NEWS

February 09, 2016

Throne speech: province to expand on Plecas’ recommendations, modernize commu...

The BCGEU is welcoming news the provincial government plans to implement and expand on the recommendations contained in the Plecas report on the Ministry for Children and Family Development. The news was announced in the throne speech this afternoon. Plecas’ report corroborated most of the findings and recommendations from BCGEU’s 2014 Choose Children report and concerns raised by B.C.'s Representative for Children and Youth.

Also included in today’s speech are government plans to modernize community care and assisted living. Last month the Seniors Advocate for B.C. said services were barely keeping pace with the province’s aging population.  

“We applaud the government’s decision to act on the recommendations in the Plecas report and we are encouraged that the government has identified improvements to the delivery of community health care for seniors,” says BCGEU treasurer Paul Finch. “These are important changes that should improve the lives of the people who rely on these services. It will also come as good news for our frontline members who provide these important services.”

“However, after more than a decade of frozen and shrinking budgets, we need to see a broad investment in many other public services as well. Last week, a B.C. Supreme Court judge criticized the provincial government for failing to adequately fund the justice system in our province following repeated courtroom delays due to staffing shortages. The justice system is just one of many branches of government that need an investment of resources and budget increases,” said Finch. “Next week’s provincial budget will show if the Liberal government is willing to make the broad investment in public services, or if the erosion of these services will continue.” 

February 04, 2016

Join us on February 14 for the 26th annual Women's Memorial March – "Their Sp...

The annual February 14 Women's Memorial March was started in 1991 in Vancouver in response to the murder of a Coast Salish woman on Powell Street.  Since then, marches have been held every year to honour the lives of missing and murdered women. Please join BCGEU president Stephanie Smith and fellow activists in supporting this women-organized, women-led event, to come together to grieve, to remember the women who are still missing, and to demand justice.

  • When: Sunday, February 14, 2016 at 12 noon
  • Where: Gather at the north-west corner of Main and Hastings, Vancouver (look for other BCGEU members)

March route proceeds through the Downtown Eastside and will make stops to commemorate where women were last seen or found, followed by speeches by community activists at the Courthouse. There will be a healing circle at Oppenheimer Park at approximately 2:30 pm, and a community feast at the Japanese Language Hall.

* Please note that there will be no union flags, leaflets or banners at this event.

Please advise if you are attending by emailing Gagan Gill at gagan.gill@bcgeu.ca

Click here for more information.  

February 04, 2016

BCGEU wishes members a happy Lunar New Year

The Lunar New Year starts on Monday February 8. This marks the start of a fifteen day festival and holiday. Celebrations have started around the world as we say goodbye to the Year of the Sheep and hello to the year of the Fire Monkey. 

"We wish our members and their families a very happy and prosperous Lunar New Year," says BCGEU President Stephanie Smith. "We wish you luck, good health and good fortune for the year ahead." 

China, Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Singapore and many other Asian countries observe Lunar New Year as a national holiday. Due to migration, festivals marking the new year now take place throughout the world. For immigrants and emigrants, this is a time every year where families can come together to share food and celebrate the coming year.  People honour the Lunar New Year in many different ways, but the common theme is family reunion and celebration.

An estimated 1.4 billion people around the world will be celebrating Lunar New Year in 2016 by spending time with family and participating in feasts, parades, dragon dances, gift exchanges, and community celebrations. 

According to Chinese astrology, those born in the year of the Monkey are said to possess such character traits as curiosity, mischievousness, and cleverness. Forever playful, Monkeys are the masters of practical jokes. They can, however, be easily frustrated by delays, tend to look down on others and have a fast-flaring temper. 

There are a number of Lunar New Year events and parades taking place around the province. Below is a sampling of what's going on – we encourage you to join in the festivities in your community.

Courtenay

Prince George 

Richmond

Surrey

Vancouver

Victoria

February 04, 2016

BCGEU celebrates the 20th anniversary of Black History Month in Canada

The BCGEU joins Canadians to celebrate Black History Month this February, which marks the event’s 20th anniversary. Our federal government officially recognized Black History Month after passing a parliamentary motion introduced by the Honourable Jean Augustine, the first black Canadian woman elected to Parliament. 

"This February, take some time to learn about black Canadians’ tremendous contributions to our country," says BCGEU President Stephanie Smith. "Black Canadians have too often been left out of our history, our society and our labour movement. Take a moment to reflect on black history in B.C. and join me in pledging to renew our strong commitment to universal human rights." 

"Our union is proud of, and celebrates the diversity of, our membership," says Smith. "Whether in our union or in our communities—it's important to understand and respect our histories and learn from one another's experiences."

Check out these links to Black History events and more information about black history in B.C. and Canada.  

Events:

Lower Mainland

Victoria

Nanaimo

Black History Month Resources:

UNIFOR 467/MoveUP

 

 

February 03, 2016

Submission to the Special Committee to Review the Freedom of Information and ...

On January 27 our union presented a submission to the Special Committee to Review the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA).

