NEWS

August 25, 2017

Getting ready for steward elections – Coming after Labour Day - BCGEU

Informed, active stewards are the backbone of our union, and elections to choose the stewards in our workplaces are coming up.

 

Becoming a steward is a great way to ensure that everyone at your workplace is treated fairly and that the hard-won improvements in our collective agreements are upheld.

 

Information packets on this year's steward elections will be mailed out to stewards starting after Labour Day. Included will be procedures on how elections should be conducted as well as informative materials about the importance of getting involved.

 

If you're a steward and have not received information by September 22, please contact your area office

August 24, 2017

Labour Day Celebration - BCGEU

To: Area 11 BCGEU Members

Re: Labour Day Celebration

 

 

The Labour Day Organizing Committee and North Central Labour Council has organized a Labour Day celebration and march. Everyone is welcome!

 

Please join the Labour Movement to celebrate Past-Present-Future fighting for the rights of all.

 

Date: Monday, September 4, 2017

 

Time: 11:00 am March through downtown (start at PG City Hall)

12:00 pm to 3:00 pm Celebration (PG City Hall Lawn)

 

Free food and entertainment for the whole family.

 

 

For more information contact Natalie Fletcher. Phone: (250) 613-9408 or Email: nfletcher180@yahoo.ca


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August 23, 2017

Workers rally against privatization at the Department of National Defence, Ph...

Victoria – Federal public service workers are rallying in Esquimalt to highlight the dangers involved in contracting out maintenance in the governments new multi-billion-dollar shipbuilding plans and to call on the government to do more to fix the problem-plagued Phoenix pay system.

The federal government recently awarded an $800-million contract to perform future maintenance and repair work on the Royal Canadian Navy's new Arctic Offshore Patrol ships to the Canadian subsidiary of a French multinational corporation.

"This shipbuilding plan puts significant military intelligence and operations in the hands of a private company," says John MacLennan, president of the Union of National Defence Employees. "It's a security risk and a warning sign that more and more of our security apparatus could be sold to the highest bidder. That's a trend we're seeing throughout the Defence Policy Review."

"We have yet to see a business case that proves contracting out is better - it out is rarely any more efficient or a cost-saver; in fact, it can often mean major problems and costs down the line." MacLennan continues, "As we have learned with expensive public contracts like the Phoenix pay system, mismanaged contracts can have significant adverse effects on the public service."

The Phoenix payroll system used by the federal government, which was designed and implemented by IBM, has been riddled with problems since it was rolled out in early 2016. Tens of thousands of workers have been under-paid, paid late, or in some cases not paid at all.

  • Date: Thursday August 24, 2017
  • Time: 12:00 PM to 12:45 PM
  • Location: 1424 Esquimalt Road at Canteen Road, Esquimalt

Speakers:

  • Robyn Benson, National President, Public Service Alliance of Canada
  • John MacLennan, National President, Union of National Defence Employees
  • Chris Aylward, National Executive Vice-President, Public Service Alliance of Canada
  • Jamey Mills, Regional Executive Vice President BC, Public Service Alliance of Canada

 

For more information: Sandra Montpetit, Union of National Defence Employees, montpes@unde.org

 

 

Local 467/MoveUP

August 23, 2017

BCGEU remembers first woman president - BCGEU

It's hard not to think of Joan Gower Gillatt as the first woman of the BCGEU. Not the first woman member, but our union's first woman trailblazer.

Joan passed away on August 10, 2017 in Duncan. She was 93.

__________

A service will be held for Joan Gower Gillatt on:
Friday, August 25, 2017

1:00 pm
Duncan United Church, 246 Ingram Street, Duncan, B.C.

_________

Joan's was a life of community service and activism, beginning with her work in the labour movement. She was a lab assistant in Victoria when she joined the B.C. Government Employees' Association (which later became the BCGEU) in 1944. Joan became the Victoria branch's vice president, then president and later joined the BCGEA's provincial executive.

Over the years, Joan took on the many anti-worker policies of WAC Bennett's Social Credit Government. As the provincial executive's only woman member, she led the battle against a discriminatory rule forcing women in the public service to retire five years earlier than men.

Joan was the BCGEA's elected vice president in 1957 when the president died, making her the association's first woman president.

In 1997, the BCGEU granted Joan a well-deserved special life membership. 

After leaving the labour movement to teach high school in Duncan, Joan became an active member of her community. She served as an elected school board trustee and municipal council member over two decades.

In recent years, Joan has lead the Cowichan Peace Pole Art Project, which would see the creation of an outdoor public art space incorporating a traditional Cowichan welcoming figure.

Joan Gower Gillatt was a pioneer in our union. It took a special kind of courage and determination to lead those early fights for equality in the workplace. We can only imagine how many working women's lives were improved because of Joan's efforts and how many women activists she has influenced in the decades since.

We acknowledge her important contributions to our union and women workers. Our condolences to her loved ones and friends. 

- Stephanie Smith, BCGEU president 

Learn more about Joan Gower in the BCGEU's documentary on women and the BCGEU: We are the union: Women's Work [hyperlink: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMpeM3N04Bk]

August 16, 2017

Standing against hatred in our communities - BCGEU

As I read reports and watch coverage of the events unfolding in Charlottesville, it saddens me to see the rise of hateful, intolerant rhetoric in our public discourse. These bigoted beliefs have no place in the just and equitable society that so many BCGEU members fight to achieve every day.

 

Nonetheless, it's inspiring to see so many members of the Charlottesville community and activists across the world standing up to oppose hatred and prejudice and to protect those threatened by the actions of these far-right groups.

