NEWS

February 09, 2018

Hard Rock Casino workers vote in favour of strike - BCGEU

Unionized workers at Coquitlam's Hard Rock Casino have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action.

The more than 400 casino employees, who joined the BC Government and Service Employees' Union in 2016, have been trying to negotiate a first collective agreement since January 2017.

 

Read more....



UWU/MoveUP

February 08, 2018

Minimum Wage Announcement: Low Wage Workers Need $15 Now, Not in 2021 - BCGEU

Today's announcement by the provincial government that B.C.'s minimum wage will reach $15.20 per hour on June 1, 2021 is disappointing, both to the BCGEU and to the 20 per cent of B.C.'s workers who make less than $15 per hour. We think that the provincial government should take action to reduce poverty and inequality in our province by increasing the minimum wage to $15 immediately, as we stated in our submission to the Fair Wages Commission.

British Columbia has a strong economy, but also Canada's highest cost of living, and extreme income inequality. Alberta and Ontario, with lower costs of living, will reach the $15 minimum wage on October 1, 2018 and January 1, 2019. BC's workers will have to wait an additional twenty-nine months – until June 2021 – to break the $15 barrier. It is unfair for the provincial government to allow hundreds of thousands of British Columbians to work full-time, full-year and remain below the poverty line. British Columbians deserve better.

We remain hopeful that the next report from the Fair Wages Commission, expected next month, will end a discriminatory system that allows for specific groups of workers, including farm workers and liquor servers, to earn less than the minimum wage. These individuals are highly vulnerable, and we expect the government to extend today's schedule of wage increases to all workers. 

 

Along with this much-needed increase in the minimum wage, it is important that the provincial government puts the resources in place to make sure employers are following the schedule of wage increases, and that workers are not cheated by employers in other ways. This means that more staff and funding are needed for the Employment Standards Branch to do proactive monitoring and enforcement of the implementation of the new minimum wage.



UWU/MoveUP

February 08, 2018

BCGEU Welcomes Review of Labour Code - BCGEU

The BCGEU welcomes the provincial government's announcement earlier this week that they have appointed a committee of special advisers to review the provincial labour code. This review is a good first step in the process of restoring fairness to both the labour code and the BC Labour Relations Board.

The code review panel will be consulting with stakeholders around B.C. before reporting back to Labour Minister Harry Bains this summer. The BCGEU will be participating in this process, as we recognize that the labour code is a significant piece of legislation that informs both how B.C.'s workers organize to join unions, and how unionized workers and their employers interact.

The labour code has not been reviewed nor significantly amended in 15 years, and it is time that it is updated. We hope to see the labour code amended to ensure balance and fairness for workers in B.C.

 

 



UWU/MoveUP

February 06, 2018

Hard Rock Casino workers vote to strike - BCGEU

Hard Rock Casino workers vote to strike

An astounding 99.5% vote in favour of strike action

Members of the BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) working at Hard Rock Casino in Coquitlam voted overwhelmingly in favour of taking strike action against their employer this week.

In a vote held from February 1-4, over 90% of Hard Rock staff came out and voted 99.5% in favour of taking strike action.

"Hard Rock workers are sending a clear message to their employer: they will not back down until they get the respect, fair wages and working conditions that they deserve," says BCGEU President Stephanie Smith.

The next step for Hard Rock workers is mediation, as required by the BC labour code, but strike preparations are already underway. 

"Hard Rock workers are ready to do whatever it takes to get a fair contract with their employer," says Smith. 

BCGEU represents over 400 staff at Hard Rock working in table games, slot attendants, cashiers, count room, kitchen, security, theatre and guest services. Employees at Hard Rock voted to join the BCGEU in May 2016 and have been trying to negotiate a first collective agreement with their employer since January 2017.

For more information contact Erin Sikora at 778-238-0300 or erin.sikora@bcgeu.ca.




UWU/MoveUP

February 05, 2018

B.C.’s liquor stores well positioned under new cannabis retail regulations - ...

The new retail cannabis regulations announced by the B.C. government leaves B.C.'s liquor stores well-positioned to provide safe, secure, reliable access to non-medical cannabis products, the Responsible Marijuana Retail Alliance of BC (RMRABC) said today.

While the government chose not to allow the sale of alcohol and cannabis in the same store, because of federal recommendations against co-location, they will permit standalone cannabis retail stores to be located adjacent to B.C's liquor store outlets.

"We regret that our proposal was not adopted by government, but we believe the key principles outlined in our submission could help guide the regulation of non-medical cannabis use in BC," said B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union president Stephanie Smith. "We're confident that our members are well-positioned to provide secure, responsible retail options for British Columbians and will work collaboratively with the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch and local communities to assist in this transition."