The foundation of public trust in government is transparency, accountability, and a consistently demonstrated respect for the rights of individuals. FIPPA is designed to protect and uphold these values; yet, public practice in information management and the pace of change in communications technologies has put the effectiveness of the legislation under significant stress.

The BCGEU submission focusses on five areas of concern:

  • Duty to document
  • Coverage and access
  • Policy advice and recommendations
  • Wait times, delays and extensions
  • Protection of privacy and “data-linking”

Click here to read the submission. 

January 29, 2016

To all Direct Government OHS Committee Members in the Victoria Area

"Incident Investigations" will be held on Wednesday, March 2 and "Ergonomics" will be held on Thursday, March 3. The Incident Investigations course will be held at the BCGEU area office, 2994 Douglas St., Victoria and the Ergonomics course will be held at Harbour Towers, 345 Quebec St, Victoria.

In the Incident Investigations course 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

In the Ergonomics course you will learn:

  • Requirements of the ergonomics regulation
  • How to identify ergonomic hazards, to assess the risk factors of tasks and to recommend appropriate solutions
  • Strategies for implementing an effective workplace ergonomics program
  • How to conduct a workstation assessment

These courses are limited to 22 seats so register early at https://gww.gov.bc.ca/ to avoid disappointment.

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.

UNIFOR467/MoveUp

January 29, 2016

Labour Code OHS Committee Members in the Langley Area

"Ergonomics" will be held on Tuesday, March 1 and "Incident Investigations" will be held on Thursday, March 3. These courses will be held at the BCGEU office at 8555 198A Street, Langley from 9:00 am - 4:30 pm

In the Ergonomics you will learn:

  • Requirements of the ergonomics regulation
  • How to identify ergonomic hazards, to assess the risk factors of tasks and to recommend appropriate solutions
  • Strategies for implementing an effective workplace ergonomics program
  • How to conduct a workstation assessment
  • Additional information for health care, community social services and highway workers

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 at area04@bcgeu.ca to avoid disappointment.

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.

Unifor467/MoveUP

January 28, 2016

National Survey on Seniors' Care - Work/Life Balance

The issue of elder care received next to no attention during the 2015 federal election. This is alarming as the fastest growing segment of the Canadian population is older Canadians (people 85 and older), most of whom are women. In 1900, the average life expectancy was 47 years of age; by 2000 that had increased to 76 years of age. The end result is the expansion of our population of older adults. This, coupled with the much lower birth rates means that there are fewer family caregivers to go around.

There is very little research on the effects of those combining paid work, child care and elder care. In response to this need, the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA) has undertaken an extensive research project on the issue. Dr. Linda Duxbury is part of a team that is conducting a National Survey on Balancing Work, Family and Caregiving. Speaking at a recent meeting of NUPGE’s Advisory Committee on Women’s Issues (ACWI), she stressed that in Canada, 80 per cent of caregiving is done by family members. The current health policy is to return patients home as soon as possible. At the same time, services within communities are being reduced or completely eliminated. The resulting stresses for working caregivers are not being paid attention to by policy makers or employers.

The survey is targeted to individuals (male and female) who are providing ongoing care and assistance, without pay, to family members who need support due to physical, cognitive and/or mental problems related to aging. It is restricted to those caregivers that are employed. If you fit into this category, we encourage you to take the time and fill out the survey - results will be shared with NUPGE Components.

To read more information on the survey from NUPGE, click here.

To take the survey directly, click here.

January 28, 2016

BCGEU Signs on to Petition to Free Chinese Labour Activists

On Thursday, January 28, the BCGEU signed on to a petition calling for the release of Chinese labour activists who were detained by the government.

Advanced by the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, the petition has now been signed by over 175 organizations.

Petition Text
At least four labour activists remain in criminal detention following a recent crackdown on labour organisations. From 3 - 5 December, labour NGOs based in Guangdong province were targeted in a harsh and unexpected wave of detentions. At least four labour NGOs have been targeted and 25 NGO staff and volunteers have been detained and questioned by police, seven of whom either remain in detention or cannot be contacted. These include Panyu Workers’ Centre director Zeng Feiyang and staff member Zhu Xiaomei; Foshan Nanfeiyan Social Work Services Organization director He Xiaobo; labour activists Peng Jiayong, Deng Xiaoming, Meng Han, and Tang Jian. Four individuals - Zeng Feiyang, He Xiaobo, Zhu Xiaomei and Deng Xiaoming - are confirmed as being in detention.

The Chinese government purports to advance the “rule of law” within its borders and promotes the idea of a civilized and peaceful rise internationally. However, local governments abuse their power, using violence and arrests to repress and intimidate labour organizations, preventing Chinese workers from pursuing fundamental labour rights, including freedom of association and the right to strike and collective bargaining.

As organisations and individuals working labour rights, we call on the Chinese government to:
  1. Immediately release all the aforementioned detained labour activists
  2. Stop suppressing labour activists, labour organisations and civil society organisations.
  3. Respect and protect the development and freedom of civil society as prescribed by China’s Constitution.
Initiated by
Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions
Globalization Monitor