NEWS

December 20, 2017

BCGEU members land $20 million contract to refit B.C. ferry - BCGEU

BC Government & Service Employees' Union workers employed at Esquimalt Drydock Company will begin work on a B.C. Ferries contract worth $20 million to refit the Northern Sea Wolf. The 17-year-old vessel will accommodate approximately 3,500 passengers and 1,200 vehicles each year on a route between Port Hardy and Bella Coola.

Members at Esquimalt Drydock have extensive experience in ship repair as welders, mechanics, labourers, painters and electricians. Working alongside trades people hired by B.C. Ferries, our members completed a mid-life upgrade of the Queen of Cumberland in 2016 which now services the Southern Gulf Islands.

We congratulate our members on this great success, and thank them for their hard work to make B.C. ferries safer, and more comfortable for the traveling public.

Read more here: http://www.timescolonist.com/business/northern-ferry-refit-coming-to-esquimalt-1.23123414

 

December 19, 2017

Thanking and Recognizing the Public Servants who Keep our Communities Safe ...

This year's fire season is far behind us and while recent winter storms have made many in the province forget about this summer's devastation, many communities are still working to rebuild what was lost in the fire. 

As we see the devastation that fires are currently causing across California and as we look back at the lessons learned over the summer, the BCGEU would like to thank and recognize all of the wildfire fighters, support workers, first responders and community members who stood up throughout the fire season to serve and protect our communities. It is thanks to these workers and community members, that the fires did not cause more loss of life and property. 

B.C. Premier John Horgan is looking to recognize many of these people himself and has created the Above and Beyond Awards to acknowledge acts of selflessness and bravery during the fire season. 

We know that many BCGEU members, from the wildfire crews to the conservation officers to the support workers, deserve this award. That's why I would like to encourage you to nominate people in your worksite and your community who went above and beyond during this summer's fire season. 

You can find more information about the award and nominate someone you know by going to https://engage.gov.bc.ca/aboveandbeyondawards/

The deadline to nominate someone in your worksite or community is January 15 of 2018.

 

In appreciation and solidarity,

Stephanie Smith 

BCGEU President. 

 

December 15, 2017

BCGEU calls for reinvestment in seniors’ services as Seniors Advocate release...

On Thursday, December 14, 2017, the B.C. Seniors Advocate released the annual Monitoring Seniors' Services report. Their findings present further evidence that the B.C. government has to reverse the policies of austerity implemented under the BC Liberals. B.C.'s seniors need significant reinvestment in community services and affordable housing to undo the resulting increase in poverty now faced by the province's aging population.

 

The report lists several areas of concern for seniors in B.C., including the worsening affordability crisis, a decrease in home support services and adult programs, and increasing poverty among seniors.

 

"This report provides more evidence that austerity policies do nothing to improve the lives of British Columbians," said Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President. "To improve the lives of seniors in B.C., and all people of B.C., the government needs to have a central role investing in community health services as well as affordable housing."

 

The report states that the poverty rate for seniors has increased by 24 per cent since 2005, while services for seniors have been cut substantially during the same period. A shortage of workers and funding for home care has translated into shorter visits by home care workers, negatively impacting care. Since 2015/16 there has also been an 8 per cent decrease in the number of Adult Day Programs, which has put more seniors and their families in vulnerable situations.

 

The report also looks into the effects that the affordability crisis is having on seniors in B.C. Skyrocketing rents are putting greater strain on seniors who rent and have fixed incomes. Even seniors that own their homes are feeling the effects of the crisis as the cost of homeownership increases. Over the past year there was a 94 per cent increase in the number of new Property Tax Deferrals for homeowners over the age of 55, in part due to the increased tax burden on fixed incomes brought about by increased property values.

 

Earlier this year, the BCGEU made a series of recommendations to the province on how they can help stabilize housing prices. The proposal includes reforming property taxes, increasing protections for renters and building more affordable housing. These recommendations can go a long way in making life more affordable for B.C.'s seniors and ensuring they have a safe retirement without the fear of a real estate market crash.

 

Ultimately, increased poverty and a lack of services for seniors are the result of austerity policies, and only by reinvesting in our communities can the new government improve the lives of B.C.'s elderly. The BCGEU is hopeful that the new NDP government will take this report into account during the consultations for the B.C. poverty reduction strategy and that they will continue to increase funds for seniors' services in the upcoming February 2018 budget.

 

More information:

 

 

 

 

UWU/MoveUP

December 15, 2017

Compliance and Enforcement in B.C. Forests - BCGEU

With the B.C. Government's review of professional reliance across many industries underway, the BCGEU has released a short paper about compliance and enforcement in B.C.’s forests. Check it out below and be sure to share it with your networks.

 

December 11, 2017

BC Human Rights Commission - BCGEU

Today the report, A Human Rights Commission for the 21st Century: British Columbians talk about Human Rights was released detailing 25 recommendations to government as they re-establish the BC Human Rights Commission (dismantled in 2002 by the previous Liberal government).

