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NEWS

November 19, 2021

BCGEU phone outage - BC General Employees' Union (BCGEU)

Phone service to all BCGEU offices has been restored

Last updated - Dec 2, 4:38 p.m.

The phone system serving BCGEU offices is now workingthe primary phone numbers for all Area Offices, as well as for the Benefits Department, are now functional.  Direct phone numbers to specific staff are not functioning at this time and may change. To reach a specific staff member, please call the main Area Office phone number.  You can find the main phone numbers for each office at this link:

https://www.bcgeu.ca/full_contact


UWU/MoveUP

November 05, 2021

BCGEU members ratify collective agreement with LifeLabs

BURNABY, B.C. (Coast Salish Territories) – A majority of the 1,550 LifeLabs workers represented by the B.C. General Employees' Union (BCGEU) voted on Thursday November 4, 2021 in favour of ratifying their collective agreement with their employer after reaching a tentative agreement on October 24, 2021. The new three-year agreement is effective April 1, 2021 – March 31, 2024.

"After so many months of hard work in negotiations we are pleased to see members ratify a deal that values and respects their expertise, their contributions during the pandemic and their goal to better serve the public," said BCGEU president, Stephanie Smith. "Through their solidarity and the strength of our union, these members demanded better, and we're so pleased with the advances they made in this round of bargaining."

Highlights from the agreement include wage improvements averaging increases of 12 per cent over three years which includes a $1,250 signing bonus for all active employees to be paid out within 30 days of ratification. This represents a strong advance towards closing the wage gap with those doing similar work in the public sector and achieving the goal of winning a larger percentage increase for the lowest wage earners. Members also have an improved indexed pension plan, increases to extended health coverage, improvements to sick leave entitlement and health and safety policies as well as stronger workload language to deal with under-staffing issues.

"All workers in B.C. deserve respect and a wage that keeps pace with the high cost of living in this province, and at the end of the day that's what this dispute was about," said Smith. "I would like to thank and congratulate everyone on the bargaining committee for the long hours they put in to get this deal, and for standing as an example for all working people."

The collective agreement covers members at 94 LifeLabs locations across B.C. working as couriers, phlebotomists, technical assistants, technologist and information specialists.

See previous media releases:
BCGEU members at LifeLabs reach tentative agreement – vote to go to membership
1,550 BCGEU members launch job action against LifeLabs
LifeLabs workers issue 72-hour strike notice

For more information contact: BCGEU Communications [email protected] 



UWU/MoveUP

November 02, 2021

New poll shows British Columbians support investing in B.C. wildfire fighters...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 2, 2021
 
New poll shows British Columbians support investing in B.C. wildfire fighters

BURNABY, B.C. (Coast Salish Territories) – A new Research Co. poll on wildfires in B.C. commissioned by the BC General Employees’ Union (BCGEU) reveals that half of British Columbians have been personally impacted by wildfires, 85% believe more should be done to prepare for and prevent wildfires, and more than 90% support increased investment in B.C.’s world-renowned wildfire fighters.
 
The poll was conducted from October 20 to 22, three weeks after the BC Wildfire Service released its official Wildfire Season Summary for 2021. According to the summary, from April 1 through September 30, 1,610 fires burned more than 868,000 hectares of land — making 2021 the third worst fire season on record. 
 
“B.C.’s three worst fire seasons have happened in the last five years,” said Stephanie Smith, president of the BCGEU. “That’s millions of hectares burned, billions in property damage and the unmeasurable devastation of lives and entire communities lost to wildfires. It’s no surprise that so many British Columbians have been personally impacted by wildfires or that so many value the work of the wildfire fighters. The question now is, how can we do better in the future?”
 
Key findings of the poll include:

  • Almost nine-in-ten British Columbians (88%) support increasing the compensation for wildfire fighters, given the nature of the job that they do.
  • Two thirds of British Columbians (67%) say wildfire seasons are getting more intense.
  • Almost seven-in-ten British Columbians (69%) think the BC Wildfire Service does not currently have enough staff to manage wildfire seasons.
  • More than four-in-five British Columbians (85%) think we should be doing more to prepare for and prevent wildfires in the winter months.

