B.C.'S UNION SINCE 1919

NEWS

October 10, 2018

UPDATED: Information For BCGEU Members At Gateway Casinos - BCGEU

On Friday, September 15 Gateway Casino filed an application in BC Supreme Court seeking an injunction that would have severely restricted picketing at the Penticton location. Gateway's application relied on video and other evidence that allegedly showed our members trespassing, delaying vehicles, and intimidating casino clients. 


The Court heard the application on Monday and issued a ruling on Wednesday, September 19th. The Court denied Gateway's application because the evidence presented did not show unlawful activity by BCGEU members.
 
This ruling is great news-not just for BCGEU casino workers currently on strike at Gateway's four Okanagan casinos, but for all unions in BC-because the Court's oral reasons uphold picketing as an exercise of free expression and workers' rights.
 
While this ruling is something to celebrate, the Court also directed BCGEU leadership to communicate with our members about the principles of lawful picketing and the potential dangers of unlawful activity on the picket line. I support this direction from the Court because I believe it is vitally important that our members on the line in the Okanagan are exercising their rights in a way that ensures Gateway will not be able to return to Court to try for another injunction in the future. 
 
The principles below relate directly to Gateway's allegations and don't cover all aspects of picketing but they should be very familiar to many of you because they reflect the direction the BCGEU gives to all members on the line. If you have questions about these principles or any other aspect of picketing, please refer to that written direction and contact your picket captain.
 
I've had several opportunities to visit and walk all four picket lines since June 29th and I'm impressed with the strength and solidarity shown by all of our striking casino workers. On behalf of your union, I'm proud to stand with you and support you as you fight for the fair collective agreement you deserve.
 
In sol,


Stephanie Smith, BCGEU president

 

Media Coverage

 


 
 
Principles of Lawful Picketing

 
Trespassing

  • Minor, incidental use of private property, such as momentarily stepping on a sidewalk to get out of the way of vehicle traffic, is not unlawful.
  • Picketers may not follow vehicles into the parking lot, or otherwise proceed into the property.


Intimidation

  • Verbal insults are not unlawful but picketers should remain courteous and respectful even when managers and/or clients are not.
  • If managers are recording the activity of picketers, picketers should be recording as well.


Delaying vehicles

  • Picketers may walk across entrances and exits at a normal pace.
  • If a vehicle arrives while a picketer is in the entrance/exit, the picketer should continue to the other side.
  • If a vehicle approaches or is in an entrance/exit where picketers are not currently walking, picketers should not walk in front of that vehicle.
  • When a vehicle stops to wait for picketers to clear an entrance/exit a picketer may approach the driver, explain the reason for the picket line, and ask the driver not to cross it. During this interaction, it would be best if the picketer had leaflets to hand to the driver. The interaction may continue as long as the driver wishes.
  • Picketers may not stand or walk in front of a vehicle crossing the picket line. The driver must be able to safely cross the picket line if they choose to.



UWU/MoveUP

October 09, 2018

New resource guide to First Nations acknowledgements, protocol and terminolog...

There is a groundswell of change happening in Canada with respect to relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. The BCGEU has always strived to be a positive ally to Indigenous Peoples and as part of our ongoing work to put this commitment into action, I am pleased to provide you with a copy of the BCGEU guide to First Nations acknowledgement, protocol & terminology.
 
Download PDF of the BCGEU guide to First Nations acknowledgement, protocol & terminology here

In this guide you will find information on how to acknowledge a territory or treaty on which a gathering takes place, summaries of First Nations social conventions, useful terminology, as well as links to other helpful resources.
 
Our union expresses unity and respect for First Nations by beginning every formal meeting and union event with a grateful acknowledgement that we gather on the traditional territory of First Nations people. However, delegates at BCGEU's 2017 Constitutional Convention asked their union to go further and encourage all meetings at the local and component level to include an acknowledgement. This resulted in the development of this guide and I hope members, staff and elected representatives of the union will find it to be a valuable tool.
 
Your suggestions and/or questions are welcome so we can continue to maintain the best resource possible. Please contact communications@bcgeu.ca with any feedback.
 
In solidarity,
Stephanie Smith



UWU/MoveUP

October 05, 2018

Labour Endorsed Candidates - BCGEU

Local government elections are your opportunity to influence decision-making in your community by electing mayors, councilors, regional district directors, school board trustees and other representatives who will take action on issues that matter for working people; issues like affordable housing, inclusive schools, and keeping services public. Polls will be open in every community across the province from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm on Saturday, October 20.

These candidates have been endorsed by their local labour council and/or the BCGEU based on their platforms and where they stand on issues affecting working people. 

 

Kelowna

 

 

 

 

 

 

Council

Mohini Singh (BCGEU Member)

 

School Board #23 (Central Okanagan)

Norah Bowman
Peter Pagliocchini

 

Vernon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor

Erik Olesen

 

Council

Kelly Fehr

 

School Board #22 (Vernon)

Mark Olsen

 

Cranbrook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Council

Norma Blisset

 

School Board #5 (Southeast Kootenay)

Trina Ayling
Chris Johns
Doug McPhee
Wendy Turner
Patricia Whalen

 

Fernie

 

 

Council

Joe Warshawky

 

Central Saanich

 

 

Council

Zeb King (BCGEU member)

 

Oak Bay

 

 

 

Council

Isabella Lee
Andrew Stinson

 

Saanich

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Council

Judy Brownoff
Nathalie Chambers
Zac de Vries
Colin Plant

 

School Board #62 (Sooke)

Ravi Parmar

 

School Board #61 (Greater Victoria)

Vincent Gornall
Diane McNally
Ryan Painter
Rob Raynter
Jordan Watters

 

 

Victoria

 

 

 

 

 

Council

Marianne Alto
Laurel Collins
Sharmarke Dubow (BCGEU member)
Ben Isitt
Grace Lore
Jeremy Loveday
Sarah Potts

 

Prince George

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor

Lyn Hall

 

Council

Frank Everitt
Garth Frizzell
Murry Krause
Terri McConnachie
Cori Ramsay
Susan Scott
Brian Skakun

 

School Board #57 (Prince George)

Trent Derrick
Stephanie Mikalishen-Deol
Corey Walker

 

Regional District of Fraser-Fort George

Colin Clyne (Electoral Area C)

 

Abbotsford

 

 

 

School Board #34 (Abbotsford)

Raj Patara (BCGEU member)
Preet Rai (BCGEU member)

 

Chilliwack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Council

Louis De Jaeger (BCGEU member)
Lisa Morry
Patti MacAhonic

 

School Board #33 (Chilliwack)

Dan Coulter
Kelly Janveaux
Willow Reichelt
David Swankey

 

North Vancouver City

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor

Lina Buchanan

 

Council

Angela Girard
Mack McCorkindale (BCGEU member)

 

Vancouver

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor

Kennedy Stewart

 

Council

Christine Boyle – OneCity
Pete Fry – Green
Derrick O’Keefe – COPE
Jean Swanson – COPE
Brandon Yan – OneCity

 

School Board #39 (Vancouver)

Erin Arnold – Vision Vancouver (BGEU member)
Carrie Bercic – OneCity
Janet Fraser – Green
Estrellita Gonzalez – Green
Erica Jaaf – OneCity
Aaron Leung – Vision Vancouver
Barb Parrott – COPE
Jennifer Reddy – OneCity
Allan Wong – Vision Vancouver

 

Park Board

Dave Demers – Green
Camil Dumont – Green
Gwen Geisbrecht – COPE
John Irwin – COPE
Stuart MacKinnon – Green
Shamin Shivji – Vision Vancouver
Cameron Zubko – Vision Vancouver

Campbell River

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Council

Michele Babchuk

 

School Board #71 (Campbell River)

Richard Franklin
John Kerr
Joyce McMann

 

 

Comox

 

 

School Board #71 (Comox Valley)

Michelle Waite

 

Courtenay

 

 

 

 

 

 

Council

Will Cole-Hamilton
David Frisch
Doug Hillian
Kiyoshi Kosky
Melanie McCollum
Wendy Morin

 

 

 

Cumberland

 

 

 

Council

Roger Kishi
Ian McLean

 

 

Kamloops

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Council

Jennifer Dawn Adams
Dale Bass
Bill Sarai

 

School Board #73 (Kamloops-Thompson)

Beat Klossener
Kerri Schill

 

Duncan

 

 

Council

Tom Duncan

 

Nanaimo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor

Leonard Krog

 

Council

Guy Beaulieu
Don Bonner
Tyler Brown
Ben Geselbracht
Erin Hemmens

 

School Board #68 (Nanaimo-Ladysmith)

Lisa Marie Barron
Tania Brzovic
Greg Keller
Chantel O’Neill (BCGEU member)
Jessica Stanley

 

North Cowichan

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor

Jon Lefebure

 

Council

Robert Douglas (BCGEU member)
Paul Fletcher
Kate Marsh

 

Parksville

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor

Kirk Oates

 

Council

Kim Burton
Amanda Wagner
Mark Stephens

 

 

Prince Rupert

 

 

 

 

 

Council

Nick Adey
Barry Cunningham Sarah Dantzer

 

School Board #72 (Prince Rupert)

Christy Maier

 

Sechelt (District)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor

Bruce Milne

 

Council

Alice Lutes

 

Sunshine Coast School District (TEA Lower 3 - Gibsons)

Charlene L. Penner Sue Girard

 

Sunshine Coast Regional District (Roberts Creek)

Steve Bake

Port Coquitlam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor

Brad West

 

Council

Laura Dupont
Nancy McCurrach
Priscilla Omulo (BCGEU member)
Darrell G. Penner
Glenn Pollock (BCGEU member)
Dean Washington

 

School Board #43 (Coquitlam)

Bruce Richardson
Christine Pollock

Port Moody

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor

Robert Vagramov

 

Council

Amy Lubik
Hunter Madsen

 

School Board #43 (Coquitlam)

Lisa Park
Keith Watkins

 

Surrey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor

Pauline Greaves - Proudly Surrey

 

Council

Doug Elford
Vera LeFranc - Surrey First
Parshotam Goel - Proudly Surrey
Felix Kongyuy - Proudly Surrey 
Adam MacGillivray - Proudly Surrey
Stuart Parker - Proudly Surrey

 

School Board #36 (Surrey)

Terry Allen
Cindy Dalglish — Surrey Students NOW
Charlene Dobie — Surrey Students NOW
Laurie Larsen
Niovi Patsicakis
Mary-Em Waddington — Surrey Students NOW

 

 

 

 

White Rock

 

 

Mayor

Darryl Walker (BCGEU member)

 

Burnaby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor

Mike Hurley

 

Council

Baljinder K. Narang — Burnaby Citizens’ Association
Claire Preston

 

School Board #41 (Burnaby)

Suresh Bhayana — Burnaby Citizens’ Association
Bill Brassington — Burnaby Citizens’ Association
Peter Cech — Burnaby Citizens’ Association
Larry Hayes — Burnaby Citizens’ Association
Jen Mezei — Burnaby Citizens’ Association
Ryan Stewart — Burnaby Citizens’ Association (BCGEU member)
Gary Wong — Burnaby Citizens’ Association

 

Coquitlam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor

Adel Gamar

 

Council

Rob Bottos (BCGEU member)
Craig Hodge
Sean Lee
Trish Mandewo
Nicola Spurling
Chris Wilson
Bonita Zarrillo

 

School Board #43 (Coquitlam)

Jennifer Blatherwick
Shari O’Neill
Craig Woods

 

Delta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor

Sylvia Bishop — Team Delta

 

Council

Lori Mayhew
Mike Smith
Simran Walia — Team Delta

 

School Board #37 (Delta)

Randy Anderson – Fennell — Kids Matter
Rhiannon Bennett
Victor M. Espinoza — Kids Matter
Andrea Hilder
Mita Naidu
B. Bruce Reid — Kids Matter
Val Windsor

 

Langley City

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor

Valaria van den Broek

 

Council

Paul Albrecht
Andrew Mercier
Nathan Pachal

 

School Board #35 (Langley)

Candy Ashdown

 

 

Langley Township

 

 

 

 

 

 

Council

Gail Chaddock - Costello
Stacey Wakelin

School Board #35 (Langley)

Megan Dykeman
Suzanne Perreault
David Tod
Marnie Wilson

Maple Ridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor

Craig Speirs (Retired BCGEU member)

 

Council

Chris Bossley
Kiersten Duncan
Rysa Kronebusch

 

School Board #42 (Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows)

Elaine Yamamoto

 

New Westminster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor

Jonathan X. Cote

 

Council

Chinu Das
Patrick Johnstone
Jaimie McEvoy
Nadine Nakagawa
Chuck Puchmayr
Mary Trentadue

 

School Board #40 (New Westminster)

Anita Ansari
Dee Beattie
Gurveen Dhaliwal (BCGEU member)
Mark Gifford
Maya Russell

 

Pitt Meadows

 

 

School Board #42 (Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows)

Korleen Carreras (BCGEU member)

 

Mission

 

 

Council

Michael Nenn

 

 

Harrison Hot Springs

 

 

Council

Michie Vidal 

Richmond

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Council

Kelly Greene, Richmond Citizens' Association
Harold Steves, Richmond Citizen's Association
Judie Schneider, Richmond Citizen's Association
Jack Trovato, Richmond Citizen's Association

 

School Board #38 (Richmond)

Ken Hamaguchi
Sandra Nixon
Donna Sargent
Andrew Scallion
Debbie Tablotney
Grace Tsang
Eric Yung

Quesnel

 

 

Council

Scott Elliott (BCGEU member)

 

Nelson 

 

Council

Robin Cherbo (BCGEU member)


Kootenay

 

 

School District #8

Lance Gotzy for School Trustee representing Salmo, Taghum and Blewett (BCGEU member)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



UWU/MoveUP

October 04, 2018

Sisters In Spirit Vigils - A movement for social change - BCGEU

October 4th is a day to honour the lives of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) and their families. The Native Women's Association of Canada invites all family members, Indigenous community members and allies to take some reflective time on October 4th to attend a vigil or a community event or take a moment of silence to honour our stolen sisters and to support all families and families of the heart.

In British Columbia, there are a number of community vigils planned that all are welcome to attend:

Agassiz – The Agassiz United Church Outreach Program will be hosting a candlelight vigil on-site.
October 4th @ 7PM

Alexis Creek – Tl'etinqox Health Services will be holding a candlelight vigil, drumming and prayer at the Tl'etinqox Health Centre.
October 4th 1PM-2PM

Courtenay – North Island Students' Union @ North Island College will be welcoming Elders and dancers from K'omoks First Nation and will hold moment of silence in the Courtyard at Discovery Hall.
October 4th 11AM

Fort Ware – The Kwadacha Education Society will be hosting a moment of silence and will be doing the heart activity, and beading heart pins.
October 4th 4PM-6PM

Gibsons – School District No. 46 (Sunshine Coast) and Aboriginal Programs and Services will be holding moments of silence in various classrooms across the district.
October 4th throughout the day

Kamloops – Thompson Rivers University Status of Women will be holding candlelight vigils and a moment of silence throughout various sites on campus in Kamloops.
October 5th

Kelowna – The Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society will be hosting an opening prayer, walk, dinner, speech, sharing stories, closing circle, prayer, and moment of silence on-site.
October 4th 5PM-8PM

Masset – Haida Health Center will be hosting a candlelight vigil at 347 Eagle Avenue.
October 4th 6PM

Nanaimo – Vancouver Island University Student Union Shq'apthut "The Gathering Place" will be hosting a gathering with a speaker and a display of cards filled out in remembrance of women affected by violence; on-location.
October 3rd

New Westminster – Douglas Students' Union will be holding a candlelight vigil at AB Atrium of Douglas College (Coquitlam).
October 3rd 11AM-3PM

New Westminster – Douglas Students' Union will be holding a candlelight vigil at the Main Concourse of Douglas College (New Westminster).
October 4th 11AM-2PM

Oliver – Osoyoos Indian Band will be hosting a prayer, speakers, a barbecue lunch, and a balloon release at the Osoyoos Indian Band Office.
October 4th 12PM

Penticton – Okanagan Nation Transition Emergency House and Lower Similkameen Indian Band will be hosting a dinner, speakers, and a march at Victory Hall.
October 4th 5:30PM

Port Alberni – Eight Avenue Learning Centre will be holding a moment of silence and information session on healthy relationships.
October 4th

Port Alberni – Port Alberni Friendship Center will be holding a candlelight vigil with a connecting with the land spiritual practice.
October 4th 11AM

Prince George – College of New Caledonia Student Union, Aboriginal Resource Center, and CNC Friendship Center will be hosting a candlelight vigil and moment of silence at The Gathering Place, College of New Caledonia.
October 4th 5PM-7PM

Summerland – Summerland Secondary Me to We Club. Will most likely hold a moment of silence.
October 4th 1PM

Terrace – Coast Mountain Students Union and Kermode Friendship Society will be hosting a vigil and moment of silence at Kermode Friendship Society Admin.
October 4th

Vancouver – The Indigenous Law Students Association (UBC) will be hosting speakers. They will also display a moment of silence inside, candlelight vigil outside and will be placing candles in the Reflection Pond. This will all be taking place at Allard Hall.
October 4th from 12:30PM-2PM.

Vancouver – Redeemer Lutheran Church will be holding a candlelight vigil and moment of silence.
October 4th 7PM

Vancouver – Vancouver Community College & Students' Union of Vancouver Community College will be hosting info and resources for students at 1155 E. Broadway.
October 4th 11AM-1PM

Vernon – Okanagan Indian Band will be holding a "See Me, Hear Me, Remember Me" Red Dress Campaign, Speakers, candlelight vigil and hanging Red Dresses. They also welcome any hand drummers to this event, which will take place on-location.
October 4th

Victoria – AOS Partners will be holding a moment of silence at their workplace.
October 4th 12PM

Victoria – Camosun College Student Society will be holding a school assembly on the Lansdowne Campus.
October 4th

Victoria – Pender Isld. Truth & Reconciliation Circle will be hosting a red dress, book and info display case (Sept. 29-Oct 6) at Pender Island Driftwood Mall. Red dress installation and info table on Saturday (Oct. 6)
October 6th 9AM-6PM

Whistler – Linda Epp and the Howe Sound Women's Centre will be hosting speakers and will be having a peaceful walk from Whistler Village Common Area to Olympic Plaza. They will also include singing and drumming followed by a display of First Nations song and dance. There will also be healing ceremonies at Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre.
October 4th @ 11AM.

 

 



UWU/MoveUP

October 03, 2018

Casino workers say they cannot get by on Gateway wages - BCGEU

Striking workers speak out about need for family-supporting wages

(Thompson-Okanagan) As the strike at Gateway Casinos in the Thompson-Okanagan continues, BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) members are opening up about why they are holding out for fair wages despite being on the picket line for over three months.

