June 22, 2018

Public service agreement ratification process under way - BCGEU

Public service agreement ratification process under way


 Now that a tentative agreement for direct government workers has been reached, the ratification process is under way. Here is what you can expect in the coming weeks:

Ratification Bulletin:

A comprehensive ratification bulletin containing all the proposed changes to the collective agreement is being prepared and will be mailed to all public service members in the coming weeks. You will have time to review it before voting.

Member Portal:

All the ratification documents are being posted on the member portal as soon as they are available. Make sure the union has your correct contact information by logging in to the Member Portal ( If you need to register, click on the 'Not sure if you are registered?' link and submit your information online.

Telephone Town Hall Meetings:

Two telephone town hall meetings for public service workers have been scheduled, for Tuesday, July 10 and Thursday, July 12. Members will receive email and telephone notices to let you register for the events or call in directly.

Regional Meetings:

Information and voting meetings are being scheduled to take place at all 12 area offices around the province in July. A meeting schedule will be included in the Ratification Bulletin, or by logging on to the BCGEU member portal and downloading the files.


Ballot packages are being printed and distributed to stewards. Shop stewards and mail contact members will be conducting votes on the tentative agreement at work sites across the province. Clause 2.6 of the collective agreement entitles stewards to undertake ratification vote duties on work time and without loss of pay.

When casting your vote, you will be asked to vote on two agreements – the Public Service Main Agreement, as well as your individual Component Agreement. Details on the component agreements are available at the BCGEU member portal, as well as at area offices.

Vote Count:

The ballot counting of all public service members' votes will take place on August 8, 2018 at BCGEU HQ in Burnaby. All ballots must be submitted to HQ or any Area Office by the close of business (5:00 pm) Tuesday, August 7th. 

Download PDF of notice here


July 03, 2018

Gateway’s Okanagan casino workers going on strike - BCGEU

Unionized Gateway Casinos workers in Kamloops, Kelowna, Vernon and Penticton intend to walk off the job today at 3:01 p.m.

More than 675 Gateway workers affiliated with the BC Government and Service Employees' Union will set up picket lines in front of the Cascades Kamloops, Cascades Penticton, Playtime Kelowna and Lake City Vernon casinos after mediation talks broke down earlier this week.





July 02, 2018

Union to host housing panel discussion in Kelowna - BCGEU

One of B.C.'s largest unions is tackling the issue of housing.

The B.C. Government and Service Employees Union (BCGEU) will host a panel of experts and community members in Kelowna Tuesday, July 3 to speak about different ways to tackle the affordability crisis.





June 29, 2018

Gateway's Okanagan casino workers on strike - BCGEU

Gateway's Okanagan casino workers on strike

Workers in Kamloops, Kelowna, Vernon and Penticton will walk off the job on Friday

(Okanagan) Over 675 members of the BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) working at Gateway Casinos in the Okanagan are walking off the job at 3:01 pm on Friday, June 29. Casino workers at Cascades Kamloops, Cascades Penticton, Playtime Kelowna and Lake City Vernon are set to strike after mediation broke down earlier this week.

"Our members are asking for living wages that would bring them in-line with the industry standard for casino workers in BC," says BCGEU President Stephanie Smith.

"These workers are the heart of their casinos. Gateway is a successful company in a highly profitable industry – they can afford to pay their staff what they are worth."

Smith explains, "by paying workers living wages, the money that Gateway makes in the Okanagan stays in the local economy instead of going to Vancouver, or even Ontario where Gateway owns several large properties."

In a vote held from June 4 to 6, over 88% of Gateway staff in all four Okanagan casinos came out and voted 93.1% in favour of taking strike action. On Monday, June 25, the union delivered the required 72-hours-notice of strike action.

Gateway's Okanagan staff have been trying to negotiate a new collective agreement since the last one expired in September 2017.

Negotiations broke off in May after the employer refused to offer wages and benefits that are industry standard at comparable casinos. Both parties met for a few days of mediated talks over the past two weeks but could not reach an agreement on key monetary issues.

Smith says the employer's offer is unacceptable. "The wages Gateway are offering won't even keep ahead of the planned minimum wage increases."

"Our members will be standing strong on the picket lines until they get a fair offer from the company."

BCGEU represents around 675 staff spread across Gateway's four casinos in the Okanagan: Playtime Casino in Kelowna, Lake City Casino in Vernon, and Cascades Casinos in Kamloops and Penticton. BCGEU members work in table games, as slot attendants, cashiers, in the count room, kitchen, security, guest services and maintenance.


June 29, 2018

Professional Reliance Reform Is A Step Forward For B.C. - BCGEU

Yesterday, we welcomed the final report on the independent professional reliance review, the result of an eight-month review process led by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy to examine professional reliance in the natural resource sector. The comprehensive report clearly identifies the problems with professional reliance and provides concrete recommendations to make the system work better for everyone.
We urge the provincial government to move forward immediately on the recommendations and to take meaningful steps toward restoring public trust in government decision-making.
The professional reliance model was adopted by the former B.C. Liberal government as part of a dramatic plan to reduce "red tape" and weaken environmental and health protection laws. B.C.'s civil service – the professionals responsible for stewarding B.C.'s resources and natural environment – was slashed by over 25 per cent. Qualified professionals, hired by industry, assumed greater responsibility for decision-making and oversight of projects, often at the expense of the public interest and the environment.
I believe that the government needs to reclaim its leadership role in resource and environmental stewardship. For too long, corporations were allowed to certify their own resource plans and police their own operations, creating a conflict of interest. 
The report puts forward 121 recommendations as a roadmap to improve and strengthen the rules governing natural resource management and environmental protection including:

  • 2 recommendations to restructure the governance of professional associations by creating new legislation and establishing a new government agency
  • 32 sweeping recommendations to strengthen natural resource regulatory regimes including improving laws, regulations, Indigenous engagement and improve information
  • 87 specific regulatory regimes

A key recommendation in the report is to significantly improve staffing, capacity and organizational culture in key government agencies that are mandated with land use planning, protecting wildlife and habitat, stewarding forest and mineral resources and ensuring that our air and watersheds are properly managed. The report identified that a "culture of deference" that leads many resource managers see their primary role as advocating for a particular industry, or that they are unable to speak out about issues that arise.