“The bottom line is this poll shows that British Columbians agree with what our members have been saying for years,” said Smith. “If we are serious about protecting our communities, economies, and ecosystems, it’s time to radically rethink our entire wildfire service model—including how we recruit and retain top quality, professional wildfire fighters.”
 
“As the climate crisis worsens, wildfire seasons are increasing in severity, frequency and duration. This poll demonstrates that most British Columbians are affected by wildfires and do not believe that there are sufficient resources available for wildfire fighters,” said Mario Canseco, Research Co. president.
 
In September 2021, the BCGEU launched a campaign calling on the provincial government to create a working group that includes frontline wildfire fighters to enhance the BC Wildfire Service’s service model.
 
Results are based on an online study conducted from October 20 to October 22, 2021 among 801 adults in British Columbia. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender, and region in British Columbia. The margin of error – which measures sample variability – is +/- 3.5 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.
 
Link to Factum
Link to Data Tables
 
For more information, contact [email protected] or (604) 291-9611
 
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 the 1,887 wildfire fighters and support staff who work for the BC Wildfire Service.


UWU/MoveUP

October 26, 2021

CLC Winter School 2022 - BCGEU

Winter School 2022 will be taking place in-person! We are so excited that our communities will be able to come together, to learn and discuss with peers and colleagues at the upcoming Winter School. As we continue to work with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) on updating you with further details, please complete your registration application form to express your interest in attending. Please note, this form does not mean you are registered to attend Winter School. Upon receipt of your registration/application, you will receive an e-mail from [email protected] asking for your class choices and asking for further supporting details that will be forwarded to your Component Education Committee for consideration. Once your Component has made their decision on who is approved to attend, you will be contacted by our Department to finalize your attendance.

 

Please complete by November 5, 2021: https://convention.bcgeu.ca/clc_winter_school_2022.



UWU/MoveUP

October 24, 2021

BCGEU members at LifeLabs reach tentative agreement – vote to go to membershi...

BURNABY, B.C. (Coast Salish Territories) – B.C. General Employees' Union (BCGEU) members working at LifeLabs have reached a tentative agreement with their employer in the early hours of Sunday, October 24.

 

The member bargaining committee is consolidating details of the tentative agreement for presentation to members on Monday. Following details being shared, BCGEU members at LifeLabs will vote on whether to accept the agreement.

 

Until the vote on the tentative agreement is held, the union's overtime ban and work-to-rule job action – which started yesterday October 23 – will stand down.

 

"From the 98% strike vote in July to the difficult decision to action that vote this weekend, our LifeLab members have shown solidarity and a willingness to fight to get the deal they deserve," said BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. "That solidarity enabled the members of our bargaining committee to make the progress at the table we have now seen." 

 

Yesterday over 200 LifeLabs union members rallied at the Burnaby Reference Laboratory in support of a fair agreement. They were joined by labour allies from around the region.

 

The BCGEU represents about 1,550 workers at 94 LifeLabs locations across BC as medical laboratory technologists, laboratory technical assistants, client information specialists, couriers and clinical technical assistants.

 

View previous media releases here - https://lifelabs.bcgeu.ca/media

 

For more information visit: lifelabs.bcgeu.ca or contact Aaron Donovan, BCGEU Communications Manager at [email protected] or 604 306-9122.



UWU/MoveUP

October 22, 2021

1,550 BCGEU members launch job action against LifeLabs - BCGEU

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 22, 2021 
 
1,550 BCGEU members launch job action against LifeLabs
 
BURNABY, B.C. (Coast Salish Territories) –B.C. General Employees' Union (BCGEU) members working at LifeLabs across B.C. will commence job action at 7:00 p.m., Friday, October 22. The union served 72-hours strike notice on Wednesday, October 19 after several months of negotiations failed to secure a new collective agreement.

