NEWS

April 12, 2018

BCGEU and B.C. Government to begin bargaining new contract for members in the...

The BCGEU has accepted an offer from the B.C. Government to begin negotiations aimed at concluding a new collective agreement with members in the B.C. public service.

The existing contract between the BCGEU and the B.C. Government expires on March 31, 2019. It covers roughly 27,000 employees in the public service around the province.

"We're pleased to begin the bargaining process now," said BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. "It will give us sufficient time before the expiration of the existing contract to address the long-standing issues we've been raising with government in the four years since we negotiated our last contract. We want to improve services through the bargaining process."

The BCGEU has been preparing for a return to the bargaining table since late last year to identify priorities through member surveys, bargaining meetings and conferences as a part of the normal process in the lead up to the agreement's expiry.

Component bargaining will commence on April 30, 2018, with negotiations on the main agreement beginning May 7, 2018.

We'll post more information as it becomes available. Please make sure your contact information is up-to-date and correct by visiting: https://my.bcgeu.ca/login.

 

Ask your co-workers to do the same.



UWU/MoveUP

April 10, 2018

April 12th Jersey Day - BCGEU

Staff and the Senior Leadership at the BCGEU will be wearing their jerseys to show support and respect for the Humboldt Broncos on Thursday, April 12 2018. We hope you do too!

 



UWU/MoveUP

April 09, 2018

‘Honeymoon phase is over’ at Okanagan Correctional Centre - BCGEU

"The honeymoon phase is over."

That's the sentiment of Dean Purdy, head of the B.C. Government Employees Union's corrections division, but it appears to apply beyond staff at the Okanagan Correctional Centre.

Official complaints filed by inmates against the jail nearly doubles that of any other jail in the province.

 

 

Read more...



UWU/MoveUP

April 04, 2018

BCGEU welcomes 75 new members in seniors’ care delivery - BCGEU

The BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) welcomes 75 new members following a merger between two seniors' care facilities in Greater Victoria. On April 1, 2018 Rest Haven Lodge, which will continue to operate 73 residential complex care beds for seniors in Sidney, merged with Broadmead Care Society where the BCGEU already represents over 400 workers. 

"Broadmead Care Society is a non-profit organization with a community-first approach and an excellent reputation in seniors' care delivery," says BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. "We are pleased to welcome our new members under Broadmead's umbrella and look forward to supporting them in the important work they do in their community."

The BCGEU represents over 16,000 workers in various health care sectors. To read more about the merger click here

For more information contact Bronwen Barnett, BCGEU Communications, 604-719-4713



UWU/MoveUP

March 29, 2018

BCGEU brings 15 recommendations to labour code review panel, calls for fairne...

The BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) president Stephanie Smith meets today in Surrey with a special government panel reviewing B.C.'s labour laws to call for changes that reflect the needs and interests of B.C. workers.

Representing over 75,000 workers from nearly every economic sector in B.C., the recommendations in the union's submission to the panel are based on three themes:

 

1. That workers be entitled to make their own internal decision to unionize without employer pressure;

2. That workers be entitled to fairness, timeliness and finality when it comes to labour decisions; and

3. That the labour code be responsive to the erosion of workers' rights in the modern economy due to more precarious, part-time, contract and contingent employment.

 

"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," says Smith. "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 labour code review panel is holding public hearings in 10 B.C. communities from now through mid-April, and the panel will report its findings and recommendations back to Labour Minister Harry Bains by August. The labour code has not been reviewed or amended in 15 years.

BCGEU's submission can be downloaded here: https://tinyurl.com/yc9oslpw

For more information contact Bronwen Barnett, BCGEU Communications, 604-719-4713



UWU/MoveUP

March 22, 2018

Public Service Pension Plan Update - BCGEU

Dear BCGEU Public Sector Pension Plan Member,

We understand that the recently announced changes to the Public Sector Pension Plan (PSPP) design have generated a lot of concerns. Many have indicated to us the communication from the Pension Corporation left them wondering how the plan impacted them, which has created anxiety and confusion. In this environment, serious misinformation has circulated that misrepresents the plan changes, especially on the @work site.

The only way to determine exactly how these changes impact you as an individual will be to wait for the pension plan calculator. Respectfully, please do not try to calculate changes for yourself. We are urging Pension Corp to advance the timeline on the pension calculator, and add a comparator to the old rules, which will show the specific improvement.

Because several of the plan design changes work differently for service after April 1, 2018, there is some confusion about the Bridge, the Rule of 85, and if the changes will impact your ability to retire. We hope to explain broadly how the changes work, why they occurred, and to correct some of the speculation happening amidst the confusion.

The vast majority of plan members will see a great improvement in their pension, but each member's specific situation is unique.

For the average BCGEU member, the value of the pension will increase substantially.

The average age of retirement in the plan is over 60. Approximately 59% of BCGEU plan members earn under the YMPE ($55,900 in 2018). The majority of members retiring both above and below age 60 will still be able to retire with a higher lifetime pension based on the new rules. Further, for an average BCGEU member, even one wanting to retire at 55, if you are able to retire in the next few years, your lifetime pension will be significantly bigger.

Similar rules have already been adopted by the College and Teachers Pensions Plans

Both of these large public sector plans have moved to a flat rate of accrual on future service, and have eliminated the rule of 85 and bridge on future service. This is a trend because moving to a flat rate of accrual modernizes the plan and makes it more equitable. This provides a superior lifetime benefit.

The new rules apply to future service (after April 1, 2018) only.

