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Convention 2021 wrap-up – a new executive and a new name. - BCGEU

Our union’s 2021 Constitution Convention has come to a close. Over the course of convention, members passed resolutions determining the direction of our union over the next three years and elected our union’s executive officers for the same period. Be on the lookout for a more thorough wrap up of convention in the next issue of The Provincial magazine.

Congratulations to our new BCGEU executive:
Stephanie Smith
Paul Finch
Executive Vice Presidents
Kari Michaels
Judy Phipps
James Coccola
Doug Kinna

Election details:
There was one declared candidate for president, and Stephanie Smith was acclaimed to the office.
There was one declared candidate for treasurer, and Paul Finch was acclaimed to the office.
Executive Vice Presidents – Women
There were three declared candidates for women executive vice presidents, and two additional candidates ran from the convention floor, for a total of five candidates. Kari Michaels was elected on the first ballot, and Judy Phipps was elected on the fourth ballot, which was conducted twice.
Following the first running of the fourth ballot, a point of order was raised regarding complaints from delegates who were unable to vote. The chair decided that – in order to protect the rights of all delegates and the integrity of the election – the election would be rerun. Judy Phipps was elected on the second running of the fourth ballot.
Executive Vice Presidents – Men
There were five declared candidates for men executive vice presidents, and one additional candidate ran from the convention floor, for a total of six candidates. James Coccola and Doug Kinna were elected on the first ballot.


A new name – the B.C. General Employees’ Union

On Friday, delegates at BCGEU’s Constitutional Convention voted to change our union’s name to the B.C. General Employees’ Union.

The following resolution was submitted by the provincial executive and passed by an overwhelming majority vote without debate:

The BCGEU will: amend the BCGEU constitution Article 1, as follows: (a) This organization is known as the B.C. General Employees’ Union (BCGEU), and is referred to as the union.;

BECAUSE the BCGEU has grown in strength and diversity, including members from the private sector, broader public sector, and Indigenous services; and

BECAUSE we strive for an inclusive name that represents the unity of members in the union, while respecting the diverse needs and interests of our members.

In addition to the clauses of the resolution, this change addresses an issue that has been raised by BCGEU members as well as our partners in Indigenous communities and elsewhere in the labour and social justice movement: The term "government" has negative connotations for some Indigenous people and communities and our work towards true reconciliation should focus on taking concrete action to decolonize our union. This name change does that.


It will take some time to update our union’s materials to reflect our new name, and we appreciate your patience as our staff works through this process.


CLC Winter School 2022 - BCGEU

Winter School 2022 will be taking place in-person! We are so excited that our communities will be able to come together, to learn and discuss with peers and colleagues at the upcoming Winter School. As we continue to work with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) on updating you with further details, please complete your registration application form to express your interest in attending. Please note, this form does not mean you are registered to attend Winter School. Upon receipt of your registration/application, you will receive an e-mail from [email protected] asking for your class choices and asking for further supporting details that will be forwarded to your Component Education Committee for consideration. Once your Component has made their decision on who is approved to attend, you will be contacted by our Department to finalize your attendance.


Please complete by November 5, 2021:


Public Service Main and Component Bargaining Proposals for the 19th Public Se...

Preparations for the 19th Public Service negotiations are already commencing. Therefore, we are calling for locals to meet and prepare draft proposals and resolutions for submission to their respective components. They are to be forwarded to the Component Executives in order for proposals and resolutions to be vetted and allocated to either the Public Service Main or Component tables. The deadline for locals to have proposals submitted to their respective Component is Friday - October 1, 2021. 

Components will consider these proposals and submit them to the Public Service Bargaining Committee by 5:00 pm on Monday - November 1, 2021.
All Public Service Main proposals will be sent electronically to the attention of Lisa Lane at the Victoria Area Office. This will require locals and components to meet earlier and endorse proposals in time for referral. 

Please ensure that you schedule a local meeting with bargaining proposals on the agenda in advance of October 1, 2021. 
Attached is the form to use to articulate the proposal and the rationale for it. These forms are retained by the Public Service Bargaining Committee and referred to during negotiations to assess need, determine priority and obtain additional feedback where necessary. Proposals do not need to be in contract language format. The committee can draft the language as long as the intent is clear. It is very important, however, to include examples, which justify the need for language changes as these are used by the Committee at the negotiations table to show why the changes are needed.

Thank you for your assistance in this regard.

In solidarity

Stephanie Smith

Download Memorandum here

Download Form for Submitting Component or Main Bargaining Proposals here 


October 20, 2021

LifeLabs workers issue 72-hour strike notice - BCGEU

October 20, 2021
LifeLabs workers issue 72-hour strike notice
BURNABY, B.C. (Coast Salish Territories) – Members of the B.C. General Employees' Union (BCGEU) have issued 72-hour strike notice to LifeLabs as of 7:00 p.m., October 19, 2021. This action follows several months of negotiations, 30 days at the bargaining table and eight days of mediation. The main outstanding issue is fair and reasonable wage increases.