 

On behalf of our 73,000 members, the BCGEU's provincial executive and I stand in solidarity as we oppose the rise of white supremacism, whether in Charlottesville or elsewhere in the world.

 

It's important to stand up to face injustice wherever we see it. Unfortunately, sometimes that means facing burgeoning hatred in our own communities, and this Saturday in Vancouver is one of those times.

 

A growing coalition of anti-racist groups will be standing together to oppose a right-wing rally that seeks to divide and destabilize our community.

 

A number of BCGEU members will be meeting together to join the forces of unity and tolerance, and I hope that you can join us.

 

Click here for details: BCGEU Stands Up Against Racism

August 14, 2017

Labour Day Picnic - BCGEU

The BCGEU Area 01Cross Component Committee invites all BCGEU members and their families to participate in the 29TH Annual Labour Day Event(hosted by the Victoria Labour Council)

 

 

Date: Monday, September 4th - 2017
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Location: On the Lawn of the BC Legislature

 

Please join us for an afternoon of fun for the whole family!

We will have games, clowns, a bouncy castle and snacks for the kids. Also great music by the Timebenders.

 

Please drop by the BCGEU table!

 

In solidarity

 

Susanne Francoeur, Area 01 Cross Component Chairperson

 

 

Local 467/MoveUP


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August 11, 2017

Community health workers avoid strike action, negotiate tentative agreement -...

BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) members have reached a tentative agreement with their employer, We Care Home Health Services, a decision that came late last night before a rotating strike was set to begin this morning.

After joining the union last July, the BCGEU bargaining committee began negotiations to improve working conditions for the 221 community health workers at the home support agency. After several months of difficult talks, and resolve by the workers to reach a fair deal, the terms of the tentative agreement are expected to be voted on later this month.

"We are pleased to have reached a tentative agreement that provides our members with improved compensation, protects fair scheduling, and brings other significant improvements that will enable workers to provide reliable and consistent care to their clients," says BCGEU treasurer Paul Finch. "The union will recommend acceptance of the agreement to members."

The workers provide home support services mainly to seniors, and also work in areas such as addictions, youth palliative care, and mental health care.

"As B.C.'s population continues to age, the demand for home care support will simultaneously increase. This agreement puts all involved in a better position to help meet this demand, and provide the best in care so our seniors can age in place and with dignity," says Finch.

The BCGEU is one of the largest and most diverse unions in British Columbia with over 73,000 members and represents 10,000 workers in community health services throughout the province.

 For more information contact: Bronwen Barnett, BCGEU Communications | e: bronwen.barnett@bcgeu.ca | c: 604-719-4713

August 11, 2017

Casino workers vote overwhelmingly in favour of job action against Great Cana...

August 11, 2017

 

Casino workers vote overwhelmingly in favour of job action against Great Canadian Casinos

 

Workers at River Rock Casino this week voted 99.4 per cent in favour of a strike if necessary to back their contract proposals.

In nearly a year of negotiations between the BCGEU and the employer, Great Canadian Casinos, the two sides have failed to achieve a first collective agreement. It's not for a lack of effort on our part.

"We welcomed River Rock employees into our union knowing their working conditions needed to be improved and we were determined to achieve that," said BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. "We've spent many months now trying to move the employer on a number of key issues and it just hasn't happened. Strike mandates are always a last resort, but we've been left with no choice."

Participation in the strike vote demonstrated the determination of members to achieve a fair collective agreement. Nearly 90 per cent of the 977 BCGEU members at River Rock who were eligible to vote did so.

Mediated talks are expected to take place next week. If those fail, the prospect of job action will become more likely - a move that could cost Great Canadian Casinos millions in lost revenue.

"It's hard to feel confident that Great Canadian is bargaining in good faith. All we're asking for is a fair deal for workers. We urge the employer to come back to the bargaining table with a view to getting a deal done," said Smith.

The BCGEU is one of the largest and most diverse unions in British Columbia. We represent more than 73,000 members across all sectors of the economy, including over 3800 workers in casinos.

 For more information contact: Bronwen Barnett, BCGEU Communications
| e: bronwen.barnett@bcgeu.ca | c: 604-719-4713

August 08, 2017

Community health workers launch strike for fair wages and fair scheduling - B...

Following several months of unsuccessful negotiations seeking fair wages and fair scheduling provisions, 221 community support workers will go on strike Friday. The workers, employed by home support agency We Care Home Health Services, will initiate a rotating strike to emphasize the need for a fair contract.

 “Community health workers are trained professionals, and the vital work they do must be coordinated and compensated fairly,” says BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. “Many of these workers are on the front lines of the most pressing health issues in our province. It is critical that they are supported with fair wages and reasonable schedules so that we can retain and recruit the best in the profession to care for those in need.”

We Care employees are currently paid less than direct employees doing the same work at Fraser Health – the health authority that contracts them through We Care – and they are seeking to narrow that pay gap. Further, their employer is attempting to backslide on fair scheduling practices currently in place, such as moving from weekly to daily scheduling, a move that would put already stressed and underpaid workers in a more precarious position.

 “As these workers fight for what is fair in terms of wages and appropriate scheduling provisions, they will ensure the strike has as little negative impact as possible on those that depend on their care and services” says Smith. “Essential services such as providing medications or meal preparation will not be disrupted.”

The BCGEU is one of the largest and most diverse unions in British Columbia with over 73,000 members and represents 10,000 workers in community health services throughout the province.

For more information contact: Bronwen Barnett, BCGEU Communications | e: bronwen.barnett@bcgeu.ca | c: 604-719-4713