VICTORIA-The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union is praising Budget 2019 as a prudent plan to clean up the messes left by the previous government, invest in critical public services, and prove that British Columbians don't need to choose between economic strength, environmental sustainability and the health, safety, and prosperity of their families and communities. But the union that represents tens of thousands of provincial government and public service workers says the devil will be in the details as far as how the government's plans impact their members.
"There is a lot for our members and all British Columbians to be happy about in this budget," said BCGEU president, Stephanie Smith. "It essentially charts a series of small but significant steps along the same path the government laid out in their first budget update in 2017 and reaffirmed in last year's budget."
BCGEU members work in every community across the province and every sector of the economy. More than two-thirds BCGEU members work in direct government-from providing administrative and technical support in ministry offices, to frontline social workers, corrections officers, and wildfire fighters-and the broader public service-including child care, health care, community social services, post-secondary education, and highways maintenance.
"Our members have been pushing for years for more investment in public services, it's great to see that the government has taken that message to heart," continued Smith. "And the affordability measures announced today will really add up-measures like the BC Child Opportunity Benefit and the elimination of MSP premiums will be life-changing for working families."
"The big question moving forward is how this budget will impact BCGEU members on the frontlines of service delivery. Every new program and initiative announced today means a change to the working lives of our members," said Smith. "On their behalf I will be working with government to ensure that this budget is implemented in a way that respects not just the British Columbians who rely on these services but the workers who deliver them. Those are the details that we will need to work out over the coming days and weeks."
The BCGEU represents roughly 78,000 members across British Columbia. Stephanie Smith was first elected president of the BCGEU in 2014 and was re-elected in 2017.