NEWS

February 01, 2018

BCGEU remembers Lorraine Logan - BCGEU

On behalf of the members of the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union I offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Lorraine Logan who passed away on January 23, 2018. An activist through and through, and right up until the end, she was a champion of workers' rights, LGBTQ+ rights, women's rights and seniors' rights.

Lorraine Logan grew up in Vancouver. Her family was small, but supportive and both her mother and grandmother encouraged her to be strong and independent. She developed a personality which embraced each of these characteristics. She was also a gifted athlete and travelled the world representing her country on the Canadian Women's' Field Hockey team during the late 1960s and early 1970s. This was followed by her taking up the position of International Umpire in the sport. Lorraine's field hockey days saw her develop many close friendships, but the sport also taught her teamwork, fairness, comradery and the need to work together.

A BCGEU member throughout her 31-year career in government service, Lorraine was first employed at Jericho School for the Deaf, then she went into the Ministry of Education and finally to the Ministry of Transportation and Highways. Lorraine's sense of fairness, equity and social justice led her to getting involved in her union. She would often credit the BCGEU for helping her to develop the skills to organize, advocate, agitate and mentor others. Starting as a shop steward, Lorraine later became active on the local 1203 executive and being a delegate to the District Labour Council, Area Cross Component Committee and to Multi Union Pride Committee. She was so proud to be designated a Life Member of the BCGEU.

In retirement, Lorraine stayed connected to the BCGEU through her participation on various Fight Back Campaigns, political rallies and activism on LGBTQ+ and other human rights. Her advocacy and activism on issues of social justice then took her into the boardrooms and legislative offices and her focus was now directed towards seniors' issues. She worked tirelessly for many committees and organizations including: New Vista Housing Society, Seniors Services Society, TransLink's Access Transit Advisory Committee, BC Government Retired Employees Association and the Council of Senior Citizen's Associations of BC (COSCO). Somehow, she still found time to give to her neighbours (strata council), many different NDP election campaigns and her family.

Lorraine's confidence, dedication, sense of fairness and perseverance was instilled in her through her family and field hockey, but it was her labour sisters and brothers that helped shape her into the proud social and political activist she became. She was honoured to hold many different positions and titles in various organizations, but she always loved being addressed as "Sister."

As a leader on issues affecting seniors Lorraine was the president of the Council of Senior Citizens' Organizations of B.C. (COSCO) representing 85 seniors' organizations throughout the province. The quotes below provided by her colleagues describe the immense impact she had:

"Her wonderful sense of justice helped her to celebrate the gains and give the losses another try. I think she practiced the art of the possible…" Sheila Pither (First VP COSCO)

"Lorraine's persistent work on transportation and mobility issues is just one example of the energy and determination she put into making life better for others. She was a force of nature, truth to power, not taking 'no' for an answer." Soren Bech (former COSCO News editor)

"The news of Lorraine's death hasn't really sunk in yet… Our sincere condolences are with her family especially her partner Sharon Bard. Lorraine is already missed but the inspiration she provided will continue to empower others. No one could have asked for a more supportive leader at the helm of COSCO. Collaboration and teamwork is what she practiced. Principled values, passion and discretion guided her in her work with the Council of Senior Citizens Organizations' of BC since she became our President in 2014. COSCO benefitted immensely from her leadership. Personally, I will miss her wise counsel, unerring BS detector, wicked sense of humour and friendship." Gudrun Langolf (Pres COSCO)

I have, and will continue, to cite Lorraine as one of my 'femtors' and a reason for my being where I am today. As a tireless advocate for equity and making positive change, she will be missed dearly. My thoughts are with Lorraine's partner Sharon Bard as well, and I thank her for providing biographical information about Lorraine's life for this tribute.

A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday February 17th @ 11:00 am at the International Union of Operating Engineers Hall, 4333 Ledger Avenue, Burnaby.

