August 02, 2018

BCGEU offers policy ideas for local governments to address affordable housing...

BURNABY – The BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) has released a list of policy proposals titled "What Can Local Governments Do?", directed at municipalities who want to take bold action on issues of housing affordability. As property prices across B.C. continue to escalate, access to affordable housing has become a central concern for BCGEU members.

By focusing on measures that can be taken by local governments, the union hopes to engage with candidates running in the fall municipal elections, as housing affordability will undoubtedly be one of the main issues in many B.C. communities.

"Municipal governments possess powerful toolkits to address the need for affordable housing in their communities," says BCGEU Treasurer Paul Finch. "Much of what needs to be done is within their existing powers."

The eight recommendations include clearly defining "affordable" in relation to municipal housing policies, taking advantage of new rental-only zoning powers handed down by the provincial government, utilizing public land to build affordable housing, and offering tax incentives and benefits to accelerate affordable housing projects.

In addition, the union highlights key measures that the federal and provincial governments can take to help municipalities address the housing crisis, such as offering tax waivers and incentives for purpose-built rental housing projects and allowing local governments to mandate inclusionary zoning of affordable housing on new developments.

The plan is an addendum to the union's Building an Affordable B.C. report, co-authored by CUPE 1767 President Jared Melvin and Vice President Harpinder Sandhu, which mainly advocates for policy changes at the provincial level to curb real estate speculation. 

View the BCGEU's policy proposals for local governments here: 

View the report Building an Affordable B.C. here:

The BCGEU is one of the largest and most diverse unions in British Columbia, representing over 77,000 members across the province.

For more information contact Karen Tankard, BCGEU Communications, 604-473-5454


August 01, 2018

Union sees no value in highrise, urges city to reject proposal - BCGEU

Unionized provincial government workers have registered their opposition to a 25-storey highrise in central Kelowna.

The Brooklyn project should be rejected by city council, the BCGEU says, because it will do nothing to promote affordable housing in Kelowna.




July 31, 2018

BCGEU health care members ratify three-year deal - BCGEU

Members of a multi-union group working in B.C. community living homes and services have voted to accept a new three-year employment contract, eight months before the existing contract expires.

The contract covers 16,000 people and was recommended to members in June by the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union and others in the community health bargaining group.





July 30, 2018

BCGEU community health workers vote to accept new agreement - BCGEU

Burnaby- Community health sector workers, represented by the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) have voted strongly in favour of a tentative agreement reached with health employers. This agreement firms up a new three-year collective agreement for 16,000 union workers, which will take effect April 1, 2019 and expire March 31, 2022.

The new collective agreement brings in yearly wage increases of two per cent in each of the next three years in addition to enhanced benefits, provisions for improved scheduling and steps to address staff retention. Employees covered in this agreement work in home care support services, community service agencies, health authorities, provide services to seniors, and work in mental health and addiction services. 

"Community health workers deliver critical services to some of the most vulnerable British Columbians," says Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President. "This agreement is an important step forward for our members and the communities they serve." 

Today's vote announcement comes after a tentative agreement was reached in mid-June, the result of weeks of negotiations between the Community Health Bargaining Association (CBA), a coordinated multi-union group, and the Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC). 

The BCGEU represents over 77,000 members across the province including more than 10,000 community health service and support workers in B.C. Highlights of the agreement include: 

  • Wage increases of six per cent over three years for all workers
  • Improvement of employment security provisions
  • Creation of task force to investigate guaranteed hours and other issues 
  • Additional funding for Enhanced Disability Management Program



July 26, 2018

BCGEU celebrates 99 years in union movement - BCGEU

Can you believe we're almost a century old? Today, the BC Government and Service Employees' Union celebrates our 99th birthday.

Of course, we weren't known as the BCGEU back in 1919, but July 26 marks the anniversary of the first annual convention of the Provincial Civil Service Association of BC which, over the decades, grew to become the BCGEU. 

"At 77,000 members strong, the BCGEU is one of the fastest growing and most diverse unions in British Columbia," says BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. "We have more than 500 certifications and we're adding members all the time. 

"Our members know that the BCGEU is a practical and principled union that has their backs. When workers have to stand up to an employer and go on strike, we use the economic power of our membership to help them reach a fair settlement."

In the past decade, the union's growth has come mainly from the community health and community social services sectors, but also from casinos, hotels and medical labs. 

Here's how we've evolved into one of the largest unions in the province:

1944: There's a name change to the B.C. Government Employees' Association (BCGEA).

1947: The first BCGEA newspaper, The Provincial, is issued as a result of a convention resolution. We still publish The Provincial magazine four times a year.

1970: The BCGEA becomes the BCGEU.

1974: The BCGEU becomes the bargaining agent for 25,000 public service workers.

1981: The BCGEU changes its name to add "service," to reflect non-government workers.

We've come a long way. The BCGEU is at once old and wise yet young at heart, strong and progressive. So, here's wishing us all a happy union birthday.



July 24, 2018

Casino workers vote yes on new agreement ending Hard Rock strike - BCGEU

BCGEU members thank customers for their support. 

(Coquitlam) - After being on strike for more than 10 weeks, over 400 members of the BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) working at Hard Rock Casino Vancouver in Coquitlam have voted in favour of a new agreement with their employer.

"BCGEU members at the Hard Rock casino stuck together through a long, tough fight and thanks to their strength and solidarity and the support of the labour movement and the community they now have a collective agreement that sets a new standard for casino workers in BC," said Stephanie Smith, BCGEU president.

"On behalf of every member of the BCGEU, I want to congratulate the Hard Rock workers and their bargaining committee," said Smith. "We couldn't be prouder of their commitment and resolve."

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. Members voted down a tentative agreement on July 4th before getting clarification on what the impact of the employer's business restructuring decisions would mean for staffing levels.

"This ground-breaking deal shows the power of BCGEU members to make positive changes in any sector as long as they stand together," says Smith. "Hard Rock workers and their BCGEU bargaining committee have achieved an agreement that sets a new standard of fairness for casino workers across BC. Now it's time to make sure BCGEU members at casinos in the Okanagan get lifted up to that standard as well."

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.



July 23, 2018

Talks break off between Gateway Casinos and union - BCGEU

KAMLOOPS - Mediation has been cut short between BCGEU and Gateway Casinos.




July 23, 2018

Support for striking BCGEU brothers and sisters - BCGEU

The BC labour movement staged a show of support Saturday for striking BCGEU members


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July 23, 2018

Mediation talks break off in casino strike - BCGEU

Mediation between Gateway Casinos and over 675 members of the BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) on strike officially broke off on Saturday, July 21 – the same day that saw hundreds of supporters flock to the picket lines across all four sites in the Thompson Okanagan.


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