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NEWS

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

October 05, 2021

B.C. Gov announces vaccine mandate for public service workers BCGEU

The head of B.C.'s public service announced today that all B.C. public service workers will be required to provide proof of full vaccination beginning November 22, 2021. The current flexible work arrangement has also been deferred to November 22. We haven't seen the full policy as it has not yet been released, and we are waiting to understand what exemptions and accommodations will be in place. Our union will continue to update members when we have additional information.

Our union supports the right of all workers to safe and healthy workplaces. That's why, from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the BCGEU has pushed for best practice health and safety measures for communities and workplaces including mandatory masks, physical distancing, remote work arrangements, paid sick leave and vaccines for all who are able. And that's why we will continue to call for a mask mandate to be implemented uniformly in all public service workplaces.
 
In the meantime, if you have not yet been vaccinated and are eligible to do so, here are links to vaccine clinics in your area:

For more info about the COVID-19 vaccine: visit the BC CDC



UWU/MoveUP

September 29, 2021

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation - a day for education and action - ...

Tomorrow is the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and our union encourages all members to take the day to reflect and take steps toward reconciliation in our communities.
 
For several years, September 30 has been recognized as Orange Shirt Day -- a day to bring attention to the legacy and ongoing impacts of the residential school system on Indigenous communities. It commemorated the story of residential school survivor Phyllis Webstad who had her beloved orange shirt taken from her on the day she arrived at the St. Joseph Mission Residential School in Williams Lake, BC – click here to read more about the origin of Orange Shirt Day. Following the revelations of mass graves at former residential schools earlier this year, the federal government recognized September 30 as a federal statutory holiday, in accordance with call to action #80 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
 
The path of reconciliation is full of hard truths that may be uncomfortable for non-Indigenous people, but it is essential to engage in this process and take guidance from Indigenous members and community members.

How can I take action?
 
Events - Around the province and online, events will be taking place to recognize the impacts that Canada’s colonial history has had on Indigenous communities. Given the state of the COVID-19 pandemic, members are encouraged to join events at a level that is comfortable to them, be that online or in-person.

Education - Reconciliation is an ongoing process, and in addition to the events that are occurring tomorrow, our union has gathered a variety of resources including suggestions of some Indigenous businesses to support, Indigenous social media thought leaders to follow, and links for non-Indigenous people to better understand Canada’s painful colonial legacy and its impact on Indigenous peoples.

The BCGEU is committed to reconciliation and breaking down barriers to participation for Indigenous members in our union. The labour movement is founded on the principles of justice, dignity and respect. We must be leaders in supporting the rights of Indigenous peoples both in society and in the workplace.
 
In Solidarity,
 
Your BCGEU Provincial Executive

UWU/MoveUP

September 14, 2021

Public Service Main and Component Bargaining Proposals for the 19th Public Se...

Preparations for the 19th Public Service negotiations are already commencing. Therefore, we are calling for locals to meet and prepare draft proposals and resolutions for submission to their respective components. They are to be forwarded to the Component Executives in order for proposals and resolutions to be vetted and allocated to either the Public Service Main or Component tables. The deadline for locals to have proposals submitted to their respective Component is Friday - October 1, 2021. 

Components will consider these proposals and submit them to the Public Service Bargaining Committee by 5:00 pm on Monday - November 1, 2021.
All Public Service Main proposals will be sent electronically to the attention of Lisa Lane at the Victoria Area Office. This will require locals and components to meet earlier and endorse proposals in time for referral. 

Please ensure that you schedule a local meeting with bargaining proposals on the agenda in advance of October 1, 2021. 
Attached is the form to use to articulate the proposal and the rationale for it. These forms are retained by the Public Service Bargaining Committee and referred to during negotiations to assess need, determine priority and obtain additional feedback where necessary. Proposals do not need to be in contract language format. The committee can draft the language as long as the intent is clear. It is very important, however, to include examples, which justify the need for language changes as these are used by the Committee at the negotiations table to show why the changes are needed.

Thank you for your assistance in this regard.

In solidarity

Stephanie Smith
President

Download Memorandum here

Download Form for Submitting Component or Main Bargaining Proposals here 

UWU/MoveUP