In Solidarity and Respect,
Stephanie Smith, President

 

UWU/MoveUP

January 31, 2018

Read the Winter 2018 issue of The Steward - BCGEU

In this issue, we look at a variety of topics to keep you up-to-date on issues that could affect your workplace, and the members you represent. Topics include the duty to accommodate and how it may arise through discrimination based on disability or family status; the employer's legal duty to protect members from harassment on the employer's social media platforms; the employee's duty to mitigate lost wages in the event of an unjust termination; and more.

We hope you'll find this issue informative and useful in your work. Are there areas of labour law or workplace relations issues you would like to see addressed in the next issue? Have a suggestion for steward education? Don't hesitate to email us at steward@bcgeu.ca with your ideas. Also, don't forget to check out all of the resources for stewards, including back-issues of this publication, on the BCGEU member portal. Log into your account and find resources under Tools for Stewards.

 

 


Download steward-january-2018.pdf

UWU/MoveUP

January 26, 2018

BCGEU Submission to Review of Professional Reliance - BCGEU

The government has initiated a review of the professional reliance model in the natural resource sector. The day-to-day work of thousands of BCGEU members is shaped by this regulatory model, and many of our members have raised the alarm about its shortcomings. 

In its present form, the professional reliance model effectively lets the "fox guard the henhouse," leading in some cases to the mismanagement of our resources and harm to the environment. Combined with deep staff and funding cuts to the responsible ministries and agencies, strong public oversight of our lands has been seriously eroded.

This review is an important opportunity to fix how the provincial government oversees industry's activities on the land base in B.C. so that the environment and the public interest are better protected. Environmental lawyer Mark Haddock was appointed to conduct the review, and his report and recommendations are due this spring (May 2018).

You can read the full submission below:

January 15, 2018

BCGEU Defends Members after columnist criticizes social workers - BCGEU

It's become the norm, after 16 years of sustained social service cuts, for columnists and pundits to take knee-jerk reactions and blame government workers when a high-profile tragedy occurs.

You may have heard about or read a recent column by the Vancouver Sun's Ian Mulgrew, blaming the courts and social workers for the tragic death of two young girls in Oak Bay.

Your union responded on behalf of our members in MCFD, who do tremendous work to protect BC families, with limited resources and massive workloads. We wanted to share our president Stephanie Smith's response in a Letter to the Editor of the Vancouver Sun, which was printed in today's edition.

We hope you will take a minute to read the president's letter.



UWU/MoveUP

January 15, 2018

On January 20, we will march again! - BCGEU

Last January, millions of people worldwide came together to march for human rights. In Vancouver alone, there were over 15,000 people who marched Downtown.

While we made gains in 2017, we also recognize there is still much work to be done.

With the growing momentum of the #MeToo movement, it is more important than ever to amplify the voices of not just women and girls, but of all marginalized groups including refugees, migrants, indigenous peoples and the LGBTQI2S community.

On January 20, 2018, we march on.

We know it takes action to make change. That's why numerous events will be held across the province that will embrace positivity, inclusivity and diversity.

BCGEU President Stephanie Smith, Treasurer Paul Finch, Executive Vice Presidents Kari Michaels and Sussanne Skidmore, along with other BCGEU members will be attending the event in Downtown Vancouver to show that our union will stand up for our values of diversity, tolerance and human rights. All allies are welcome. Please join us!

Together, we will march on!

Learn more about March On Canada here and find out about an event happening near your community here:

 

March On Canada

Women's March Canada 



UWU/MoveUP

January 10, 2018

BCGEU Remembers Mona Moreno - BCGEU

It is with great sadness that we inform our members that Mona Moreno, the founder of the Cedar Root Gallery, passed away on January 1, 2018. 

Mona was a strong Indigenous woman from the Haida Nation. She was a retired, proud member of Public Service Alliance of Canada and a supporter of the labour movement for many years. Mona proudly raised her children with the values of the trade union movement. 

Mona founded the Cedar Root Gallery 25 years ago, which is a landmark business in East Vancouver situated in the Vancouver Friendship Centre. The BCGEU has a long relationship working with Mona and the gallery. Her presence will be missed and the loss will be felt throughout the union.