I was encouraged to see many of our members' concerns reflected throughout the final report. Our members, many of whom directly work to protect our environment and manage our natural resources, know first-hand the problems of the professional reliance system. You can read our submission to the provincial government here. 

Reforming the professional reliance system is an important step forward for the province. However, for real change to be made on-the-ground, the provincial government must also improve legislation that governs our natural resources and rebuild the public agencies mandated to protect our land, water and natural resources.
I look forward to continuing to bring our members' voices and concerns to the provincial government and in ensuring that the recommendations of this timely report are brought to life.
In solidarity,
Stephanie Smith
To build our collective power, BCGEU has joined forces with the Professional Employees Association, Ecojustice, Organizing for Change, the BC Wildlife Federation and others in the non-profit and union communities to reflect the concerns of the public, government officials and concerned and knowledgeable individuals. 
You can read the final report of the Professional Reliance review at:


June 29, 2018

BCGEU to host public meeting on housing affordability crisis in the Okanagan ...

KELOWNA, June 29, 2018 – Since taking power, government has implemented a number of major policy changes and promised to invest billions into affordable housing. This has been a great start but as housing prices continue to soar, the Okanagan has become one of the least affordable regions in Canada, and many people across the political spectrum feel more can be done.

This event will host a panel of experts and community members to speak about different ways in which they are helping to tackle the affordability crisis.

The panel, moderated by BCGEU Treasurer and co-author of the report Building an Affordable B.C. Paul Finch, includes:

  • Harpinder Sandhu – Co-author of the report Building an Affordable B.C.; CUPE 1767 member

  • Kari Michaels – BCGEU Executive Vice President and lead on the Affordable BC Campaign

  • Norah Bowman – Professor of English and Gender, Sexuality & Women's Studies at Okanagan College, former NDP candidate and local activist

The BCGEU will also present recommendations from the report Building an Affordable B.C. (, including how the provincial government can strengthen its 30-point housing plan to address the root of the crisis: speculation on the part of financial institutions and wealthy investors in the housing market.
WHAT: BCGEU to host public meeting on housing affordability crisis

WHEN: Tuesday, July 3, 2018, 6:30 pm start (doors open at 6:15 pm)

WHERE: BCGEU Kelowna Office, 1064 Borden Avenue

Read more about the event here and see our post-budget media release here: Government must take bolder action on speculation tax

For more information contact Bronwen Barnett, BCGEU Communications Officer at 604-719-4713 or


June 28, 2018

Gateway’s Okanagan casino workers to strike - BCGEU

More than 675 Okanagan casino workers will walk off the job this week.

Casino workers at Cascades Kamloops, Cascades Penticton, Playtime Kelowna and Lake City Vernon are set to strike Friday, June 29, after mediation broke down earlier this week.

"Our members are asking for living wages that would bring them in-line with the industry standard for casino workers in BC," said BCGEU President Stephanie Smith, in a press release.




June 27, 2018

CSSBA reaches tentative agreement for Indigenous services workers - BCGEU

The Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) and the Community Social Services Employers' Association (CSSEA) have reached a tentative three-year collective agreement for Aboriginal Services. This agreement provides significant compensation increases for workers in this sector while meeting the government mandate of improving the services British Columbians count on.


Highlights of the tentative agreement include significant money for low wage redress for all members in addition to general wage increases, as well as strong improvements to language and policy to ensure culturally appropriate care is provided and prioritized.


The BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) is the lead union in the bargaining association consisting of 10 unions including CUPE, HEU, HSA, CSWU, UFCW, USW, SEIU, CLAC and BCNU and representing 16,000 members.



June 25, 2018

Casino workers reach tentative agreement at Hard Rock - BCGEU

Deal reached after more than six weeks on strike


(Coquitlam) - After being on strike for more than six weeks, over 400 members of the BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) working at Hard Rock Casino Vancouver in Coquitlam have reached a tentative agreement with their employer.


"Through their hard work and unity, Hard Rock workers have a solid first agreement on the table," says BCGEU President Stephanie Smith.


"These workers have stuck together and it has paid off - I'm so proud of the commitment and solidarity our members have shown."

Employees at Hard Rock voted to join the BCGEU in May 2016 and have been trying to negotiate a first collective agreement with their employer since January 2017. When they reached impasse earlier this year, 99.5% of Hard Rock workers voted in favour of strike action.


Over 400 workers at the casino walked off the job on May 11, 2018 after mediation broke down. Major issues included wages and hours of work.


Both sides reached a deal in mediation over the weekend. Union members at the casino will vote on the tentative agreement later this week.

"We won't be releasing details until the members have had a chance to look over and ratify the agreement but, the bargaining committee is pleased with the achievements they've made and are recommending their co-workers vote to accept the deal," says Smith.


"I want to give my whole-hearted thanks to the bargaining committee for working tirelessly on behalf of their fellow BCGEU members. This truly is a ground-breaking deal that will help achieve fairness for casino workers across the industry."


BCGEU represents thousands of casino workers in the province including over 400 staff at Hard Rock working in table games, as slot attendants, cashiers, in the count room, kitchen, security, theatre and guest services.