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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

November 19, 2020

BCGEU members win major victory for safe workplaces during COVID-19

I am writing to celebrate with you. Because of our solidarity and collective action, our union has won a major victory in our campaign to ensure safer workplaces across British Columbia.

The Provincial Health Officer has just announced that wearing masks is now mandatory in all indoor public and retail spaces. 

This is a huge victory that shows the power of workers standing together to demand safe workplaces. It's a result of you speaking up, applying pressure and insisting on your health and safety. 

I know many of you have been concerned about returning to the office and, for those working directly with the public, you've experienced heightened stress, verbal abuse and, of course, fear of contracting COVID-19 – all while working hard to serve the public in the safest way possible. With this order, we now finally have the clear, consistent and official support we need to keep ourselves, our families, and the public safe.

We have issued a media release about this win, thanking the government for listening to us and to Dr. Bonnie Henry for giving us the clarity and support we need in order to continue serving the public. 

Safe workplaces are not negotiable. We know this, and fortunately, now the Provincial Health Officer does, too.

This is a tough time, and we'll get through this together. 

In solidarity,

Stephanie Smith
President



UWU/MoveUP

November 19, 2020

BCGEU members win major victory for safe workplaces during COVID-19 - BCGEU

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 19, 2020

BCGEU members win major victory for safe workplaces during COVID-19


BURNABY, COAST SALISH TERRITORIES – After weeks of surging COVID-19 case numbers, members of the B.C. Government and Services Employees' Union (BCGEU) have won a major victory in their campaign to ensure safer workplaces across British Columbia.

"This is a huge victory that shows the power of workers standing together to demand safe workplaces," says Stephanie Smith, BCGEU president. 

Today's announcement from Dr. Bonnie Henry ordering masks to be worn in indoor public and retail spaces comes just 10 days after the BCGEU, which represents more than 80,000 members including 30,000 in the public service, called on the B.C. Public Service Agency, the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority and the Fraser Health Authority to protect workers with stronger policies on mask wearing and remote work. BCGEU Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) officers, who monitor research on workplace safety, recommended mandating masks in communal workplaces across B.C. as well as supporting remote work for non-essential workers in the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions.

"I've heard daily from BCGEU members who are concerned about returning to the office, and from members who work directly indoors with the public, such as our members in BC Liquor and Cannabis stores. They have experienced heightened stress, verbal abuse and, of course, fear of contracting COVID-19 – all while working hard to serve the public in the safest way possible. With this order, we now finally have the clear, consistent and official support to keep workers and the public safe in all inside public spaces."

"On behalf of our members, I want to thank the government for listening to workers, and Dr. Bonnie Henry for giving us the clarity and support we need in order to continue serving the public."

The BCGEU also represents workers in the health and community social service sectors, as well as other sectors deemed essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"I want to express my compassion for all essential workers who have, and will continue to, show up in their workplaces every day through this pandemic. They are critical to our province's response to COVID-19. My message to them is: Solidarity works, and our union is committed to pushing for all members health and safety. Safe workplaces are not negotiable. This is a tough time, and we'll get through this together."

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.

For more information, contact BCGEU Communications, communications@bcgeu.ca



UWU/MoveUP

November 17, 2020

Staff Representative (Temporary) Victoria Area office - BCGEU

STAFF REPRESENTATIVE (Temporary)
VICTORIA AREA OFFICE

INTERNAL POSTING
November 17, 2020

 

The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union requires a temporary staff representative to work in the Victoria Area office for up to 12 months or to return of incumbent, 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, Tuesday, November 24, 2020.

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

Stephanie Smith, President, c/o Lisa Trolland

 



UWU/MoveUP

November 17, 2020

Staff Representative Negotiations department Actuary/Research - BCGEU

STAFF REPRESENTATIVE
NEGOTIATIONS DEPARTMENT
Actuary/Research

 

INTERNAL/EXTERNAL POSTING
November 17, 2020

The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union requires a staff representative to conduct actuary /research, in the Negotiations Department. The effective date is to be determined.

DUTIES:

Collect and compile statistical data for additional analysis;

Estimate probability and likely cost of events such as an accident, illness, natural disaster, member demands and investments;

Design, test, and administer policies to minimize risk and maximize the profitability of insurance policies, pension plans, and produce charts and other exhibits to explain proposals and calculations;

Explain proposals and findings to various parties, from company executives to employers, members, shareholders and government officials.

QUALIFICATIONS:

Undergraduate university degree in Actuarial Mathematics, Statistics, Mathematics or other related field of study.

Must have strong analytical skills and be able to identify trends and patterns in a variety of complex data sets.

Must have strong computer skills, using programming languages and developing spreadsheet models, databases, and statistical models.

Must be able to explain complex ideas and technical data to different audiences, and have the ability to successfully lead teams and work well alongside others.

Must have strong problem-solving skills and be able to identify risks, and develop plans for the union to manage its risks.

Preference will be afforded to applicants with a designation to the Fellowship of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

Experience in a union or social justice organization is an asset as is an understanding of the goals and values of the labour movement.

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.

Travel is required, therefore, applicants must hold a valid B.C. Drivers Licence.

Submit applications no later than 5:00 pm, Thursday, November 26, 2020.