The report recommends to B.C.'s Attorney General that the new commission be built on four important pillars in order to create a "strong and independent human rights system in B.C." These include: protecting the independence of the Human Rights Commission; continuing the direct-access Human Rights Tribunal, maintaining the Human Rights Clinic, which provides specialized information, advocacy and representation services; and lastly, that the Ministry of Attorney General assumes responsibility and oversight for the B.C. Human Rights Code, as well as the legislative framework necessary to protect persons from discrimination.

The independence of the commission, the purpose of the commission and how it will work with the existing Human Rights Tribunal and government, the powers of the commission, as well as its ability to call inquiries are all highlighted in the report's recommendations. These elements were also included in the BCGEU's submission to Parliamentary Secretary Ravi Kahlon during the stakeholder engagement process. As identified in the report, a core function of the commission is to provide broad education on human rights and to promote social change for British Columbians, which was also one of the key priorities identified by the union.

Two of the early priorities for the new commission will be: 1) working with Indigenous groups to develop policies and practices that honour the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (a recommendation also made by the BCGEU); and 2) reviewing and eliminating, where possible, unnecessary references to gender in public documents.

The union is pleased that the report also asks that a new commission review possible discrimination against foreign-earned credentials for workers. Historically, many workers coming to Canada have faced extreme difficulty getting employers, regulatory bodies and educational institutions to recognize their credentials. This is a welcome action for the new commission, as is the recommendation that it extend the time limit for filing complaints from six months to one year.

The BCGEU applauds the Parliamentary Secretary on his thorough and inclusive report, and urges that government fully implement the 25 recommendations in order to reestablish a strong and successful BC Human Rights Commission for the province. 

 

Click here to read previous posting


Download BCGEU Human Rights Submission as pdf 

December 11, 2017

BCGEU disappointed by decision to complete Site C dam, urges government to em...

The BCGEU is disappointed by the provincial government's decision today to complete the Site C dam despite findings by the BC Utilities Commission that question the economic viability of the project.

In 2015 the union took a position against the construction of the dam citing economic and environmental concerns as well infringement on First Nations' rights. This decision demonstrates the work still to be done to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in our province, as well as honouring treaties with the Crown. We reaffirm our union's commitment to standing with First Nations in realizing the larger goal of reconciliation in Canada.

The BCGEU also urges the government to ensure that unionized labour represented by a recognized trade union is employed in the completion and long-term maintenance of the project; takes the opportunity to provide apprenticeship opportunities to B.C. trades workers; and that further construction is conducted in the most environmentally sensitive way possible.

 

 

 

 

 

UWU/MoveUP

December 07, 2017

BCGEU remembers Leonard George - BCGEU

It is with tremendous sadness to learn of the passing of Tsleil-Waututh leader, Leonard George.

Leonard, served as Chief of the Tsleil-Waututh nation, was an iconic leader and teacher to thousands of people across British Columbia. In his special way, he was able to build bridges between communities and encouraged everyone to work together as one. His knowledge and wisdom drew many to his side with great respect. 

His fight for the rights of First Nations people brought understanding in ways that will continue to have an impact for many years to come.

His teachings have been passed to his children, grandchildren, his nation, his friends and the thousands of lives he touched during his life. 

Over the years, Leonard has come to speak to members of the BCGEU to pass on his message. On behalf of the 73,000 members of the BCGEU we send our deepest condolences to his family, friends and the whole of the Tsleil-Waututh nation. He will be deeply missed.

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December 07, 2017

Statement on Fair Wages Commission - BCGEU

Today, December 7, is the final day to provide submissions to B.C.'s Fair Wages Commission. The BCGEU would like to mark this date by calling for the immediate implementation of a $15 per hour minimum wage for all workers in our province.

The BCGEU is a tireless advocate for fair wages for all workers. Daily, BCGEU members providing health and social services confront the consequences of low wages, poverty and growing inequality our province, including poor nutrition, inadequate housing, mental health and addictions issues. Many BCGEU members have themselves organized and struggled to earn more than the minimum wage. They know frsthand the positive difference that making a decent wage makes in their lives, and they want the same for all British Columbians – right now.

There is no good reason for British Columbians to wait for a higher minimum wage. The province's economy is very strong. And modern economic research has demonstrated that a reasonable increase in the minimum wage is good for workers and the economy.

Today, and every day, we call for an end to poverty wages in BC.

You can read our full submission to the Fair Wages Commission online

December 07, 2017

Watch Minister Eby's Address To C1 Conference Conference - BCGEU

Union activists from across the province gathered in Surrey BC this week to discuss important issues for Component 1 members.

We reviewed grievance arbitration, short term illness and injury plan (STIIP) and long term disability (LTD) issues, gangs and threats, pensions and more. 

We also were updated on the progress of sheriff retention and recruitment efforts. Attorney General David Eby sent a video message of support to the conference, citing retention and wages as key issues which need to be addressed. Watch Minister Eby's remarks here.

Additionally, Component 1 has added a deputy sheriff specific position to the component executive to enhance sheriff representation in our union. The first deputy sheriff representative is Mike Redlick from local 102 Nanaimo sheriffs, and the alternate is David Davidson from local 105 Kamloops sheriffs. 

In Solidarity,

Dean Purdy, Vice President, Component 1
Mike Redlick, Deputy Sheriff Representative, Component 1