May 31, 2019

Labour Code amendments give workers and unions more power - BCGEU

B.C.'s Labour Code is the rule book for how workers organize to join unions as well as how unionized workers and their employers interact. Despite its importance to working people and unions, the Code had gone without an update for more than 15 years until the provincial government launched a legislative review process in 2018. Your union made a submission to that process that recommended a series of bold changes that would make it easier for more unorganized workers in more sectors to join unions, make it more difficult for employers to interfere in the organizing process, and strengthen successorship rights for unions to ensure long-term stability once a workplace is organized.

I am happy to say that on Wednesday, one of the last days of the spring legislative session, the provincial government passed amendments to the Code that do much of what our submission asked for, and give more power to unions and workers.

Here are some highlights of the amendments passed this week:

  • Workers in unorganized worksites will have a greater ability to hold discussions amongst themselves about working conditions.
  • Employers will have less ability to interfere when workers are actively organizing a worksite.
  • Employers are prohibited from altering terms and conditions of employment for 12 months after a certification while a first collective agreement is negotiated.
  • Workers in unionized workplaces will have more protection against contract flipping or re-tendering when a new employer takes over their worksite. These amendments to the Code build on the provincial government's repeal of two bills that enabled contract-flipping in the health services and community social services sector earlier this year.
  • The Code will be reviewed at least every five years to ensure that it is adaptable to changing economic conditions.

Despite these positive steps, I'm disappointed that some of our most critical recommendations were not among the amendments passed this week.

For instance, our submission recommended the restoration of a single-step card check certification system to replace the current two-step system in which a worker must sign a union card and also participate in a secret ballot vote, which is attended by the employer. It is our view that signing a union card is effectively a vote to unionize and the secret ballot is unnecessary and unfair.

Our submission also recommended measures to make the Code more responsive to the challenges faced by workers in precarious, part-time, and contract employment. And we pushed for easier access to collective bargaining rights for workers in sectors that are traditionally hard to organize. These recommendations were not included in the amendments passed this week.

Read about our submission here: BCGEU brings 15 recommendations to labour code review panel, calls for fairness and balance for B.C. workers

There is a lot to celebrate in the Labour Code amendments. And there is still a lot of work for all of us to do to ensure workers and unions have the power and protection necessary to create safer, healthier, more equitable workplaces and make B.C. a more prosperous province. With an ongoing review process now in place, we have already started working with activists and staff across the province to build on these gains on behalf of the BCGEU's 79,000 members, and all working people in B.C.


In solidarity,

Stephanie Smith
Local 303
BCGEU President


May 31, 2019

The Provincial magazine - Spring 2019 - BCGEU

The spring issue of The Provincial magazine is finished and ready to download. Featured in this issue:

  • BCGEU News – Reports on BC Budget 2019, the money laundering inquiry and the BCGEU's centennial celebration.
  • Community Social Services – Reports on initiatives in the CSS sector.
  • Campaigns – Updates on our Affordable BC, Shop Public and A Day Without Admin campaigns.
  • BCGEU Community News



May 28, 2019

Join us as we celebrate 100 years of the BCGEU - BCGEU

Share your union stories!


Back in 1919, workers came together to form what we know today as the BCGEU. As part of our Centennial celebrations,

we're looking back at the many ways that our union has impacted our worksites and communities throughout the years.

Be a part of telling the story of our history in your community through events, photos, and more.


Have something to share or want to be involved in your community's project?

Email: centennial@bcgeu.ca


Download a poster to put up in your workplace



May 27, 2019

Casino workers vote to join B.C.'s leading union in the gaming sector - BCGEU

A strong majority want to be a part of the union.

(Victoria, B.C.) Over 130 employees across five departments at Elements Casino Victoria voted to join the BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) to fight for job security, better wages, fairness and a voice at their workplace. The positive vote to join was 87%, with 82% of workers casting a ballot. These workers join over 3,400 casino workers who are already a part of B.C.'s leading union in the gaming sector. 

"These workers have clearly made a choice to stand together to make improvements in their worksite," said Stephanie Smith, president of the BCGEU. "The message is strong – casino workers feel they belong in our union."

The departments joining the BCGEU are Table Games, Slots, Cage, Count and Guest Services.

Elements Casino Victoria is located in View Royal, and is owned by Great Canadian Casinos, a subsidiary of Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, which owns River Rock Casino Resort and Hard Rock Casino.

The BCGEU is one of the largest and most diverse unions in British Columbia. We represent over 78,000 members in 550 bargaining units in the private sector and public services.


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May 22, 2019

Painting on Glass & the West Kootenay Area Office Open House - BCGEU

To help celebrate our 100th Anniversary the BCGEU would like to invite all members & their families to an Open House at the Area Office, 2316 Columbia Avenue, Castlegar. On Saturday, June 1, 2019 between 12:00 & 2:00 pm please come and join us for appetizers & refreshments.

We are also hosting a painting party. A Painting on Glass workshop with Angela Lenard, will be offered from 2:00 – 5:00 pm at the Carpenter's Hall – next door – 2320 Columbia Avenue. Pre-registration is required for in this class and each registrant is to bring up to 4 glasses of any style.

