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August 14, 2023

Letter to MGEU Workers - BC General Employees' Union (BCGEU)

Dear MGEU liquor workers,

On behalf of the B.C. General Employees' Union, I write to you to share an expression of solidarity as you stand on the line fighting for a new agreement with wages that reflect the rising cost of living.

I know that you, and workers across the country, have seen your wages significantly eroded by inflation and that the government offer of a two per cent increase for each year of the agreement means you would be falling further and further behind. You certainly deserve a raise at least in line with the raise Manitoba's own premier and her MLAs are receiving.

BCGEU members in the liquor and cannabis sector proved just last year that strike action can work, after two weeks of job action forced the employer back to the table and helped get a deal members could ratify.

Overwhelming support and solidarity from across the country helped keep morale high on our picket lines -- we want to send that solidarity back to you and help encourage you to stand strong and fight for a better deal.

Solidarity is always the basis of positive social change. When workers stand together and use their collective power they improve their working conditions and help create a more just and equal world.

When we stand together, we win!

In solidarity,

Stephanie Smith,
BCGEU President



July 25, 2023

BCGEU condemns City of Vancouver’s decision to allow Yaletown OPS to close - ...

July 25, 2023

BCGEU condemns City of Vancouver's decision to allow Yaletown OPS to close 

(Coast Salish Territories) – The City of Vancouver's decision last week to allow the lease at Thomus Donaghy Overdose Prevention Site (OPS) in Yaletown to expire in March 2024 will put lives at risk at a time when harm reduction services are needed more than ever. 

"We are in the midst of a drug-poisoning crisis. Shutting down one of the most-used overdose prevention sites in the city with no plans for an alternative is unacceptable to our members who work at this facility and the clients they serve," said Paul Finch, BCGEU treasurer. 

The BCGEU is calling on Mayor Ken Sim and the ABC majority to intervene and renew the lease until an alternative space in the downtown area is secured. 

In addition to overdose prevention visits averaging 100 per day, the Yaletown site also distributes food donations and water during heat waves. The loss of this site or an alternative would represent a significant gap in multiple supports that vulnerable people in the area depend on. 

"We urge the City of Vancouver to extend the lease in order to save lives while an alternative space, one that addresses the needs of the community accessing services as well as residents in the surrounding area, is found," said Finch. 

Hundreds of BCGEU members at Raincity Housing and Support Society and Lookout Housing and Health Society work at overdose prevention sites, including at Thomus Donaghy OPS. 


Media contact: [email protected].


July 19, 2023

The Tranquille Occupation: 40 year anniversary - BC General Employees' Union...

Statement from BCGEU President Stephanie Smith


Forty years after the dramatic worker occupation of the Tranquille Institution, its impact is still as meaningful and significant as it was then. It's a story of courage and a story of collective action. 

Worker power cannot be understated: the historic 22-day occupation of Tranquille is a major piece of labour history that was made by working-class, everyday people in this province. It remains to be one of our country's most inspiring examples of workers using collective action to protect both workers' rights and the rights of those they cared for. It took tremendous courage, and as a result they successfully stood up to their employer to make collective demands to advocate for quality community care for the people they supported, for their community, and for themselves.

It's important to remember our movement's history and our roots. Honouring and acknowledging the Tranquille occupation helps us continue to build on what we've learned from past battles. Actions like this remind us of the need to connect the struggles of our members to broader struggles for social justice around disability rights, pushing back against the gutting of the public service, and expanding it to include the community health some of our most vulnerable citizens rely on.

Despite meaningful progress made in our movement in the last four decades, there is always still work to be done. The courage and solidarity of the members who occupied Tranquille is a reminder of our power when we stand together. They did what they knew was the right thing, even when it seemed like all odds were against them. They refused to give up. Let's take inspiration from their actions and bring the same determination to the fights we face today.


July 13, 2023

Remembering a B.C. Wildfire member - BC General Employees' Union (BCGEU)

It is with heavy hearts that our union mourns the loss of one of our BCGEU family who lost her life today fighting a wildfire outside of Revelstoke.

Our hearts and thoughts go out to her family and community, both at home and in the BC Wildfire Service.

B.C. wildland firefighters are renowned for their teamwork and incredible service to our communities. Each and every one is committed to ensuring that their fellow members return from work safely while protecting our resources and our communities. Unfortunately, incidents like today's remind us all how dangerous this work can be.

As a union, we are committed to making occupational health and safety the highest priority in our worksites. Over the coming days, we will ensure that the WorkSafeBC investigation into the incident is thorough and that her colleagues have access to all necessary counselling and supports.

As fellow workers, we mourn her loss. 


June 29, 2023

Seniors’ care workers in Chilliwack ratify new agreement - BC General Employ...

Seniors' care workers in Chilliwack ratify new agreement 

Members of the B.C. General Employees' Union (BCGEU) working at Lynnwood Retirement Residence have ratified their new collective agreement by a vote of 100%. 

Over months of negotiations, these workers fought for a living wage that would address the soaring cost of living and put an end to high staff turnover at their facility. 

The new agreement, effective August 1, 2020, until July 31, 2024, includes: 

  • General wage increases of about 14.5% on average over the term of the agreement. 

  • Improved extended health care and other benefits. 

  • New language to make communication between management and staff clearer and more consistent.

These gains will significantly improve conditions for both workers and the residents who live at Lynnwood Retirement Residence.

View previous media release for more details: Seniors' care workers issue 72-hour strike notice 

The 35 BCGEU members at Lynnwood work as front desk services, housekeepers, line cooks, chefs, dishwashers, servers and activities and events specialists.