"We strongly support the role of local governments to decide how cannabis is sold inside their borders," said Jeff Guignard, Executive Director of ABLE BC. "Although you won't see cannabis inside liquor stores, we remain eager to work with our municipal partners to ensure cannabis is retailed safely and responsibly by experienced retailers in aged-controlled environments,".

Public and private liquor stores provide a proven, effective and secure choice for the sale of controlled products across the province. RMRABC believes that the new retail model will help keep these products out of the reach of children and eliminate the need for British Columbians to purchase cannabis products from unregulated black-market suppliers.

The RMARBC is a joint initiative by the BCGEU and ABLE BC. Combined public and private liquor stores provide a network of about 860 retail outlets in communities across the province. 

 



UWU/MoveUP

February 02, 2018

BCGEU presses budget priorities in letter to B.C. Finance Minister - BCGEU

As the new NDP government prepares to introduce their first full budget on February 20, the BCGEU used the opportunity to restate our union's budget priorities in a letter to B.C.

 

Finance Minister Carole James:

 

Dear Minister,

Re Priorities for the upcoming B.C. Budget 2018/2019

Thank you for the opportunity to share our members' observations and priorities in the lead-up to B.C. Budget 2018/19.

British Columbia is emerging from 16 years of fiscal austerity under the former B.C. Liberal government, where the wishes of business have been consistently prioritized over the needs of people and the environment.

As we entered into 2017, our province was left with one of the highest poverty rates in the country. Inequality was on the rise. We are living with a serious housing affordability crisis. Thousands of our citizens die each year from overdoses. Our prisons are overcrowded and increasingly violent. Few seniors have access to professional home support services. And action on climate change had been weakened after years of inaction.

Now, with new NDP government leadership, we are seeing signs that another way forward is possible. The Budget 2017 Update took important first steps to renew leadership in government. The update showed that investments in public services can be made without sacrificing fiscal responsibility.

The pending B.C. Budget 2018/19 marks an important moment, when our province can take the next steps toward a fiscal plan that truly puts families and communities first. We support the government's readiness to renew the tradition of progressive public leadership, and urge you to focus on rebuilding the social services on which the health of our society depends. 

We offer you these practical suggestions for strengthening the vital public programs and services that British Columbians rely on to improve their lives every day:

1. Develop and implement a comprehensive, affordable housing strategy.
2. Begin implementation of universal, affordable, $10 a Day Child Care.
3. Invest in community-based health services and the workers who serve our communities.
4. Restore funding to our justice system, especially for court services, corrections and legal aid services.
5. Make a significant re-investment in sustainable natural resource management, environmental protection and climate action.
6. Restore funding for post-secondary education.
7. Begin to restore balance in our workplaces by investing in the proactive enforcement of employment standards and a fairer, more effective Labour Relations Board.
8. Fully implement the recommendations of the Plecas Report, including increased staff resources in the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

To support these priorities, the BCGEU also recommends that the B.C. Government explore the following options to access additional revenue and restore fairness to B.C.'s tax and revenue system:

1. Further increase personal income tax rates for society's top earners.
2. Restore B.C.'s corporate income tax rate to 13.5 per cent permanently.
3. Implement new housing-related tax measures as part of an affordable housing strategy.
4. Eliminate costly and inefficient oil and gas subsidies.
5. Strengthen revenue opportunities for the Liquor Distribution Branch.
6. Build tourism revenue by restoring operational funding for BC Parks to 2001 levels.

We believe that immediate action to expand government revenues, invest in vital public services and to promote equality, sustainability and diversification will ensure the long-term vision for good jobs, healthy families, strong communities and a robust economy for British Columbia.

The BCGEU supports this government's efforts to implement changes to the current tax structure that will enhance revenue and improve fairness. We also challenge the government to consider additional improvements to restore equity and fairness to our economy and to protect our environment and natural resources for future generations.

Sincerely,

Stephanie Smith
President, B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union.

 

Download PDF of letter here

UWU/MoveUP

February 01, 2018

Area 07 2018 Free Skate - BCGEU

FREE PUBLIC SKATE

Every year, the Cross Component Committee (CCC) of the BCGEU is pleased to celebrate the BC Family Day with free public skates throughout the Okanagan.

Here are the locations, dates and times for this year:

Sunday, Feb. 11thHassen Memorial Arena
3315 Pleasant Valley Rd
Armstrong
3:45pm - 5:45pm

Sunday, Feb. 11thJim Lind Arena
2760 Cameron Rd
West Kelowna
1:30pm – 4:00pm

Monday, Feb. 12th
*hot chocolate provided!
Winfield Recreation Centre Arena
9830 Bottom Wood Lake Rd
Lake Country

3:00pm – 4:30pm

In Solidarity,

Cross Component Committee
Kelowna and Area


Download 2018 Free Skate CCC Area 07.pdf

UWU/MoveUP

February 01, 2018

BCGEU remembers Lorraine Logan - BCGEU

On behalf of the members of the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union I offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Lorraine Logan who passed away on January 23, 2018. An activist through and through, and right up until the end, she was a champion of workers' rights, LGBTQ+ rights, women's rights and seniors' rights.

