September 20, 2018

CLC Winter School 2019

CLC Winter School 2019

Course listings and registration for the Canadian Labour Congress Winter School (January 13 to February 15, 2019) at Harrison Hot Springs is now available.

Active union members are encouraged to apply online. Applications will be forwarded to your Component executive to make their selections on who will attend the school. 

Registration cut off is November 2nd for all courses.

Please click here to register: http://web.bcgeu.ca/go.php4?f=2019_CLC_Winter_School 


Download pdf of Course Descriptions here 





September 13, 2018

Strike continues as Gateway Casinos refuse to release company financials - BCGEU

Union cites lack of transparency as reason for breakdown in talks 

(Kelowna) Mediated talks between Gateway Casinos and over 675 members of the BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) in the Thompson-Okanagan broke off last week after the company refused to release financial information to back up claims that they cannot afford the workers' wage proposals.

"Gateway says they can't afford to pay our members in the Okanagan the living wage we are asking for but, when we asked them to prove it by showing the mediator the company's financials, they refused," said BCGEU President Stephanie Smith. "How can our members trust Gateway's claims when they refuse to let a third-party mediator verify them?"

The mediator called both parties back to the table for four days of talks from September 4 – 7 but they were unable to reach a deal.

"Gateway's most recent offer is neither fair nor reasonable. It would keep our members working in their casinos in the Thompson-Okanagan earning well below wages casino workers are making on the coast for the same work and it would mean most of our members' wages would still be hovering around minimum wage by the second year of the agreement," said Smith.

"Life in the Thompson-Okanagan is expensive and is about to become even less affordable with a potential 4.5% rent increase across the province. Our members working at Gateway Casinos simply cannot afford to live in the region on the wages the company is offering" said Smith.

Over 675 BCGEU members working at four Gateway Casinos in the Thompson-Okanagan walked off the job on Friday, June 29 after mediation broke down with their employer. Workers are fighting for living wages, better working conditions and respect on the job.

BCGEU represents staff spread across Gateway's four casinos in the Thompson-Okanagan: Playtime Casino in Kelowna, Lake City Casino in Vernon, and Cascades Casinos in Kamloops and Penticton. BCGEU members work in table games, as slot attendants, cashiers, in the count room, kitchen, security, guest services and maintenance.



September 12, 2018

BCGEU demands WorkSafe investigate new assaults on Forensics hospital staff -...

BURNABY – The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union reports that four staff members at Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Coquitlam have been injured in another violent attack by a patient this week and the union is demanding that WorkSafeBC investigate security measures at the facility.

BCGEU members report that two health care workers (HCW) and two nurses were attacked by a patient on September 11, with one HCW being taken to hospital with severe injuries.

"It's outrageous that our members and other workers are being assaulted on a weekly basis at the Forensic hospital and the employer is doing nothing about it," says BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. "This is the textbook definition of an unsafe workplace.

"The bottom line is that every working person in this province deserves a safe workplace and every employer owes their employees a safe workplace," says Smith. "The BCGEU is demanding that WorkSafeBC step in and investigate worker safety in the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital and order the employer to do the right thing.

"WorksafeBC has issued 57 safety orders at Forensics in the past 5 years, along with 102 inspection reports documenting the employer's failure to protect its workers," says Smith. "The employer obviously is not listening, and we believe it's time for the B.C. Government to take over management of this facility."



September 12, 2018

Area 01 Young Workers Committee - BCGEU

We are excited to introduce ourselves to you as your Area 01 Young Worker Committee.

Locals 101, 701, 1001, 1201, 1701 and 2001 do not yet have a Young Worker as a representative of their Local Executive. If you are from one of these Locals, we encourage you to connect with your Executive to see how you can become more involved.

We are in progress of planning our first BCGEU Area 01 Young Worker event and are hoping you will be able to come out. More info and an RSVP will follow.

Our next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 18 at 5:00 pm at the BCGEU Area Office located at 2994 Douglas Street. If you are interested in helping out or just want to come by and see what we are doing, please let us know as we usually have a light dinner/snack with our meetings.

Stay tuned for upcoming emails announcing our first event!

In solidarity,

Area 01 Young Worker Committee

Jeff Morgan

BCGEU Staff Representative

Download pdf of notice here

September 06, 2018

Union representing correctional officers calls for action after alleged assau...

The BC Government and Service Employees (BCGEU) union is asking for a change to better protect correctional officers and sheriffs who are escorting prisoners from correctional centers.

The call comes after the alleged assault of a correctional officer at Vancouver General Hospital on Aug. 28.





September 28, 2018

Union challenging undemocratic ICBA referendum lawsuit - BCGEU

VANCOUVER - The BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) was granted intervenor status with the right to call evidence by the B.C. Supreme Court Thursday in response to the petition brought forth by the Independent Contractors and Business Association (ICBA), the Canada West Construction Union and private citizen Kenneth Baerg. The petition challenges the provincial government's proportional representation referendum ballot and big money ban.

"It's no secret that most British Columbians are deeply dissatisfied with the current electoral system and BCGEU members are overwhelmingly in that camp," says BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. "That's why we decided to speak out against the petitioners and stand up for the right of all working people to have a voice in electoral reform through this referendum." 

Representing over 77,000 members in every corner of the province, the BCGEU's membership has expressed strong support for electoral reform.

The BCGEU will argue that the petitioners had the opportunity to provide input on the referendum during a provincial government public engagement process that took place between November 23, 2017 and February 28, 2018. The BCGEU along with 46 other organizations and 208 individuals made written submissions to the provincial government during this time, but the ICBA and others made no contribution. 