That means if you have accumulated 20 years of service prior to April 1, 2018, you will get a bridge benefit when you retire, based on those 20 years of service. If you retire before you turn 60, the reduction factor of 3% for each year between 55 and 60 will apply to those 20 years. The old rules apply to old service and the new rules only apply to new service.

On Future Service, your pension's potential value will be much larger.

In practical terms, on service after April 1, 2018, the value of a lifetime pension for someone making $55,900 or less (under the YMPE) will be approximately 37% more. That number slightly reduces the more you make over the YMPE. For example, someone making $84,000 will receive approximately 18%* more on their lifetime pension.

We have guaranteed a retroactive increase to the value of your pension back to 2006.

This increases your accrual below the YMPE from 1.35% to 1.65% retroactively between April 1, 2006 and March 31, 2018. For the average BCGEU member retiring in the next decade, this will represent a greater than 12% increase in the value of their lifetime pension.

The large majority of BCGEU members, including those retiring before the age of 60, will be able to retire at the same age with a higher lifetime pension.

The new rules provide for a larger lifetime pension for members. What this means practically is that, in the majority of cases, members retiring under the age of 60 have a larger lifetime pension than they would have under the old rules.

The new plan design minimizes the subsidy from those who can't afford to retire, and makes the plan more fair.

The new early retirement reduction factor of 6.2% is benefit neutral – which means it is approximately the value of the benefit one gets from early retirement. This change in the new rules makes the plan more equitable. On future service, it means those retiring early will pay their fair share.

Plan changes were requested by the Board on a tight timeline.

Some of you are concerned with the lack of communication prior to implementation of the plan changes. We want to assure everyone this was not by design, and we are committed to identifying gaps in communication from Pension Corporation and working with them, and independently, on a go-forward basis.

We were unable to conduct consultation prior to implementation due to a tight timeline. Faced with the potential of the Board making changes to plan design without input from us or the government, we opted to move quickly. We consulted with senior elected leadership and came to an agreement with government that secured the best outcome possible. The fact we achieved a significant retroactive benefit increase on service back to 2006 – even for members who have already retired – shows a high degree of success in this regard.

For further questions, please contact the BC Pension Corporation.

You can reach them at 1-800-665-3554.

 

*please note the following correction was made to the original posting, updating the percentage rate to 18% for this example

UWU/MoveUP

March 22, 2018

BCGEU calls for labour code amendments to ensure balance and fairness for wor...

 

The BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) has submitted multiple recommendations to a panel of special advisors currently reviewing British Columbia's Labour Relations Code. The submission calls for changes that properly reflect the needs and interests of workers in B.C.'s modern economy.

The BCGEU's submission is based on three themes:

1. That workers be entitled to make their own internal decision to unionize without employer pressure;

2. That workers be entitled to fairness, timeliness and finality when it comes to labour decisions; and

3. That the labour code be responsive to the erosion of workers' rights in the modern economy due to more precarious, part-time, contract and contingent employment.

"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," says BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. "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 labour code review panel is holding public hearings in 10 B.C. communities from now through mid-April, and the panel will report its findings and recommendations back to Labour Minister Harry Bains by August. The labour code has not been reviewed or amended in 15 years.

 

To read BCGEU's submission click here.

 

 



UWU/MoveUP

March 21, 2018

BCGEU recognizes International Day of Forests - March 21 - BCGEU

Our natural forests are an important part of British Columbia's environment, economy and social fabric. More than a third of our planet's land mass is covered by forests, which absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen into our atmosphere. 

According to the United Nations, "forests are the most biologically diverse ecosystems on land, home to more than 80 per cent of the terrestrial species of animals, planets and insects."

Deforestation across the globe accounts for 12 to 20 per cent of the total greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. 

A healthy, productive forest base plays a key part in British Columbia's natural economy and plays a large role in meeting our provincial climate change targets.

The UN proclaimed March 21 as International Day of Forests, "to raise awareness of the importance of forests to people and their vital role in poverty eradication, environmental sustainability and food security. Sustainable management of all types of forests are at the heart of unlocking challenges of conflict-affected, developing and developed countries, for the benefit of current and future generations."

The BCGEU invites all our members and the public to join us in recognizing and celebrating the 6th annual International Day of Forests on March 21.

• Click here for more information.

http://www.un.org/en/events/forestsday/ 

 



UWU/MoveUP

March 16, 2018

BCGEU Members size up B.C.'s worst summer of natural disasters

For many people across the province the summer of 2017 was one of angst, uncertainty, and demanding work load due to extreme wildfires and floods.

BCGEU members were front and centre in containment and rescue efforts delivered through key agencies like the B.C. Wildfire Service and Emergency Management B.C. Others across the public service took on significant roles in management, administration, communications, volunteer coordination and emergency services. Many dedicated themselves to helping vulnerable citizens and clients in their roles in community social services, seniors' care, and provincial health services.

When the B.C. government decided to undertake a significant review of the provincial wildfire and flood response earlier this year, the BCGEU initiated a wide consultation of members to document the various ways they had been affected by the unprecedented fire and flood season.

The BCGEU offers a sincere thank you to the many dedicated members who took part in its consultation and engagement efforts. This information will help to better prepare the province for future extreme wildfires and floods—a concerning “new normal” for the province.

The union has officially submitted the cumulative findings of this outreach in a submission to the B.C. government. The report is based on the direct experience of those who lived and worked on the front lines of the floods and wildfires and will be a useful resource for future disaster relief and planning efforts.

You can read the full report below: