May 31, 2017

BCGEU congratulates BC Greens and BC NDP on historic agreement - BCGEU


We welcome yesterday’s historic agreement between the BC NDP caucus and BC Green caucus.
“Three weeks after B.C. went to the polls we now finally have a clearer idea of what the next government’s priorities are going to be going forward.” said Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President. “The Green and NDP Confidence and Supply Agreement sets the stage for four years of stable government that is founded on transparency, collaboration and is rooted in the spirit of Reconciliation and the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”
The agreement, a first of its kind in B.C. politics outlines a collaborative and open framework for decision making between two parties that together earned over 56% of the vote in the 2017 election. The BCGEU welcomes this approach, and is hopeful that through this framework major progress will be achieved on issues that BCGEU members have long been advocating for.
For years BCGEU members have been calling on the government to take decisive action on climate change, to implement a poverty reduction strategy, to strengthen the rights of workers and their safety on the job. Members have written, phoned, and talked to their elected representatives about improving home care for seniors, about investing in early childhood education and childcare, calling for a $15 per hour minimum wage, and investment in quality public transit. It is through their hard work and efforts that many of these issues became central to the political discourse, and ultimately found their way into this agreement.
On the whole, there is a lot in this agreement for working people to be hopeful about: a strong commitment to a revitalized forestry sector, a new credible Environmental Assessment process centered on safety and sustainability, investment in child protection and hiring more social workers, as well as funding Adult Basic Education and English as a Second Language programs.
Smith noted that “It is encouraging to see strong agreement on so many important issues ahead of a new budget. In particular, the commitment on mental health supports stands out as important. This commitment elevates strategies that recognize the urgency around the opioid crisis, which we know is having a devastating effect on workers and the communities in which they live.”
If the NDP and Greens can work together over the next four years to deliver on the promises outlined in this document, it will be a major step forward for a British Columbia that lifts up all people, that provides a transparent and accountable government, and that protects our environment for future generations.
The BCGEU looks forward to the opportunity of meeting with MLAs of all parties once the legislature is recalled to discuss the timely implementation of these policies, and to offer the input of the more than 73, 000 BCGEU members who live, work, and vote in British Columbia.


May 26, 2017

Michael Hudson on the Vancouver Affordability Crisis - BCGEU

On April 14, over 400 people packed the sold-out Rio Theatre to hear economist Michael Hudson talk about the Vancouver affordability crisis in an event organized by the BCGEU and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

His presentation and the following Q&A touched on the links between global financial systems and the real estate market. His talk explores the ways in which rising real estate prices are actually making the city poorer, not wealthier.

As a union representing workers across BC, the BCGEU is taking this issue seriously. That is why we brought Michael Hudson to start this important conversation within our communities.

You can watch the entire recording of his talk and two short clips below:

Full video



Michael Hudson on Debt Deflation



Michael Hudson on the Curse of Rising Real Estate Prices





Local 467/MoveUP

May 24, 2017

OHS Courses for Labour Code OHS Committee Members in the Victoria Area - BCGEU

"Joint OHS Committee Training" will be held on Tuesday, July 18 and "Incident Investigations" will be held on Wednesday, July 19. These courses will be held at the BCGEU office at 2994 Douglas St, Victoria from 9:00 am - 4:30 pm.

In the Joint OHS Committee Training course you will learn:

  • Worker OHS rights, including the refusal of unsafe work procedure
  • OHS legislation
  • Roles and responsibilities of employers, workers, supervisors and committees
  • Hazard identification and control measures
  • How to conduct effective workplace inspections and incident investigations
  • Resources available to the committee

In the Incident Investigations you will learn:

  • The legislative requirements for conducting accident/incident investigations
  • How to get to the contributing factors by conducting effective witness interviews and examining physical evidence
  • How to assess the evidence in order to recommend effective corrective measures

These courses are limited to 22 seats so register early to avoid disappointment at:

Don't miss out on this opportunity to improve your ability to advocate for workers' health and safety rights - register today.

Note: If you have not taken your annual education leave, as mandated by the Workers' Compensation Act and your Collective Agreement - apply for this employer paid leave through your employer.



Local 467/MoveUP

May 16, 2017

Provincial Government Awards Contract for Asbestos Inventory - BCGEU

The B.C. Government has taken a step forward in its commitment to create an inventory of asbestos in government buildings built before 1990 by awarding the contract to Pinchin West.

There are over 750 government buildings that must be inspected as part of this initiative and it is estimated the inventory will take about 18 months to complete.

Until the inventory has been completed, there will be no renovations or improvements done on government buildings to protect the health and safety of government staff and the public.

Asbestos remains the number one cause of death for workers in the province. Just last year, 44% of work-related deaths were attributed to asbestos-related illness, according to WorkSafeBC. This number is expected to continue to grow over the next decade as workers exposed to asbestos in the past and into today see their health deteriorate.

“It is very encouraging to see the government is moving forward on this file, but there is still a lot of work to be done.” said Stephanie Smith, President of the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union. “Too many workers are still exposed to asbestos on a daily basis, and better regulation and enforcement is still needed.”

Asbestos is still found in building materials, auto parts and other industrial materials, putting workers and consumers at risk of exposure.

The B.C. Government made the commitment to create the asbestos inventory earlier this year following the lead of the Federal Government. The Federal Government is expected to introduce a ban on asbestos by 2018.

Quick Facts:

  • Asbestos was declared a human carcinogen by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer in 1987
  • According to WCB asbestos exposure has led to over 600 accepted worker related deaths between 2005 and 2016
  • According to WCB asbestos related deaths accounted for 75% of all occupational disease deaths and about 44% of all accepted deaths in 2016
  • Breathing of asbestos fibres can lead to health problems that include asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma (a cancer), and pleural thickening (a lung disease)



Local 467/MoveUP

May 15, 2017

Post-election message from Stephanie Smith - BCGEU

While we wait for the final results of recounts and absentee ballots, it’s become clear just how important your vote can be: one party is currently leading Courtenay-Comox by just 9 votes and another is leading in Richmond-Queensborough by only 263 votes.

Regardless of the outcome, we will continue to work with government as we advocate for improved public services and supports across BC – including on those issues that BCGEU members identified as a priority during our WeVote campaign.

I would also like to thank all the BCGEU members who made the choice to run as candidates in this election: Bryce Casavant, Scott Elliott, Sue Moen, Sue Powell and Preet Rai, and to congratulate former BCGEU President George Heyman on his re-election as the MLA for Vancouver-Fairview.

Thanks to all our members who voted, volunteered and otherwise took part in this important election.

Stephanie Smith



Local 467/MoveUP

May 04, 2017

BC Employment Standards Coalition releases report: Why BC Employment Standard...

Today the BC Employment Standards Coalition released a powerful report called Workers’ Stories of Exploitation & Abuse: Why BC Employment Standards Need to Change. The report is based on a series of Workers’ Forums the coalition hosted over the past few months in the Lower Mainland and Victoria to give voice to BC workers who have been treated unfairly. The report brings the inadequacies of the current minimum standards of employment and the current system of enforcement in BC into public view, and makes detailed recommendations about how the Employment Standards Act must change to ensure all workers are guaranteed decent working conditions.

The BC Employment Standards Coalition aims to promote and build public support for strong progressive employment standards legislation and adequately resourced, proactive enforcement that responds to the needs of all workers. The BCGEU is a member of the Coalition and supports its efforts to ensure decent wages, working conditions, respect and dignity for all workers in BC.

May 04, 2017

Day of Mourning honours lives lost on the job - BCGEU

About 25 people gathered at City Hall Friday afternoon to march in honour of those who lost their lives in the workplace.

The annual Day of Mourning recognizes the need for safe work practices and those who died on the job.

Kurt Langdon, an equipment operator with the city of Fort St. John and local chair for the BCGEU, said he was pleased to see the number of people that came out.


April 27, 2017

Les Leyne: B.C. leaders lie low on legal highs ahead - BCGEU

Campaigning provincial politicians have dozens of changes in mind for B.C., but they are scarcely talking about the major adjustment that’s coming, regardless of who wins the election. For all the competing visions being outlined by provincial leaders, the federal government’s move to legalize marijuana is going to be the single biggest revamp on the social and political scene. It was introduced last week and could be in effect by next summer (just in time to help cope with Peter Mansbridge’s retirement). Still, Liberal, NDP and Green campaigns have scarcely taken notice. 


April 26, 2017

BCGEU Equity and Human Rights Conference 2017 - BCGEU

Rise Up & Reboot: BCGEU Equity and Human Rights Conference 2017

The BCGEU 50th Triennial Convention is taking place June 14 -17, 2017.  

As part of convention, the Equity and Human Rights Conference is taking place on June 18 and 19, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver Hotel, for members who identify with one or more of four equity groups: workers of colour, workers with disabilities, aboriginal workers and LGBTQI2S workers.

Registered members will be participating in educational workshops, hear inspirational special guest speakers and participate in the election of your new BCGEU Equity and Human Rights Committee, which will serve for the next three years.

Members who identify with one or more of the four equity groups are invited to attend and participate.  

If you wish to attend, you must register by May 12, 2017.