Follow the link below to register:


Hope to see you on June 1, 2019.


May 17, 2019

BCGEU members approve job action at Telus Employer Solutions - BCGEU

B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union members who provide payroll services to the B.C. Government voted overwhelmingly to approve strike action to support their contract negotiations with Telus Employer Solutions (formerly Telus Sourcing Solutions), the BCGEU announced today. Members voted 100 per cent in favour of strike action at a strike vote held on Thursday.


The main issues in bargaining include wages and benefits, workload and language to address bullying in the workplace. A major sticking point is Telus' refusal to provide a wage offer that matches wage increases negotiated by government workers in their recent collective agreement.


"BCGEU members process payroll for the B.C. government and they're justifiably upset that Telus, which provides these services, refuses to match the government workers' wage increase," said BCGEU treasurer Paul Finch. "Telus can afford double digit increases in executive compensation and a multi-year dividend growth program for shareholders, but they say they can't afford a modest wage increase for the workers who provide that profit? Our members aren't buying it."


Telus' financial report for the first quarter of 2019 shows net income growth of up to 8.6 per cent and a quarterly dividend increase of $0.5625 per share. The company has also approved an annual 7 to 10 per cent dividend growth program for shareholders through to 2022. In 2017, Telus executives realized a 12.39 per cent increase in overall compensation.


"Telus is a large company that enjoys modern, progressive branding," said Finch. "And yet they are refusing to adopt even basic anti-bullying language in their collective agreement. What kind of message does that send to their customers, their investors and future employees?"


The union bargaining committee at Telus Employer Solutions will be meeting in the following days to consider options, including possible job action, to press their demands for a fair collective agreement.



May 16, 2019

BC government applauded for launching inquiry into money laundering - BCGEU

The B.C. government's decision Wednesday to launch a public inquiry into money laundering is being applauded by politicians and other advocates.



May 15, 2019

BCGEU applauds inquiry announcement, calls for broad mandate and resources

(BURNABY) – The BC Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) is applauding the B.C. government’s decision to call a public inquiry into money laundering headed by B.C. Supreme Court Justice Austin Cullen. And the union is praising its members for their advocacy over the last six months as a key driver in the government’s decision.

“Like all British Columbians, our members want answers about how our province got into this mess, how we get out of it, and who is responsible,” says BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. “Today’s announcement is a vital step toward getting those answers. I’m proud of our members and everyone who signed our petition—or engaged the government in any other way on this issue—and I’m happy to see the government is listening.”

In addition to money laundering’s impacts on the housing market that have affected affordability across B.C., many BCGEU members have also been impacted at their workplace. Members in sectors from health care, social services, libraries, and gaming to deputy sheriffs and correctional officers have been thrust into first responder roles on the frontlines of the opioid crisis, with members in B.C.’s casinos facing the presence of organized crime at their workplaces.

Despite a series of studies completed over the last year into the impact of money laundering in B.C. and Canada, significant questions remain including the true scope of the problem and who is accountable. This is because, to date, none of the studies have been completed by investigators with the authority to request documents and compel testimony.

“We’ve all learned a lot about money laundering recently,” said Smith. “But it’s really been a case of the more we learn, the more we realize how much we still don’t know. Every report I’ve seen has been like shining a flashlight into one corner of a big, dark room. We’ve said from the beginning that a public inquiry is the only way to turn the lights on so we can get the full picture.”

The government’s decision announced today has broad-based public support. A February 2019 Research Co. poll commissioned by the BCGEU showed 77 per cent of respondents in favour of an inquiry. These findings, and those from two others dating back to June 2018, showed support for an inquiry across age, gender, region, voting preference and ethnicity.

“In addition to the announcement of the inquiry itself, we are also encouraged by the ability of the commissioner to compel testimony, the ability to go as far back in time as necessary, and the co-operation of the federal government. We look forward to learning more about terms and resources in the coming days. It’s imperative that the commissioner has the power to explore the myriad of ways that dirty money has impacted our housing market, the opioid epidemic and other aspects of our economy and communities.”

The union first called for a public inquiry in December 2018 following the collapse of the RCMP’s E-Pirate investigation and launched a public petition in February 2019.

For more information contact Stefan Avlijas, BCGEU 778 833-2667.

May 06, 2019

BCGEU remembers Bobbi Pettett - BCGEU

On behalf of the members of the BC Government and Service Employees' Union I extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Bobbi Pettett, who passed away on May 5, 2019.

Bobbi was a dedicated activist and beginning in 1989, she held many positions in the union from steward, local chair, and bargaining committee member to component chair and member of the provincial executive. She was a member of the union's women's committee and was instrumental in the creation of Component 8 – Community Health Services and Support. In 2014, Bobbi was bestowed the union's highest honour of life membership.

Bobbi was compassionate, honest and loved her union and in fact, she had an encyclopedic knowledge of our union's history. She also loved her family and her time spent in Hawaii.

Our hearts and minds are with her friends, family and all who knew and loved her.

In solidarity and respect,
Stephanie Smith, President