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NEWS

October 05, 2021

B.C. Gov announces vaccine mandate for public service workers BCGEU

The head of B.C.'s public service announced today that all B.C. public service workers will be required to provide proof of full vaccination beginning November 22, 2021. The current flexible work arrangement has also been deferred to November 22. We haven't seen the full policy as it has not yet been released, and we are waiting to understand what exemptions and accommodations will be in place. Our union will continue to update members when we have additional information.

Our union supports the right of all workers to safe and healthy workplaces. That's why, from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the BCGEU has pushed for best practice health and safety measures for communities and workplaces including mandatory masks, physical distancing, remote work arrangements, paid sick leave and vaccines for all who are able. And that's why we will continue to call for a mask mandate to be implemented uniformly in all public service workplaces.
 
In the meantime, if you have not yet been vaccinated and are eligible to do so, here are links to vaccine clinics in your area:

For more info about the COVID-19 vaccine: visit the BC CDC



UWU/MoveUP

September 29, 2021

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation - a day for education and action - ...

Tomorrow is the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and our union encourages all members to take the day to reflect and take steps toward reconciliation in our communities.
 
For several years, September 30 has been recognized as Orange Shirt Day -- a day to bring attention to the legacy and ongoing impacts of the residential school system on Indigenous communities. It commemorated the story of residential school survivor Phyllis Webstad who had her beloved orange shirt taken from her on the day she arrived at the St. Joseph Mission Residential School in Williams Lake, BC – click here to read more about the origin of Orange Shirt Day. Following the revelations of mass graves at former residential schools earlier this year, the federal government recognized September 30 as a federal statutory holiday, in accordance with call to action #80 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
 
The path of reconciliation is full of hard truths that may be uncomfortable for non-Indigenous people, but it is essential to engage in this process and take guidance from Indigenous members and community members.

How can I take action?
 
Events - Around the province and online, events will be taking place to recognize the impacts that Canada’s colonial history has had on Indigenous communities. Given the state of the COVID-19 pandemic, members are encouraged to join events at a level that is comfortable to them, be that online or in-person.

Education - Reconciliation is an ongoing process, and in addition to the events that are occurring tomorrow, our union has gathered a variety of resources including suggestions of some Indigenous businesses to support, Indigenous social media thought leaders to follow, and links for non-Indigenous people to better understand Canada’s painful colonial legacy and its impact on Indigenous peoples.

The BCGEU is committed to reconciliation and breaking down barriers to participation for Indigenous members in our union. The labour movement is founded on the principles of justice, dignity and respect. We must be leaders in supporting the rights of Indigenous peoples both in society and in the workplace.
 
In Solidarity,
 
Your BCGEU Provincial Executive

UWU/MoveUP

September 10, 2021

BCGEU provides submission to BC Gov’t to help build a long-term economic plan...

BCGEU provides submission to BC Gov't to help build a long-term economic plan for B.C.

This past June, the B.C. government requested input from business, labour, Indigenous and other stakeholders for the development of our province's long-term, post-pandemic economic plan.

Your union represented the voices of our 82,000 members in the consultative process, which involved Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation and a team of advisors from the University College London (UCL)'s Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose. In addition to participating in stakeholder engagement sessions this summer, your union also delivered a comprehensive submission to Minister Kahlon. 

Our submission, made on behalf of the BCGEU membership, provided recommendations rooted in the perspective of working people across the province and aimed at equitably guiding the province through the post-pandemic era.

The submission covered climate action and the transition to a greener economy, building resilience in our social systems, strengthening economic inclusion and equity, and how to ensure fairness moving forward. Another central theme was to shift the narrative to accurately position government and the public sector as major economic contributors.

BCGEU President Stephanie Smith advocated strongly for workers throughout the process, concluding that "Our union knows that a new and ambitious economic plan will mark a major step toward ongoing recovery, future opportunity and prosperity, and also the symbolic commitment to a larger social project aimed at building a better, fairer British Columbia."

The government's economic plan is expected to be released later this fall.



UWU/MoveUP

September 02, 2021

Solidarity in Post-Secondary Labour Movement - BCGEU

Solidarity in Post-Secondary Labour Movement

(British Columbia, September 2, 2021) – With last week's ever-changing landscape in COVID-related announcements affecting BC's post-secondary sector we saw what's possible amidst chaos. Union leaders jumped to action to represent their members in a variety of ways and one of those ways was that we, the undersigned unions, came together as a collective to keep each other informed and discuss strategies. While we all have different structures and memberships, foremost on our minds was the health and safety of campus communities.

