NEWS

July 10, 2017

BCGEU President Extends Support to Communities Affected by Wildfires and Than...

On behalf of 73,000 BCGEU members, I would like to extend our support and solidarity to the communities affected by wildfires burning through much of British Columbia this week.

With over 200 wildfires starting over the weekend, hundreds of B.C. families spent their weekend wondering whether their homes would be standing by Monday.

As one of B.C.'s largest unions, we know that hundreds of our members are being directly or indirectly affected by these fires, including the B.C. Wildfire Service crews that are responding to these fires.

We would like all of our members and their families to know that your union is there for you. Over the coming days we will look at the best ways to support you and your communities.

I would also like to recognize and to thank B.C. Wildfire Service crews and all other emergency response units who are keeping our communities safe.

As thousands of people are evacuated from communities affected by the fires, wildfire crews, police officers, paramedics, and other emergency response units are walking straight into evacuation zones to prevent loss of life and property.

Their work puts them into direct harm and exposes them to long term health problems, but that does not stop them from coming to work day after day.

Throughout these hard times and beyond, we will be fighting to ensure the wildfire crews defending our homes receive the best representation a union can give.

As we learn more about the wildfire situation across B.C., we will be there for British Columbians and provide any support we are able to give.

If you would like to contribute to the efforts to support these communities, you can make a donation to the Red Cross by clicking here or by making a donation at the register at any B.C. Liquor Store.

Stephanie Smith,

BCGEU President

 

 

 

Local 467/MoveUP

 

July 10, 2017

Closure of REACH Daycare a significant loss for the community - BCGEU

REACH Daycare and Young Parent Centre in Langford will close at the end of September representing a tremendous loss of community for families who rely on the centre. Due in part to lack of provincial funding, this closure will leave some young parents without the support they need to complete their education, creating a gap in valuable social services.

REACH Daycare provides early learning and care for children aged 0-5 years-old while also offering education, programming and support for young moms to complete their education, learn about parenting, and develop their skills. The centre also promotes a safe, consistent and stable environment for children.

We would like to recognize the hard work and dedication of the many staff who made the REACH program such a valuable resource. The daycare, a program run by Pacific Centre Family Services since 2011 and located at Belmont High School, will close September 30, 2017.

 

 

 

Local 467/MoveUP

July 10, 2017

Williams Lake Area Office Temporary Closure - BCGEU

There is a temporary closure of the Williams Lake Area Office (Area 06) due to the fire conditions in the area. All calls to the office have been re-routed to the Prince George Area Office. We will update you once we have more information.

July 05, 2017

Prince George Pride Parade - July 8, 2017 - BCGEU

Pride Season is here again in Prince George!

 

We want to encourage everyone to join in the fun! This year is expected to be the biggest yet!

Date: July 8, 2017

Start: 11:00 am

Where: Parade begins at the Veterans Plaza at 100 Patricia Blvd

If you would like to join the BCGEU in the parade we will be meeting at 9:30 am behind City Hall, look for the BCGEU flags.

If you need more information, please contact Keith Cameron at keith.cameron@bcgeu.ca

 

For directions click here

 


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July 05, 2017

Victoria Pride Parade - July 9, 2017 - BCGEU

Pride Season is here again in Victoria!

 

We want to encourage everyone to join in the fun! This year is expected to be the biggest yet!

Date: July 9, 2017

Start: 11:00 am

Where: Parade begins at Pandora and Government

If you would like to join the BCGEU in the parade we will be meeting between 8:30 am and 10:00 am at the corner of Pandora and Government, look for the BCGEU flag.

If you need more information, please contact Keith Cameron at keith.cameron@bcgeu.ca

 

For directions click here


 

July 05, 2017

More violence at Forensic Psychiatric Hospital as BCGEU calls on PHSA board o...

Another staff member at Forensic Psychiatric Hospital (FPH) in Coquitlam, operated by the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA), has been assaulted after being asked to escort a patient exhibiting aggressive behaviour to a seclusion room. Staff members are not provided with protective gear at FPH.

 "The ongoing violence at FPH is due to an imbalance created by bringing dangerous individuals, remanded to the facility by the courts, into a hospital setting where staff are not equipped with protective gear," says BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. "For too long, the therapeutic interests of patients have been pursued at the expense of staff safety and we have called on the PHSA to bring this into balance."