“BCGEU members working for LifeLabs are among the “healthcare heroes” that have pushed themselves to the limit and beyond throughout the pandemic,” said BCGEU president, Stephanie Smith. “Instead of coming to the table willing to recognize the hard work and sacrifices of their employees by addressing long-standing issues with low wages and under-staffing, LifeLabs came to the table demanding concessions.”

LifeLabs’ initial proposals tabled at the beginning of bargaining in April 2021 sought to take away sick benefits and vacation days. While those concessions are no longer on the table, LifeLabs continues to resist BCGEU members’ attempts to secure wages that would keep up with rising inflation and bring them closer to the public sector industry standard for their field.

“The bottom line is LifeLabs is another privately-owned company trying to protect their profit margins at the expense of their workers, despite the fact that the pandemic has proven time and again that this approach literally puts lives at risk,” says BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. “Poor wages and working conditions have created a staffing crisis at LifeLabs, forcing them to shut down facilities on Vancouver Island. Members are fighting for a fair deal that will stabilize staffing and ensure better service for patients.”

The earliest that job action could commence is October 22, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. Essential service agreements will ensure that some locations remain open during job action. LifeLabs patients will be able to check which locations are on strike at

“BCGEU members at LifeLabs had hoped to avoid a strike,” said Smith. “They want a fair contract so they can get back to work taking care of patients. We are willing to use every minute of the next 72 hours to get a deal done at the bargaining table if LifeLabs is willing to get serious about giving members the deal they deserve.”

In July, LifeLabs workers voted 98 per cent in favour of strike action and have been working without a contract since April 1, 2021.

The BCGEU represents about 1,550 workers at LifeLabs throughout the province.

For more information contact: BCGEU Communications [email protected]

October 14, 2021

BC Parks OHS Reps, September 22 meeting follow-up - BCGEU

You’re receiving this email as an Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) member representative within BC Parks. Please forward this email to other BC Parks worker OHS reps that did not receive it, and let them know they can update their contact information with the BCGEU here.

A big thanks to all who joined our September 22 meeting of BC Parks OHS worker reps. We had a very good turnout, and there was some great discussion among BCGEU OHS reps from across the province. We encourage you to review the PowerPoint presentation made at the meeting, as well as a summary of the meeting.

To continue with this important work, we plan to facilitate quarterly meetings of BC Parks OHS reps going forward. As discussed, two meetings per year will be scheduled on work time, while two meetings will occur during non-work time. We will forward information about our next meeting in the coming weeks.

The goal of these meetings is to regularly facilitate information sharing, identify collaboration opportunities and ultimately make your workplaces safer. We would like to make them as useful as possible to you, so we welcome your feedback about our September meeting and your ideas for future meetings. Please forward your thoughts, concerns, ideas about meeting format, or particular issues or topics you would like to tackle, to BCGEU OHS Officer Megan Scott at [email protected].

Finally, we want to acknowledge the important work you do as a health and safety representative. Your work is critical to building safer and healthier BC Parks workplaces, and it is deeply appreciated. We look forward to connecting with you all again soon!

In solidarity,

Rob Davis, Component 20 Vice President
Maria Middlemiss, Component 12 Vice President
Megan Scott, BCGEU OHS Officer


October 13, 2021

Finance Support Staff (Regular) - BCGEU


October 13, 2021



The B.C. General Employees' Union (BCGEU) requires a full-time regular support staff to work in the Finance Department.

DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES: Will be required to perform a variety of duties within the Finance Department. Such duties may include, but are not limited to, the following: processing payroll, preparing and reconciling monthly payroll analysis, preparing payroll-related remittances, processing expense claims to ensure compliance with financial policy, coding expense claims, reviewing leave of absence computer data to ensure proper coding, processing leave of absence billings for accuracy and completeness, running and balancing monthly leave of absence reports, processing vendor invoices and matching invoices to purchase orders to ensure proper authorization, preparing non-government sector dues summary, printing reports and cheques, preparing journal entries, reconciling account balances to supporting detail or sub-ledgers, filing, preparing monthly and year-end component financial records, assisting non-accounting staff/members with a variety of issues related to the above, and other accounting and secretarial duties as required.


Applicant must have:

  • education equivalent of BCIT's Diploma of Technology in Financial Management (Advanced Accounting Option or Professional Accounting Option)
  • a good working knowledge of basic accounting procedures and/or payroll
  • at least 2 years' experience in a related position
  • keyboarding 40 - 50 wpm
  • good working knowledge of Word and Excel
  • good working knowledge of Microsoft Dynamics GP (Great Plains) or a similar accounting software program

Applicants with good experience processing payroll will be given preference.

Hours of work are 32 per week, four days.

General aptitude tests will be administered to selected applicants. 