“By putting profits ahead of people, LifeLabs created a staffing crisis across their organization that was causing problems for their employees and their patients long before the pandemic,” said BCGEU president, Stephanie Smith. “They’ve refused to work with our members to address the underlying issues at the bargaining table so, unfortunately, job action is the next step.”

The first phase of job action will begin with a rally on Saturday October 23rd at the LifeLabs Burnaby Reference Lab followed by immediate implementation of an over-time ban—in which workers will refuse voluntary over-time hours offered by the employer—and a work-to-rule campaign—which will see workers performing their jobs precisely as outlined in their job descriptions and their last collective agreement. The over-time ban and work-to-rule campaign will be in effect at all 94 LifeLabs locations where the BCGEU represents workers. 

Workers are prepared to escalate to the next phase of job action, which would include picket lines at specific locations, if their employer fails to offer a fair deal by Monday, November 1.

“Job action doesn’t just mean strikes and picket lines,” said Smith. “By taking a strategic approach like escalating tactics, our members are giving LifeLabs the opportunity to avoid more serious service disruptions by coming forward with an offer that gives these healthcare professionals the wages and working conditions they deserve. On behalf of our members and the patients they serve, I urge LifeLabs to make the most of this opportunity.” 

Media are invited to attend the rally:

WHAT: Members will be joined by BCGEU treasurer Paul Finch and other supporters for a kick-off rally in support of job action.

WHEN: Saturday, October 23, 2021 at 2:00 p.m.

WHERE: Burnaby Reference Lab, 3680 Gilmore Way, Burnaby B.C.

The BCGEU represents about 1,550 workers at 94 LifeLabs locations across BC as medical laboratory technologists, laboratory technical assistants, client information specialists, couriers and clinical technical assistants. Essential service agreements will ensure that some locations remain open during job action. LifeLabs patients will be able to check which locations are on strike at lifelabs.bcgeu.ca.

View previous media release: LifeLabs workers issue 72-hour strike notice

For more information visit: lifelabs.bcgeu.ca or contact Aaron Donovan, BCGEU Communications Manager at [email protected] or 604 306-9122.

October 20, 2021

LifeLabs workers issue 72-hour strike notice - BCGEU

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 20, 2021
 
LifeLabs workers issue 72-hour strike notice
 
BURNABY, B.C. (Coast Salish Territories) – Members of the B.C. General Employees' Union (BCGEU) have issued 72-hour strike notice to LifeLabs as of 7:00 p.m., October 19, 2021. This action follows several months of negotiations, 30 days at the bargaining table and eight days of mediation. The main outstanding issue is fair and reasonable wage increases.

“BCGEU members working for LifeLabs are among the “healthcare heroes” that have pushed themselves to the limit and beyond throughout the pandemic,” said BCGEU president, Stephanie Smith. “Instead of coming to the table willing to recognize the hard work and sacrifices of their employees by addressing long-standing issues with low wages and under-staffing, LifeLabs came to the table demanding concessions.”

LifeLabs’ initial proposals tabled at the beginning of bargaining in April 2021 sought to take away sick benefits and vacation days. While those concessions are no longer on the table, LifeLabs continues to resist BCGEU members’ attempts to secure wages that would keep up with rising inflation and bring them closer to the public sector industry standard for their field.

“The bottom line is LifeLabs is another privately-owned company trying to protect their profit margins at the expense of their workers, despite the fact that the pandemic has proven time and again that this approach literally puts lives at risk,” says BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. “Poor wages and working conditions have created a staffing crisis at LifeLabs, forcing them to shut down facilities on Vancouver Island. Members are fighting for a fair deal that will stabilize staffing and ensure better service for patients.”

The earliest that job action could commence is October 22, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. Essential service agreements will ensure that some locations remain open during job action. LifeLabs patients will be able to check which locations are on strike at lifelabs.bcgeu.ca

“BCGEU members at LifeLabs had hoped to avoid a strike,” said Smith. “They want a fair contract so they can get back to work taking care of patients. We are willing to use every minute of the next 72 hours to get a deal done at the bargaining table if LifeLabs is willing to get serious about giving members the deal they deserve.”

