NEWS

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

January 26, 2018

BCGEU Submission to Review of Professional Reliance - BCGEU

The government has initiated a review of the professional reliance model in the natural resource sector. The day-to-day work of thousands of BCGEU members is shaped by this regulatory model, and many of our members have raised the alarm about its shortcomings. 

In its present form, the professional reliance model effectively lets the "fox guard the henhouse," leading in some cases to the mismanagement of our resources and harm to the environment. Combined with deep staff and funding cuts to the responsible ministries and agencies, strong public oversight of our lands has been seriously eroded.

This review is an important opportunity to fix how the provincial government oversees industry's activities on the land base in B.C. so that the environment and the public interest are better protected. Environmental lawyer Mark Haddock was appointed to conduct the review, and his report and recommendations are due this spring (May 2018).

You can read the full submission below:

January 15, 2018

BCGEU Defends Members after columnist criticizes social workers - BCGEU

It's become the norm, after 16 years of sustained social service cuts, for columnists and pundits to take knee-jerk reactions and blame government workers when a high-profile tragedy occurs.

You may have heard about or read a recent column by the Vancouver Sun's Ian Mulgrew, blaming the courts and social workers for the tragic death of two young girls in Oak Bay.

Your union responded on behalf of our members in MCFD, who do tremendous work to protect BC families, with limited resources and massive workloads. We wanted to share our president Stephanie Smith's response in a Letter to the Editor of the Vancouver Sun, which was printed in today's edition.

We hope you will take a minute to read the president's letter.



UWU/MoveUP

January 15, 2018

On January 20, we will march again! - BCGEU

Last January, millions of people worldwide came together to march for human rights. In Vancouver alone, there were over 15,000 people who marched Downtown.

While we made gains in 2017, we also recognize there is still much work to be done.

With the growing momentum of the #MeToo movement, it is more important than ever to amplify the voices of not just women and girls, but of all marginalized groups including refugees, migrants, indigenous peoples and the LGBTQI2S community.

On January 20, 2018, we march on.

We know it takes action to make change. That's why numerous events will be held across the province that will embrace positivity, inclusivity and diversity.

BCGEU President Stephanie Smith, Treasurer Paul Finch, Executive Vice Presidents Kari Michaels and Sussanne Skidmore, along with other BCGEU members will be attending the event in Downtown Vancouver to show that our union will stand up for our values of diversity, tolerance and human rights. All allies are welcome. Please join us!

Together, we will march on!

Learn more about March On Canada here and find out about an event happening near your community here:

 

March On Canada

Women's March Canada 



UWU/MoveUP

January 10, 2018

BCGEU Remembers Mona Moreno - BCGEU

It is with great sadness that we inform our members that Mona Moreno, the founder of the Cedar Root Gallery, passed away on January 1, 2018. 

Mona was a strong Indigenous woman from the Haida Nation. She was a retired, proud member of Public Service Alliance of Canada and a supporter of the labour movement for many years. Mona proudly raised her children with the values of the trade union movement. 

Mona founded the Cedar Root Gallery 25 years ago, which is a landmark business in East Vancouver situated in the Vancouver Friendship Centre. The BCGEU has a long relationship working with Mona and the gallery. Her presence will be missed and the loss will be felt throughout the union.


 


UWU/MoveUP

January 04, 2018

Violence reported at Surrey Pretrial Service Center (SPSC) and North Fraser P...

A serious staff assault occurred at the SPSC on January 2, 2018. The Correctional Officer received injuries to his face and hand, from a brutal unprovoked assault by an inmate. The CO was taken to hospital for treatment, which may result in the loss of his finger. The union is continuing to investigate and will provide an update when more information is available.


Another incident occurred on December 29 at NFPC, when an inmate hung himself from the 3rd tier. When the officer was unlocking the rest of the living unit, the inmate ran to his cell, grabbed a sheet, tied it to the top railing, wrapped the sheet around his neck and threw himself between the safety bars. Thanks to the actions of our COs, the inmate was saved. 


These types of incidents are very traumatic and occur alongside other serious violent incidents on a regular basis. The number of Officers suffering from PTSD is climbing, which is why safety is paramount in our business.


New young Correctional Officers are already leaving Corrections at an alarming pace. Corrections has the highest attrition rate of 14 per cent and we can't retain Officers who are paid $59,000 per year, almost the lowest in Canada. This must be addressed immediately. 


The union takes these issues seriously and will bring these incidents to the appropriate Occupational Health and Safety committees, and through the Joint Accident Investigation process. We will report out to members as soon as information becomes available.


Dean Purdy
Corrections and Sheriffs Component 1 Vice President

 



UWU/MoveUP