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

To apply for this opportunity, please submit your resume to Sharon Penner, Human Resources Administrator, Headquarters by 5:00 pm, Wednesday , October 20, 2021.

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


October 12, 2021

BCGEU recommendations for Budget 2022 - BCGEU

Each year, the B.C. General Employees' Union (BCGEU) offers input into next year's provincial budget by making recommendations in a written submission to the B.C. government's Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services. These recommendations reflect the voice of our union's 80,000 members, based on direct input from the BCGEU's senior elected leadership.

Last week, our union presented its submission to the Budget 2022 Consultation, which speaks to several key goals and priorities for government regarding social and economic equality, action on climate change, resilience, ongoing economic recovery, and the incredible economic and social value of public services, programs, and investments.

To support these objectives, our submission made recommendations to government in the following areas:

  • Reforming seniors’ care: Bring the seniors care sector within the Canada Health Act (and within the public health system), and end contracts with for-profit providers. Our seniors deserve better.
  • Investing in affordable, non-market housing: Our union calls for aggressive investment in affordable and supportive housing options in Budget 2022 and beyond to ensure a just economic recovery. 
  • Accelerating the transition to universal, public child care: The COVID-19 pandemic has proven that all working families need reliable, affordable and accessible child care to fully participate in the workforce. Progress has been made, but there are several areas needing to be addressed, such as more robust recruitment and retention initiatives.
  • Prioritizing action on climate change, green infrastructure and renewable energy development: We must have a meaningful response to our global climate emergency. Our recommendations address public transit, buildings and infrastructure, environmental protection and restoration, clean energy, and more.
  • Investing in supportive social programs and services: Recommended measures include increasing mandatory paid sick leave, funding a provincial anti-racism strategy for workplaces, and providing additional resources to improve protections for vulnerable children and youth.
  • Advancing tax fairness, economic equality, and government revenue: Further steps must be taken to build a fairer and more progressive tax system for the province.


This budget submission complements our union's recent submission to Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation, to help build a long-term economic plan for B.C. 
Read the full text of our written budget submission here.

Given that we are over 19 months into a devastating global pandemic, next year's budget will be more important than ever to help guide our province through economic recovery. Although great strides have been made to help British Columbians through this very challenging time, there is much work to do. We must meaningfully address these priorities in order to ensure a high quality of life for all British Columbians, both now and in the future.


October 05, 2021

B.C. Gov announces vaccine mandate for public service workers BCGEU

The head of B.C.'s public service announced today that all B.C. public service workers will be required to provide proof of full vaccination beginning November 22, 2021. The current flexible work arrangement has also been deferred to November 22. We haven't seen the full policy as it has not yet been released, and we are waiting to understand what exemptions and accommodations will be in place. Our union will continue to update members when we have additional information.

Our union supports the right of all workers to safe and healthy workplaces. That's why, from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the BCGEU has pushed for best practice health and safety measures for communities and workplaces including mandatory masks, physical distancing, remote work arrangements, paid sick leave and vaccines for all who are able. And that's why we will continue to call for a mask mandate to be implemented uniformly in all public service workplaces.
In the meantime, if you have not yet been vaccinated and are eligible to do so, here are links to vaccine clinics in your area:

For more info about the COVID-19 vaccine: visit the BC CDC


September 29, 2021

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation - a day for education and action - ...

Tomorrow is the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and our union encourages all members to take the day to reflect and take steps toward reconciliation in our communities.
For several years, September 30 has been recognized as Orange Shirt Day -- a day to bring attention to the legacy and ongoing impacts of the residential school system on Indigenous communities. It commemorated the story of residential school survivor Phyllis Webstad who had her beloved orange shirt taken from her on the day she arrived at the St. Joseph Mission Residential School in Williams Lake, BC – click here to read more about the origin of Orange Shirt Day. Following the revelations of mass graves at former residential schools earlier this year, the federal government recognized September 30 as a federal statutory holiday, in accordance with call to action #80 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
The path of reconciliation is full of hard truths that may be uncomfortable for non-Indigenous people, but it is essential to engage in this process and take guidance from Indigenous members and community members.

How can I take action?
Events - Around the province and online, events will be taking place to recognize the impacts that Canada’s colonial history has had on Indigenous communities. Given the state of the COVID-19 pandemic, members are encouraged to join events at a level that is comfortable to them, be that online or in-person.

Education - Reconciliation is an ongoing process, and in addition to the events that are occurring tomorrow, our union has gathered a variety of resources including suggestions of some Indigenous businesses to support, Indigenous social media thought leaders to follow, and links for non-Indigenous people to better understand Canada’s painful colonial legacy and its impact on Indigenous peoples.

The BCGEU is committed to reconciliation and breaking down barriers to participation for Indigenous members in our union. The labour movement is founded on the principles of justice, dignity and respect. We must be leaders in supporting the rights of Indigenous peoples both in society and in the workplace.
In Solidarity,
Your BCGEU Provincial Executive