As advocates for our members and crucial partners in post-secondary we made ourselves available to work with the government and employers to discuss measures based on what we were hearing from members.

At an uncertain time like this, with Labour Day approaching, we want to celebrate the power of solidarity.

As union leaders, we stand united with all workers across all post-secondary institutions. We support employers in being advocates for staff, faculty, and students. As unions we welcome communication, consultation, and clarity – these are key factors in the successful operations of our campuses. This is why we came together to share what we were hearing and why we will continue to fight for equitable, accessible, and well-supported public education in BC while honouring the different working realities for our memberships.

Signed by:

Colin Jones, President and Michael Conlon, Executive Director
BCIT Faculty & Staff Association

Cindy Battersby, Vice-President Component 7 BC General Employees' Union

Daniel Laitsch, President and Annabree Fairweather, Executive Director Confederation of University Faculty Associations of BC

Brent Calvert, President and Sean Parkinson, Secretary-Treasurer Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC

Christy Slusarenko, Vice-President and Nathan Beausoleil, Union Representative
MoveUP

BC Post-Secondary Education Sector Group

Representing over 24,000 faculty and staff, teaching and supporting 175,000 full-time-equivalent students in post-secondary across British Columbia.


BC Institute of Technology Faculty & Staff Association: BCITFSA https://www.bcitfsa.ca/ 

The BCIT Faculty & Staff Association (BCITFSA) is a certified trade union and a member-driven association that represents 1,800+ full-time and part-time technological faculty and staff at the B.C. Institute of Technology (BCIT). The BCITFSA has worked since 1964 for excellent working conditions for all members through representation, negotiation, and advocacy. The well-being of BCIT as a unique educational institution in British Columbia is at the heart of our work.

President – Colin Jones [email protected]

Executive Director – Michael Conlon mc[email protected]

BC General Employees' Union – Component 7  https://www.bcgeu.ca/component-7 

Component 7 is the Education, Scientific, Technical and Administration unit of BC GEU, and includes members who work in colleges and institutes as instructors and support staff, in private environmental testing laboratories, legal services, and other related fields. Employers include community colleges, the B.C. Institute of Technology, the Justice Institute of B.C., private labs, BC NDP Caucus and Constituency Offices, legal services to the public and many more. 

Vice President Component 7 – Cindy Battersby [email protected]

Confederation of University Faculty Associations of BC: CUFA BC https://www.cufa.bc.ca/ 

CUFA BC represents over 5,500 faculty members, professional librarians, lecturers, instructors, and other academics at the five research-intensive universities in British Columbia, which include University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, University of Victoria, Royal Roads University and University of Northern British Columbia. CUFA BC celebrates fifty years of working closely with the member Faculty Associations at each institution. Our purposes are to support high-quality post-secondary education and research in British Columbia and to advocate for the interests of our members.

President – Dr. Dan Laitsch [email protected]

Executive Director – Annabree Fairweather [email protected]

Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC: FPSE https://www.fpse.ca/

The Federation of Post-Secondary Educators is the provincial voice of 10,000 faculty and staff at BC's teaching universities, colleges, institutes and private sector institutions.

President – Brent Calvert [email protected]

Secretary Treasurer – Sean Parkinson [email protected]

Movement of United Professionals: MoveUP https://moveuptogether.ca/ 

The Movement of United Professionals (MoveUP) represents more than 12,000 union members at public and private sector companies in Western Canada. MoveUP is Local 378 of the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union (COPE-SEPB). 

Vice-President – Christy Slusarenko [email protected]

Union Representative – Nathan Beausoleil [email protected]



UWU/MoveUP

August 30, 2021

B.C. government liquor and cannabis workers rally for essential pay outside e...

B.C. government liquor and cannabis workers rally for essential pay outside employer's head office, September 1

BURNABY, COAST SALISH TERRITORIES – After five months without response from the Minister of Finance, B.C. General Employees' Union (BCGEU) members working for the BC Liquor Distribution Branch (BCLDB) will rally outside the BCLDB's head office to call for their employer's support in receiving the Minister of Finance's authorization to provide essential pay for workers' government-deemed essential work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

BCGEU members have invited BCLDB CEO/GM Blain Lawson to join them for the rally.

Who: BCLDB workers from government liquor and cannabis stores and warehouses, union representatives including BCGEU Treasurer Paul Finch, Vice President Kusam Doal, and Executive Vice Presidents Judy Phipps, Kari Michaels, Doug Kinna and James Coccola

What: Public rally outside BCLDB head office

When: 10:00 am Wednesday September 1

Where: BCLDB head office: 3383 Gilmore Way, Burnaby

Visuals: Crowd of workers with flags, t-shirts and balloons; representatives addressing the crowd

BACKGROUND:

On March 26, 2020, the provincial government declared BCLDB workers at government liquor and cannabis stores and warehouses to be essential. Despite their essential designation, serving the public safely and enduring health risks throughout the pandemic, and generating record revenues for the province, these workers were excluded from the province's Temporary Pandemic Pay (TPP) program.