Claiming that the current electoral system is more conducive to their business interests, the petitioners do not represent the interests of British Columbians, but rather a narrow band of businesses. 

The ICBA have already been handed a strong reprimand from the court earlier this fall, when a judge dismissed their injunction application and found their case to be based, in part, on conjecture, rhetoric and exaggeration.

"I'm glad the court is giving the BCGEU a chance to expose the petitioner's argument for what it is: an attempt to get around the $200,000 advertising cap," says Smith. "And I'm looking forward to defending the rights of our members and all British Columbians in open court."

For more on BCGEU's electoral reform campaign, visit fairelections.bcgeu.ca and see Smith's opinion piece: Electoral reform will deliver the full power of the vote

For more information contact Bronwen Barnett, BCGEU Communications Officer at 604-719-4713 or bronwen.barnett@bcgeu.ca


September 26, 2018

BCGEU applauds provincial government's decision to lower annual rent increase

The BCGEU is encouraged by the government's decision to lower annual rent increases by capping them to inflation. This was one of the recommendations outlined earlier this week by the BC Rental Housing Task Force.

"There is no solution to the housing affordability crisis that doesn't include rental affordability so we are very pleased with the government's decision to cap the maximum allowable rental increase," said Stephanie Smith BCGEU president. "Today's decision is another example of the NDP government putting people first. It's a great first step."

Today's announcement is evidence the government is upholding their election promise to make life more affordable for British Columbians and is taking concrete action towards this goal. 

The BCGEU has taken the lead in finding solutions to the housing affordability crisis. In the fall of 2017, the BCGEU, in collaboration with CUPE 1767, launched the Affordable BC campaign. We have since laid out detailed provincial and municipal analysis and policy proposals to solve the housing affordability crisis. One of those recommendations was to change the maximum allowable rent increase formula.

The BCGEU launched a petition earlier this month calling on the BC Government to stop the 4.5 per cent rent increase. It has gained close to 5,500 petition signatures and has acted as one of the many outlets people across B.C. used to voice their opposition to the rent hike.

The 4.5 per cent allowable rent increase was calculated under a formula made under the previous BC Liberal government, which set rent hikes at 2 per cent above inflation. This policy allowed rents to increase much faster than inflation or wages, making it hard for British Columbians to find affordable rental housing.

Now that rents have been capped to inflation, the BCGEU will continue working to get other housing policies implemented.

"This is a great move in response to the overwhelming public need for action on the affordable housing crisis." said Paul Finch, BCGEU treasurer. "Contrary to claims made by Landlord BC, rent has rapidly inflated over the past decade well above tax and maintenance costs. There is no legitimate argument to continue to raise rents amidst a crisis."

The BCGEU's affordability plan is detailed in the Affordable BC report, which can be found at www.affordablebc.ca/our-plan. The original report details actions the provincial government can take to improve affordability, and a more recent report was released that details actions local governments can take. 

The BCGEU also entered a submission to the Rental Housing Task Force, which called for rents to be capped to inflation and for vacancy control, a form of rent control that ties rents to the units, instead of a particular lease. This submission can be found at www.affordablebc.ca/rental_housing_task_force_submission

Get more information: www.affordablebc.ca



September 25, 2018

Improvements to front line services for seniors welcome, and long overdue. - ...

New Westminster – Today Health Minister Adrian Dix, and Premier John Horgan announced important new funding for seniors in British Columbia. The government is increasing the budget for staffing, retention, and training by $240 million dollars in the next three years, with $50 million in this calendar year. 

BCGEU President Stephanie Smith reflected on today's announcement: "More money for staffing means more front-line services and more care hours. That translates to better quality of life for seniors in this province, who have been struggling for years due to understaffing." 

The Ministry of Health has set a target plan to increase resident care hours to 3.36 by 2021. Already in this year the additional $50 million spent has meant that there has been an increase of 1 million care hours across the province by over 300 new employees in the field.

"If we want more front-line staff we need to be creating incentives for new workers to enter the profession, and to transition part time and casual workers into a full-time career. That is what we are hearing from the government, so it is encouraging news for seniors and workers alike" said Smith.

The BCGEU represents over 16,000 workers in various health sectors, including home care and residential care homes across the province.



September 24, 2018

BCGEU celebrates National Forest Week: Sept. 23-29, 2018 - BCGEU



Each year National Forest Week (NFW) is celebrated by individual citizens, governments and non-governmental organizations across Canada. 

Established in 1920 as Forest Fire Prevention Week, there was no shortage of trees for industrial expansion – at a time the time when the main threat to forests was from forest fires, many caused by humans. In 1967 the name was changed to National Forest Week, and the focus was expanded to encompass the variety of human and environmental qualities of Canada's forest resources. 

While special activities are promoted across Canada, National Forest Week remains foremost as a challenge to Canadians, to learn more about our forest heritage and to foster greater recognition of this valuable primary resource.

Forests are fundamental to our economy, culture, traditions and history – and to our future. Canadians depend on forests for our livelihood and lifestyle.

Canada's Research Forests are living laboratories – places to learn, teach, experiment and explore. Forest research expands our knowledge of climate change, biodiversity, and forest management. Research forests build a greener future by maintaining healthy, vibrant, and productive forests across Canada.

2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the Petawawa Research Forest-the oldest research forest in Canada-named Forest Capital of Canada for 2017–2019.


· Find out more about BC National Forest Week events here

· Download a PDF poster here to celebrate National Forest Week