In July, LifeLabs workers voted 98 per cent in favour of strike action and have been working without a contract since April 1, 2021.

The BCGEU represents about 1,550 workers at LifeLabs throughout the province.

For more information contact: BCGEU Communications [email protected]


October 14, 2021

BC Parks OHS Reps, September 22 meeting follow-up - BCGEU

You’re receiving this email as an Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) member representative within BC Parks. Please forward this email to other BC Parks worker OHS reps that did not receive it, and let them know they can update their contact information with the BCGEU here.

A big thanks to all who joined our September 22 meeting of BC Parks OHS worker reps. We had a very good turnout, and there was some great discussion among BCGEU OHS reps from across the province. We encourage you to review the PowerPoint presentation made at the meeting, as well as a summary of the meeting.

To continue with this important work, we plan to facilitate quarterly meetings of BC Parks OHS reps going forward. As discussed, two meetings per year will be scheduled on work time, while two meetings will occur during non-work time. We will forward information about our next meeting in the coming weeks.

The goal of these meetings is to regularly facilitate information sharing, identify collaboration opportunities and ultimately make your workplaces safer. We would like to make them as useful as possible to you, so we welcome your feedback about our September meeting and your ideas for future meetings. Please forward your thoughts, concerns, ideas about meeting format, or particular issues or topics you would like to tackle, to BCGEU OHS Officer Megan Scott at [email protected].

Finally, we want to acknowledge the important work you do as a health and safety representative. Your work is critical to building safer and healthier BC Parks workplaces, and it is deeply appreciated. We look forward to connecting with you all again soon!


In solidarity,

Rob Davis, Component 20 Vice President
Maria Middlemiss, Component 12 Vice President
Megan Scott, BCGEU OHS Officer


UWU/MoveUP

October 12, 2021

BCGEU recommendations for Budget 2022 - BCGEU

Each year, the B.C. General Employees' Union (BCGEU) offers input into next year's provincial budget by making recommendations in a written submission to the B.C. government's Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services. These recommendations reflect the voice of our union's 80,000 members, based on direct input from the BCGEU's senior elected leadership.

Last week, our union presented its submission to the Budget 2022 Consultation, which speaks to several key goals and priorities for government regarding social and economic equality, action on climate change, resilience, ongoing economic recovery, and the incredible economic and social value of public services, programs, and investments.

To support these objectives, our submission made recommendations to government in the following areas:

  • Reforming seniors’ care: Bring the seniors care sector within the Canada Health Act (and within the public health system), and end contracts with for-profit providers. Our seniors deserve better.
  • Investing in affordable, non-market housing: Our union calls for aggressive investment in affordable and supportive housing options in Budget 2022 and beyond to ensure a just economic recovery. 
  • Accelerating the transition to universal, public child care: The COVID-19 pandemic has proven that all working families need reliable, affordable and accessible child care to fully participate in the workforce. Progress has been made, but there are several areas needing to be addressed, such as more robust recruitment and retention initiatives.
  • Prioritizing action on climate change, green infrastructure and renewable energy development: We must have a meaningful response to our global climate emergency. Our recommendations address public transit, buildings and infrastructure, environmental protection and restoration, clean energy, and more.
  • Investing in supportive social programs and services: Recommended measures include increasing mandatory paid sick leave, funding a provincial anti-racism strategy for workplaces, and providing additional resources to improve protections for vulnerable children and youth.
  • Advancing tax fairness, economic equality, and government revenue: Further steps must be taken to build a fairer and more progressive tax system for the province.

 

This budget submission complements our union's recent submission to Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation, to help build a long-term economic plan for B.C. 
 
Read the full text of our written budget submission here.

Given that we are over 19 months into a devastating global pandemic, next year's budget will be more important than ever to help guide our province through economic recovery. Although great strides have been made to help British Columbians through this very challenging time, there is much work to do. We must meaningfully address these priorities in order to ensure a high quality of life for all British Columbians, both now and in the future.



UWU/MoveUP