear, Paris-aligned emissions reductions targets by 2025.

"It's not enough for Brookfield's subsidiaries to show symbolic support for the firm's climate action goals – they need to provide hard numbers, so that shareholders and concerned citizens, like our union, can hold them accountable," the leader of the union representing over 85,000 working British Columbians says. "Our proposal is a huge opportunity for Brookfield to rebuild shareholder trust after its 2021 blunder."

Last year, critics slammed Brookfield for falsely boasting a 100 per cent, net-zero investment portfolio and accused the company of greenwashing. Smith says the climate crisis is at a tipping point: "there's no room for misleading statistics from powerful investment machines that can help steer us out of the fire – we need real action, not rhetoric."

Through affiliates Brookfield Business Partners (BBU) and Brookfield Infrastructure Partners (BIP), the private equity firm can put a real dent in global carbon emissions – especially at BBU, where Brookfield claims a 64% ownership stake. Right now, neither affiliate discloses their reduction targets, even though Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) found that Brookfield assumes a high climate risk exposure because of its heavy investment in fossil-fuels.

BCGEU believes emissions reduction targets from BBU and BIP will become more pressing following Brookfield's May 12 announcement to split its asset management business from its proprietary assets business as the contributions of BBU and BIP to Brookfield's financial results will increase.

The BCGEU is a long-term minority shareholder in Brookfield Asset Management. The union has been directly wielding its collective shareholder power to make companies more just, fair and environmentally sustainable since 2018. Some of its wins include a human rights commitment from RBC to stop doing business with the United States private prison industry, a commitment from Saputo to reduce its food waste by 50 per cent by 2035, and a move by Thomson Reuters to adopt the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

"In a world where working people often feel powerless against mounting ecological disaster, BCGEU members are showing their neighbours that we do have a say in our future. We can course correct, and we can pressure big players to do the right thing and put money where it will thrive – in sustainable investments, not volatile markets that hurt investors, workers, and the planet," said Smith.

Brookfield Asset Management's annual general meeting takes place on June 10, 2022. The virtual meeting will be available at this link.

View the BCGEU's investor letter here

The company's response to the proposal can be found in its management circular on page 79.