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

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



UWU/MoveUP

November 13, 2020

Letter from the Premier regarding the loss of John Fryer - BCGEU

November 5, 2020

Stephanie Smith
BCGEU President
4911 Canada Way
Burnaby, BC V5G 3W3
Sent via email

Dear Stephanie:

As Premier of the Province of British Columbia, my thoughts are with you and all BCGEU
members as you mourn the loss of John Fryer.

John was a tireless advocate for workers' rights, and he played a crucial role in transitioning the
BCGEU into the union it is today. His career was underpinned by his tenacity, strength of
character, and dedication to improving the lives and working conditions for the union members.

John will be missed by many, and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to know him. His
legacy will live on through the countless people he inspired throughout his career and his
important contributions to the labour movement. My sincere condolences to John's family,
friends, and the BCGEU.

Sincerely,

John Horgan
Premier

Download PDF of notice here



UWU/MoveUP

November 08, 2020

BCGEU calls on BC Public Service Agency to protect employees with stronger ma...

BURNABY, Coast Salish Territories – With new cases of COVID-19 increasing across the province and surging in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) has called on the BC Public Service Agency to take immediate action to protect employees in their workplaces.

In a conversation with Don Wright, Head of Public Service Agency (PSA), BCGEU president Stephanie Smith urged the province's largest employer to adopt new workplace safety policies including: making masks mandatory in communal workplace spaces province-wide and supporting remote work for non-essential workers in the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions.

"The PSA has an opportunity to set a positive example of COVID safety in the workplace that all employers in the province could follow," said Stephanie Smith, President of the BCGEU. "I'm pleased they are taking a safer approach to remote work but I believe they could and should show stronger leadership by implementing a mandatory mask policy in their workplaces."

In order to ensure that adequate protections are undertaken for members across various industries, BCGEU Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) officers monitor research on workplace transmission of the virus and works with member OHS committees to ensure that current best practices are followed. As the latest provincial briefings indicate that enclosed communal workspaces have been linked to COVID-19 infections in the province, BCGEU OHS officers recommended the policies laid out in the letter to Wright.

"It is now widely recognized that airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 can occur under certain conditions," stated a memo included in the letter to Deputy Minister Wright. "In light of these developments, and in keeping with the precautionary principle, the government must immediately review and strengthen measures to minimize exposure to the virus among workers in the BC Public Service."

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.

For more information, contact BCGEU Communications, communications@bcgeu.ca



UWU/MoveUP

November 08, 2020

Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley office closures - BCGEU

As COVID-19 cases rise in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, our union has been monitoring public health recommendations with regard to workplaces.

In accordance with the latest restrictions enacted for the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions on November 7 (click here to read the latest restrictions), our union has made the decision to close the following physical offices and shift to remote work:

  • The Lower Mainland Area Office (Area 03 - Vancouver)
  • The Fraser Valley Area Office (Area 04 - Fraser Valley)
  • BCGEU Headquarters (Burnaby)

All services performed by these offices will continue – as they have through periods of remote work throughout the last nine months – but the office buildings will no longer be accessible for in-person union services.

Click here for details on how to contact your local BCGEU area office

We took this decision to ensure members have access to core services and supports of their union 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.

In addition to the closure of BCGEU offices, our union has also contacted a number of employers urging them to do the same: shifting all non-essential services to remote work and requiring masks in all communal spaces when remote work is not possible.

Have you received your free BCGEU non-medical mask? If not, click here to request one be sent to you.

COVID-19 and your workplace

If you have any concerns about how COVID-19 precautions are being handled at your workplace. Please consider the following to protect the health of yourself, your family, fellow workers and any clients:

  • Review in full your employer’s COVID-19 Safety Plan, especially the section about outbreak management.
  • Ensure your questions and concerns are answered by your employer to your satisfaction.

If not, then:



UWU/MoveUP

November 02, 2020

Remembering John Fryer, “a titan in the labour movement” - BCGEU

BCGEU is saddened to hear of the sudden passing of John Fryer. Fryer served as BCGEU's general secretary from 1969-1983 and president of NUPGE (National Union of Public and General Employees) from 1980-1990.

Those who knew him characterize John Fryer as no-nonsense, gritty, brilliant and a larger than life personality. He will be best remembered for his role in securing collective bargaining rights for provincial government workers in 1972 under the first BC NDP government.

"I never had the chance to work directly with John Fryer, but he was a titan in the labour movement and a key figure in making the BCGEU what it is today-a dynamic, progressive voice for our members and all working people in BC," said Stephanie Smith, president of the BCGEU.

"John's legacy includes engineering the transition of the BC Government Employee's Association to the BCGEU-the official bargaining unit for direct government workers. Our union would literally not be what it is today without him. On behalf of the more than 80,000 members of the BCGEU my deepest condolences go to John's family and all those who knew and loved him."

Fryer was known for implementing some rather unusual strategies. For instance, perhaps his most memorable and amusing tactic is when he hired a Cessna airplane to fly over the B.C. Legislature towing a banner reading "Drop us a line, Mr. Black – BCGEU". This feat – which garnered front page national media coverage -- was to urge the cabinet minister for the public service, Wesley Black, to sit down with BCGEU to discuss bargaining rights.

The late John Shields, BCGEU's second president, said that "John Fryer transformed the B.C. Government Employees' Association from a staff society to the largest labour union in British Columbia… The footprints of John Fryer are the footprints of a pioneer."



UWU/MoveUP