In September 2020, workers began calling on their employer, BCLDB CEO and General Manager Blain Lawson, to use pandemic-generated record BCLDB revenues to provide workers with essential pay – as encouraged by former Minister of Finance Carole James.

In March 2021, Lawson deferred the decision to provide essential pay from BCLDB revenues to the Minister of Finance who oversees the BCLDB.

On April 14, 2021, workers began – with rallies in Coquitlam and Victoria – to call on Minister of Finance Selina Robinson to authorize Lawson to use BCLDB funds for their essential pay. Supporters from the public have since sent thousands of emails to Minister Robinson, with no response.

The rally on September 1st, which will be celebratory in nature, comes just months before BCLDB workers begin bargaining for a new collective agreement with their employer, the B.C. government.

The BCGEU is B.C.'s most dynamic, diverse, and fastest growing union -- representing more than 82,000 members who work in every sector of the economy and live in every community across the province including approximately 3,500 staff at BC Liquor and Cannabis Stores and BCLDB warehouses.

For more information please contact [email protected]

UWU/MoveUP

August 26, 2021

BCGEU welcomes the return of provincial mask mandate, calls for employers to ...

BCGEU welcomes the return of provincial mask mandate, calls for employers to ensure safe worksites

BURNABY, B.C. (Coast Salish Territories) – Members of the B.C. General Employees' Union (BCGEU) are pleased by the reissuing of a provincial mask mandate for indoor, public spaces, and calling it an important layer of protection for front-line workers.

"Vaccines are an amazing tool in stopping the spread of COVID-19, but many essential service worksites will not be covered by the 'proof of vaccination' program and will continue to assist the public regardless of their vaccination status," said Paul Finch, BCGEU Treasurer. "A mask mandate will go a long way toward ensuring the safety of front-line workers."

In a recent survey of BCGEU members, over 75 per cent of respondents supported calling for the return of an indoor mask mandate in B.C.

The BCGEU has been one of the foremost organizational voices calling for an indoor mask mandate in B.C. The union began urging the provincial government to institute an indoor mask mandate in the summer of 2020 and continued to advocate for the reinstatement of the mandate after it was lifted in July 2021.

"We know it takes a number of measures to maintain a safe worksite – vaccines, masks, access to PPE, paid sick time, distancing, and other measures – and all workers have a right to safe, healthy workplaces," said Finch. "BCGEU members are calling on government and employers to step up to protect workers until community transmission of the virus is truly halted."

The BCGEU represents over 82,000 members in a number of sectors across B.C.'s economy including staff at BC Liquor and Cannabis Stores, Service BC centres, private and post-secondary schools, and other workplaces that serve members of the public and will not be part of the province's 'proof of vaccination' program set to roll out in September.


The BCGEU is B.C.'s most dynamic, diverse, and fastest growing union -- representing more than 82,000 members who work in every sector of the economy and live in every community across the province.

Contact:
Aaron Donovan, Communications Coordinator
[email protected] 



UWU/MoveUP

August 25, 2021

UPDATE: Public Service remote work and mask mandate - BCGEU

UPDATE - Remote work and mask mandate

We are pleased to report that the BC Public Service has agreed to our request -- see Monday's bulletin and letter here -- to allow employees who are working from home to continue to do so beyond the September 7 deadline without an approved telework agreement until at least October 12.

Our union will continue to advocate for health and safety precautions that protect members and will actively contest any premature relaxation of those measures.
 
Click here to read the letter from the Head of the BC Public Service.

NOTE: Members who wish to continue working remotely long-term (beyond October 12) must still have an approved telework agreement in place by September 7, but the agreement's hours won't take effect until the full reopening of offices.

Additionally, the B.C. Government's reissuing of an indoor mask mandate starting on August 25 will further protect public service employees providing essential services to the public.
 
Your Public Service Bargaining committee will continue to monitor these policies and will keep you up-to-date as new information becomes available. Again, if you have any questions about implementation or any other concerns at your workplace, please contatct your BCGEU union steward.
 