 


UWU/MoveUP

January 04, 2018

Violence reported at Surrey Pretrial Service Center (SPSC) and North Fraser P...

A serious staff assault occurred at the SPSC on January 2, 2018. The Correctional Officer received injuries to his face and hand, from a brutal unprovoked assault by an inmate. The CO was taken to hospital for treatment, which may result in the loss of his finger. The union is continuing to investigate and will provide an update when more information is available.


Another incident occurred on December 29 at NFPC, when an inmate hung himself from the 3rd tier. When the officer was unlocking the rest of the living unit, the inmate ran to his cell, grabbed a sheet, tied it to the top railing, wrapped the sheet around his neck and threw himself between the safety bars. Thanks to the actions of our COs, the inmate was saved. 


These types of incidents are very traumatic and occur alongside other serious violent incidents on a regular basis. The number of Officers suffering from PTSD is climbing, which is why safety is paramount in our business.


New young Correctional Officers are already leaving Corrections at an alarming pace. Corrections has the highest attrition rate of 14 per cent and we can't retain Officers who are paid $59,000 per year, almost the lowest in Canada. This must be addressed immediately. 


The union takes these issues seriously and will bring these incidents to the appropriate Occupational Health and Safety committees, and through the Joint Accident Investigation process. We will report out to members as soon as information becomes available.


Dean Purdy
Corrections and Sheriffs Component 1 Vice President

 



UWU/MoveUP

January 03, 2018

To ISM employees: We are fighting for your jobs - BCGEU

Dear ISM Employees,

I would like to start this letter by saying "Happy New Year," but, I know that you received news last week that makes this a difficult start to the year.

Like you, we are concerned that ISM was not the successful proponent in securing the RFP with the health authorities. As soon as we heard the news we started making calls to get more information and be able to fight for your jobs and your collective agreement.

We have already reached out to ISM and government to find out what this means for everyone involved. Yesterday, Judy Fox-McGuire - your Component 6 VP - and I met with your staff rep and other union staff to make a plan of action and establish next steps.

In the coming days we will be reaching out to government officials, your employer and NTT Data to ensure that, whatever the outcome, your job and your collective agreement are secure.

In the meantime, I want to make sure you know that the final stage of the bid process will take some months to complete. In the immediate future, nothing will change for you.

You will continue working as you have until more details become available.

We will be notifying you as we get more information and establish next steps.

If you have questions please contact your steward and we will respond to your queries as best we can.

We know this is very stressful and we are here to assist and represent you as this process moves forward.

 

In Solidarity,

Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President
Judy Fox-McGuire, VP Component 6

 

 

 

 


UWU/MoveUP

 

December 22, 2017

Professional Reliance Review Will Protect Workers - BCGEU

The BC government has initiated a review of the professional reliance model in the natural resource sector. Many BCGEU members' day-to-day is shaped by this regulatory model.

The professional reliance model effectively lets the "fox guard the henhouse," leading – in some cases - to the mismanagement of our resources and harm to the environment. Combined with deep staff and funding cuts to responsible ministries and agencies, strong public oversight of our lands has been seriously eroded.

This review gives an important opportunity to fix how the provincial government oversees industry's activities on the land base, so that the environment and the public interest are better protected.

BCGEU is able to confirm that the employer has agreed to extend to members a protection outlined in the BCGEU collective agreement under article 32.13 Disclosure of Information. Specifically, no employee shall be disciplined for bringing forth in good faith an allegation of wrongdoing during the review. 

BCGEU encourages members to take part in the in-house review and speak candidly about your experiences with the professional reliance model. Members have been sharing their concerns with this model for years, and this is a great opportunity to proactively and productively seek to fix issues with the model through constructive dialogue with the review panel.

The online portion of the survey is open until January 19th. If you have not done so already you can do it here: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/govtogetherbc/consultation/professional-reliance-review/