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NEWS

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

January 28, 2016

Liberal government right to repeal anti-union Bill-377

The BCGEU is welcoming news the federal government has introduced legislation to reverse anti-union laws introduced by the Stephen Harper government last year. In the House of Commons today, the Liberals introduced legislation that would reverse changes to laws under Bill-377, which placed vastly expanded requirements on unions to disclose how members’ dues are spent.

“This legislation had nothing to do with financial transparency, and was designed to create an onerous regime that wasted union resources and significantly violated privacy legislation,” said BCGEU treasurer Paul Finch. “These Conservative laws were a clear attack on the rights of working people, and designed to make it more difficult for unions to organize workers and represent the members in their unions.”

Under Bill-377 unions are required to disclose any spending of $5,000 or more, in addition to other expenditures. The Canada Revenue Agency publicly posts the information on its website. Salaries, disability payments and medical expenses – along with names of individuals who received them - have the potential to be disclosed to the public. An infringement on privacy, it also provides detailed information on the activities of unions that could be used to the advantage of anti-labour groups or employers.

Bill-377 was opposed by unions from coast to coast, the Canadian Bar Association, and seven provincial governments.

“At the BCGEU, we pride ourselves on our financial transparency to members. We publish our audited financial statements every year in The Provincial magazine. As well, they are on our website,” said Finch. “It would be wrong and undemocratic if the unelected Conservative Senators used their majority to block passage of the legislation introduced today by the Liberals.”

Today’s legislation would also make changes to the Conservatives Bill-525 which made it more difficult for unions to organize in federally regulated workplaces.

For more information: Evan Stewart BCGEU Communications 604-291-9611.

January 25, 2016

BCGEU’s Occupational Health and Safety Networkers

The creation of the OHS Networking team comes from the BCGEU 2014 convention. Convention delegates were loud and clear with their OHS resolutions: they wanted an expansion in the OHS department. They wanted BCGEU OHS activists to play a larger role, and to see the creation of an OHS Task Force. The OHS Task Force, released their report in April of 2015, with strong and practical recommendations. The top three recommendations included changes to communications, committee appointments, and OHS education.

Sixteen trained OHS facilitators from across the province were appointed by the president. On January 20, they met at BCGEU headquarters to discuss their role, time frames, challenges and how best to approach the work in each area of the province.

This year our OHS networkers will be:

  1. Auditing OHS committees and assisting with the growth of these committees
  2. Working with locals on the OHS appointments 
  3. Scheduling OHS courses in consultation with the OHS department and contacting members to increase participation
  4. Using data analysis and networking to Identify non-compliant employers and  ensure there are OHS committees  or worker representatives in place 
  5. Acting as a resource to OHS committees, components, locals and area offices

If you require the assistance of an OHS network member in your area, please contact your area office or the BCGEU Occupational Health and Safety Department for more information. The OHS department can be contacted at OHS@bcgeu.ca  or by phone at 604-291-9611 or 1-800-663-1674.