June 20, 2023

National Indigenous Peoples Day: 21 Things you can do on June 21st

Photo description: Members of the BCGEU Indigenous Advisory Committee in front of the Tlúu Xaadaa Naay Longhouse, Old Masset, Haida Gwaii


National Indigenous Peoples Day: 21 Things you can do on June 21st

Activities marking National Indigenous Peoples Day are held from coast to coast to coast on and around June 21st to commemorate and celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Indigenous peoples. These events honour the diverse traditions, resilience, and contributions of Indigenous communities. This year, here are 21 things that you can do on June 21st:

1. Attend an event in your community such as the pancake breakfast and friendship walk at the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre or other events around the province listed here.
2. Support and honour Indigenous children by wearing orange. Orange represents the "Every Child Matters" movement which remembers the countless children whose lives were taken from them through the residential school system.
3. Read the recommendations of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
4. Listen to a CBC Reclaimed playlist or watch the documentary Rumble: Indians who rocked the world.
5. Read the 94 calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
6. Learn more about whose land you are on and learn a greeting in the traditional language.
7. Start listening to an Indigenous-created podcast.
8. Support and amplify Indigenous-owned businesses in your community.
9. Celebrate the history and contributions of two-Spirit peoples and other members of the LGBTQQIA communities during Pride celebrations.
10. Read and celebrate Indigenous authors and storytellers and Indigenous-owned booksellers.
11. Watch the APTN's National Indigenous Peoples Day broadcast on June 21st, 2023.
12. Watch a film from the National Film Board of Canada's catalog of over 200 Indigenous-created films.
13. Learn 21 things you may not have known about the Indian Act.
14. Stand in solidarity with land defenders such as Indigenous Climate Action, RAVEN and Indigenous Environment Network.
15. Learn about and follow these Indigenous trailblazers who are leaders in the arts, journalism, business, culture and share their stories on social media.
16. Challenge yourself to stop using language and talk that perpetuates harmful stereotypes. Here is a helpful guide
17. Do some independent learning on Canada's history of colonialism. Thomas King's An Inconvenient Indian is a good start.
18. Celebrate Indigenous artists at galleries such as the Bill Reid Gallery or other galleries that showcase the rich traditions of different nations.
19. Donate to Indigenous organizations or to residential schools' survivor groups such as the Indian Residential Schools Survivors.
20. Share This Land: A companion resource for Early Childhood Educators to accompany Musqueum short films.
21. Keep learning- even when it's uncomfortable.
This is just a start, and we hope that you have some of your own ideas. And remember, there are 365 days in the year when we should learn, acknowledge, celebrate, and uplift Indigenous peoples and communities!


May 30, 2023

Congratulations to the 2023 BCGEU Scholarship Winners - BC General Employees'...

The BCGEU is pleased to support our 2023 scholarship recipients in their continuing education.

Click here for the 2023 scholarship winners

(Winners will be mailed a letter with instructions on how to claim their scholarship).


This year, applicants were asked to write an essay or submit a video on one of five topics:

1. Workplace health and safety is a core value of the labour movement. What role do unions play to ensure the health and safety of workers? How has health and safety in the workplace evolved? 


2. Describe a protest you have seen or taken part in and the positive ways it has changed your perspective, your life or your community. 


3. If you were a leader in a position of power, what steps would you take to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and who would you involve? 


4. How has the rising cost of inflation affected your community? Has it impacted your ability to seek a higher education? How? What part do unions play to address the rising cost of living? 


5. What challenges have you faced in your life that led you to seek higher education? What helped you on this journey? What other resources would support this goal? 


You can read some of the top winning essays below: (please link attached essays to names)


May 29, 2023

Atira workers unionize, join BCGEU - BC General Employees' Union (BCGEU)

May 29, 2023 

Atira workers unionize, join BCGEU 

BURNABY, B.C. (Coast Salish Territories) – Today over 500 workers at Atira Women's Resource Society (AWRS) have officially joined the B.C. General Employees' Union (BCGEU). This incredible win is the result of workers organizing and making connections across over 35 worksites and a significant majority of workers signing cards to join the union. 

"The BCGEU is honoured to welcome these women and gender diverse workers to our union," said BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. "I'm so impressed by the work they have done to stand up for better conditions at work and for the women that rely on Atira housing." 

As BCGEU members, these workers will now be able to able to push collectively as a union to address safety concerns, short staffing and other living and working conditions in Atira housing. They join thousands of other unionized supportive housing workers in a united front as the housing, opioid, drug toxicity and mental health crises put continued pressure on the sector. 

"As frontline workers we know how to make Atira better for workers and for residents," said Kadidja Youssouf, an AWRS worker. "By unionizing, we now have the collective power to speak out, and for our ideas to be heard." 

Because Atira Women's Resource Society receives a majority of their funding from government they will be eligible to join one of the B.C. government's sectoral agreements. It is the BCGEU's position that these workers should join their supportive housing counterparts under the Health Employers Association of British Columbia (HEABC). 

As the lead union in the sector, the BCGEU now includes more than 4,000 supportive housing workers along with frontline workers at Raincity Housing and Support Society and Lookout Housing and Health Society. 

With over 85,000 members in nearly every economic sector in the province, each year workers build power by organizing with the BCGEU to create better working conditions, improve wages and benefits, and strengthen the voice of working people. 

Workers interested in joining the BCGEU can learn more at



For more information contact: Communications at 604-291-9611 or [email protected]