Lorraine Logan grew up in Vancouver. Her family was small, but supportive and both her mother and grandmother encouraged her to be strong and independent. She developed a personality which embraced each of these characteristics. She was also a gifted athlete and travelled the world representing her country on the Canadian Women's' Field Hockey team during the late 1960s and early 1970s. This was followed by her taking up the position of International Umpire in the sport. Lorraine's field hockey days saw her develop many close friendships, but the sport also taught her teamwork, fairness, comradery and the need to work together.

A BCGEU member throughout her 31-year career in government service, Lorraine was first employed at Jericho School for the Deaf, then she went into the Ministry of Education and finally to the Ministry of Transportation and Highways. Lorraine's sense of fairness, equity and social justice led her to getting involved in her union. She would often credit the BCGEU for helping her to develop the skills to organize, advocate, agitate and mentor others. Starting as a shop steward, Lorraine later became active on the local 1203 executive and being a delegate to the District Labour Council, Area Cross Component Committee and to Multi Union Pride Committee. She was so proud to be designated a Life Member of the BCGEU.

In retirement, Lorraine stayed connected to the BCGEU through her participation on various Fight Back Campaigns, political rallies and activism on LGBTQ+ and other human rights. Her advocacy and activism on issues of social justice then took her into the boardrooms and legislative offices and her focus was now directed towards seniors' issues. She worked tirelessly for many committees and organizations including: New Vista Housing Society, Seniors Services Society, TransLink's Access Transit Advisory Committee, BC Government Retired Employees Association and the Council of Senior Citizen's Associations of BC (COSCO). Somehow, she still found time to give to her neighbours (strata council), many different NDP election campaigns and her family.

Lorraine's confidence, dedication, sense of fairness and perseverance was instilled in her through her family and field hockey, but it was her labour sisters and brothers that helped shape her into the proud social and political activist she became. She was honoured to hold many different positions and titles in various organizations, but she always loved being addressed as "Sister."

As a leader on issues affecting seniors Lorraine was the president of the Council of Senior Citizens' Organizations of B.C. (COSCO) representing 85 seniors' organizations throughout the province. The quotes below provided by her colleagues describe the immense impact she had:

"Her wonderful sense of justice helped her to celebrate the gains and give the losses another try. I think she practiced the art of the possible…" Sheila Pither (First VP COSCO)

"Lorraine's persistent work on transportation and mobility issues is just one example of the energy and determination she put into making life better for others. She was a force of nature, truth to power, not taking 'no' for an answer." Soren Bech (former COSCO News editor)

"The news of Lorraine's death hasn't really sunk in yet… Our sincere condolences are with her family especially her partner Sharon Bard. Lorraine is already missed but the inspiration she provided will continue to empower others. No one could have asked for a more supportive leader at the helm of COSCO. Collaboration and teamwork is what she practiced. Principled values, passion and discretion guided her in her work with the Council of Senior Citizens Organizations' of BC since she became our President in 2014. COSCO benefitted immensely from her leadership. Personally, I will miss her wise counsel, unerring BS detector, wicked sense of humour and friendship." Gudrun Langolf (Pres COSCO)

I have, and will continue, to cite Lorraine as one of my 'femtors' and a reason for my being where I am today. As a tireless advocate for equity and making positive change, she will be missed dearly. My thoughts are with Lorraine's partner Sharon Bard as well, and I thank her for providing biographical information about Lorraine's life for this tribute.

A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday February 17th @ 11:00 am at the International Union of Operating Engineers Hall, 4333 Ledger Avenue, Burnaby.

In Solidarity and Respect,
Stephanie Smith, President

 

UWU/MoveUP

January 31, 2018

Read the Winter 2018 issue of The Steward - BCGEU

In this issue, we look at a variety of topics to keep you up-to-date on issues that could affect your workplace, and the members you represent. Topics include the duty to accommodate and how it may arise through discrimination based on disability or family status; the employer's legal duty to protect members from harassment on the employer's social media platforms; the employee's duty to mitigate lost wages in the event of an unjust termination; and more.

We hope you'll find this issue informative and useful in your work. Are there areas of labour law or workplace relations issues you would like to see addressed in the next issue? Have a suggestion for steward education? Don't hesitate to email us at steward@bcgeu.ca with your ideas. Also, don't forget to check out all of the resources for stewards, including back-issues of this publication, on the BCGEU member portal. Log into your account and find resources under Tools for Stewards.

 

 


Download steward-january-2018.pdf

UWU/MoveUP