In solidarity,
 
Your BCGEU Public Service Bargaining Committee
Stephanie Smith, President
Paul Finch, Treasurer
Kari Michaels, Executive Vice President
Dean Purdy, Vice President - Component 1
Kusam Doal, Vice President - Component 5
Judy Fox-McGuire, Vice President - Component 6
Cynthia Mepham-Egli, Component 6 Second Vice-Chairperson
Maria Middlemiss, Vice President - Component 12
Matt Damario, Component 12 First Vice-Chairperson
Robert Davis, Vice President - Component 20
Doug Dykens, Director - Field Services & Negotiations
Mike Eso, Secretary
Lisa Lane, Support Staff



UWU/MoveUP

August 23, 2021

BCGEU calls for delay of telework requirement, reinstatement of masks in publ...

In today's COVID update, the B.C. government announced that the province would not be moving to Step 4 of the provincial restart plan as anticipated on September 7, 2021.
 
September 7 had been set as the date that members continuing to work from home would be required to have an "approved telework agreement", as per a July 20 communication from the BC Public Service:

"those who wish to continue working from home will need to have an approved telework agreement in place by September 7, 2021 using the corporate template provided by the BC Public Service Agency. This aligns with the anticipated date for the transition to Step 4 of the provincial Restart Plan, and it provides ample time for you to work through establishing or updating telework agreements with your supervisor…"

It is our union's opinion that a telework agreement should not be required unless the province has moved to Step 4 – which includes "workplaces fully reopened".
 
Accordingly, the BCGEU has written to the Head of the BC Public Service calling to delay that requirement and calling for a reinstatement for a mask mandate in all public areas of public service worksites (including the BC Liquor Distribution Branch) – as BCGEU members are required to provide essential services to all people regardless of their vaccination status.
 
Click here to read a copy of our letter.
 
We will continue to keep BCGEU members updated on the status of our request. If you have any questions, please contact your union shop steward.
 
In solidarity,
 
Your BCGEU Public Service Bargaining Committee
Stephanie Smith, President
Paul Finch, Treasurer
Kari Michaels, Executive Vice President
Dean Purdy, Vice President - Component 1
Kusam Doal, Vice President - Component 5
Judy Fox-McGuire, Vice President - Component 6
Cynthia Mepham-Egli, Component 6 Second Vice-Chairperson
Maria Middlemiss, Vice President - Component 12
Matt Damario, Component 12 First Vice-Chairperson
Robert Davis, Vice President - Component 20
Doug Dykens, Director - Field Services & Negotiations
Mike Eso, Secretary
Lisa Lane, Support Staff

UWU/MoveUP

August 12, 2021

Workplaces re-opening – get vaccinated - BCGEU

Step 4 of B.C.'s Restart plan could start as early as September 7 – though this date could vary by region. Step 4 includes a return to fully re-opened offices and workplaces. Whether your worksite is returning to full capacity or you're returning to in-person work after working from home, our union can help address any health and safety concerns that may arise. 
And remember: the best way to ensure your safety on the job is to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

    Get vaccinated: B.C.'s most recent COVID-19 surge has been fueled by those who are
    unvaccinated or have only had one dose. This reminds us that getting
    vaccinated is the most important tool we have in stopping transmission and
    bringing the pandemic to an end. 

    The BCGEU encourages all members who have not yet been vaccinated to do so
    according to the guidance of their doctor. Every vaccine administered in Canada
    is safe and effective, as evaluated by Health Canada, and with shorter line-ups
    it's even easier to get vaccinated. Go here to register, book an appointment and
    get your vaccine:
    https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/vaccine/register

    You can also find vaccine drop-in locations and hours in your community here:
    http://gov.bc.ca/VaxForBC

    Safe workplaces:
    Employers have the responsibility to maintain a safe workplace and to ensure
    workers' privacy rights are respected. This includes having a communicable
    disease plan in place that enforces appropriate handwashing and personal
    hygiene practices, appropriate ventilation, and allowing staff to stay home when
    sick.

    Also remember that your right to refuse unsafe work is a legislative right and
    responsibility of all workers in B.C. and that is no different during the COVID-19
    pandemic. Read more about your right here.

    Our union has consistently advocated for the appropriate usage of masks and
    we urge you to continue wearing a mask indoors as an added layer of protection
    for everyone.

    If you have an urgent issue related to COVID-19 or a workplace health and
    safety issue, please inform your supervisor first. If necessary, contact your
    Occupational Health and Safety Committee representative, steward or local
    chairperson.

Step 4 of the Restart plan must be done in a way that prioritizes the safety of B.C.'s workers. And by working together to keep each other safe – by getting vaccinated and following appropriate safety protocols – we can all play an important role in ensuring its success.

In solidarity, 
Paul Finch, BCGEU Treasurer

Read more about the re-start plan here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/info/restart 

 



UWU/MoveUP