 Last Thursday, President Smith delivered a presentation at the PHSA Open Board of Directors Meeting to ensure the board is well-informed of the dangerous conditions at the facility, and to call on the PHSA to take both long-term and immediate actions to improve onsite safety.

 "While we are troubled to hear about another assault, we were encouraged by the response at Thursday's meeting as the board chair assured us we all share the same goal – to keep workers safe in their workplace," says Smith. "We await PHSA's response and hope they take the opportunity to work with the union to turn things around at this facility, and quickly."

 FPH has been issued 54 Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) safety orders and 102 WCB inspection reports have been filed in the last five years, mostly resulting from the employer's failure to protect workers from violence. A $171,000 fine was issued by the WCB in the fall of 2016 for extremely dangerous conditions at the facility, yet the violence continues.

 Over 270 BCGEU members work at Forensic Psychiatric Hospital, including 130 health care workers, 15 forensic security officers, 25 dietary staff, 7 social workers and 27 administrative staff.

 Click here to see the letter sent to the PHSA President and CEO following our presentation at the Open Board of Directors Meeting Thursday June 29th

 For more information contact: Bronwen Barnett, BCGEU Communications | e: bronwen.barnett@bcgeu.ca | c: 604-719-4713


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July 02, 2017

BCGEU Celebrates Canada Day 150 Plus - BCGEU

On Saturday July 1, 2017 Canada celebrated its 150th birthday. While many took part in celebrations across the country, others chose this important date to make us aware of some of the more disturbing aspects of our history. 

The Indigenous peoples of this land governed themselves for thousands of years before colonization by Europeans just 300 years ago.      

What happened 150 years ago? 

In 1867 the British Parliament passed the British North America Act, creating the Dominion of Canada.  Included in Canada's new constitution was the Indian Act 1867 which lead to the creation of racist policies and programs, including residential schools.

Much of this history is outlined in the report released by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future (2016) and the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1996), the latter having been mostly forgotten over the past two decades since its release.

For Indigenous peoples, this 150th birthday represents 150 years of failed legislation and policy in Canada that tried to "civilize" and assimilate Indians.  One of the main objectives was to "take the Indian out of the child" by forcibly removing them from their homes, and relocating them to residential schools. The horrors of residential schools were replaced by foster care, and adoption of Indigenous children, often by Americans and Europeans. The federal government catastrophically failed to meet their responsibility to these children, causing intergenerational trauma to our First Nations. 

What can we do to help change the future?

The BCGEU has been working towards change.  As recently as our last constitutional convention in June, the union recommitted to strengthening relationships with our Indigenous members and all Indigenous peoples in their fight for self-determination and self-governance, and to advocate for government to honour the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples.

Resolutions from our convention, coupled with the vision of our Indigenous members who helped create BCGEU's Aboriginal Roundtable report (2014), as well as Indigenous representatives from the newly elected equity and human rights committee, are the first steps in our journey toward reconciliation.  

Let's celebrate that we are fortunate to live in the country we call home, but let us also honour the true history of Canada and its Indigenous peoples.  We must all make steps, even in small ways, towards reconciling with the Indigenous peoples to create a nation we can all be proud of celebrating.

June 29, 2017

BCGEU congratulates the NDP as they prepare to form government - BCGEU

The BCGEU congratulates John Horgan and the BC NDP as we move into a new era of leadership in our province.

“We look forward to working with the new government,” says BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. “We are optimistic that the alliance between the BC NDP and BC Greens will move us towards a British Columbia that lifts up all people, provides a transparent and accountable government, and protects our environment for future generations.”

For years BCGEU members have been calling on the government to take decisive action on climate change, to implement a poverty reduction strategy, to strengthen the rights of workers and their safety on the job. Members have written, phoned, and talked to their elected representatives about improving home care for seniors, about investing in early childhood education and childcare, calling for a $15 per hour minimum wage, and investment in quality public transit. It is through their hard work and efforts that many of these issues became central to the political discourse during the election, and will now be reflected in government.

Our union looks forward to the opportunity of meeting with MLAs of all parties once the new government is in place to discuss the timely implementation of these policies.

The BCGEU represents 73,000 members in the public and private sectors, and in almost every economic sector in the province with approximately one-third of its membership from the public service.

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June 28, 2017

Stephanie Smith: Post-Convention Address - BCGEU

Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President, reflects on your union's recent convention, and talks about the work we're going to do together to make our union stronger.