"Over the years I've struggled as a single mom to make ends meet," said Cheryl, a slot attendant who has worked at Gateway Casino in Penticton for over ten years.

"With the wages Gateway has been paying, I've had barely enough money to put food on the table," continued Cheryl. "After picking and choosing which bills I could pay, there has been no money left over for things like holidays or extra-curricular activities for my kids. Some years I couldn't even afford school photos." (read Cheryl's story in full below)

A cook at Playtime Casino in Kelowna, who has asked not to be named, described how he and his wife, who both work full-time jobs, find it difficult to provide for their family.

"I'm a proud father of four kids, but working two jobs like I do, I don't get a lot of time to spend with them," said the cook.

"My son has autism, and the extra costs for learning aids, medication, and other tools to help him cope add up. We are only able to take him to his much-needed therapy one day a week because we can't afford anything more than what the government pays for. My benefits don't help with that at all." (read cook's full story below)

"Our members' stories are heartbreaking illustrations of the cost of Gateway's 'profits before people' approach," said BCGEU President Stephanie Smith. "It's shameful for a multimillion-dollar casino company to force the employees that make it profitable to live in poverty."

Smith continued "I'm inspired by our members' resolve to do whatever it takes to get the wages and benefits they deserve and I'm proud to say they're union is behind them 100%."

Mediated talks between Gateway Casinos and over 675 members of the BCGEU in the Thompson-Okanagan broke off in September after the company refused to release financial information to back up claims that they cannot afford the workers' wage proposals.

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.

Cheryl's story in full: 

"I've been with Gateway Casinos in Penticton for over 10 years. I first worked in the cash cage and then switched to being a slot attendant to get shifts. 
 
Over the years I've struggled as a single mom to make ends meet. With the wages Gateway has been paying, I've had barely enough money to put food on the table. After picking and choosing which bills I could pay there has been no money left over for things like holidays or extra-curricular activities for my kids. Some years I couldn't even afford school photos.
 
Even with tips it's hard to get by. Having to hope that you get enough in tips at the end of the month to pay rent is stressful. If you get sick you don't get tips. If you take time off you don't get tips. 
 
Because of the low wages, I haven't been able to save any money. Six years ago, I had to have my teeth pulled and now, because of complications, it's going to cost me $10,000 to get dentures. I don't have that kind of money and my benefits will not cover much. I don't know what I'm going to do.
 
The wage increase I would get with Gateway's offer is not much more than 50 cents per hour. That won't help me get my teeth fixed. The fact that they have no recognition for long-term employees and are offering no increases to benefits is an extra slap in the face for me personally. I'll be out here on the picket line until they step up and pay us what we are worth."

Photo of Cheryl at Cascades Penticton Picket Line
 
Playtime Casino Cook's story in full:
 
"I'm a cook at Playtime Casino in Kelowna and my wife and I are struggling to get by. We both work full-time-I even have a second job-and we still live paycheque-to-paycheque. 
 
I'm a proud father of four kids, but working two jobs like I do, I don't get a lot of time to spend with them. My son has autism, and the extra costs for learning aids, medication, and other tools to help him cope add up. We are only able to take him to his much-needed therapy one day a week because we can't afford anything more than what the government pays for. My benefits don't help with that at all.
 
I'm on strike because Gateway is not offering a living wage. I make maybe $30 in tips per week-if that. No one in the kitchen makes more than an average of about $1 an hour in tips. We cannot rely on tips to survive.
 
It's the little things-we have to pay for our own parking when we work at Playtime. We aren't allowed to use the customer parking. Anytime there is an event near the casino I have to get to work a lot earlier just to find a spot.
 
Gateway is a multimillion-dollar company and they can afford show us some respect and pay a decent wage."



UWU/MoveUP

October 02, 2018

President’s bulletin to members on the introduction of the Poverty Reduction ...

Since November 2017 it has been my honour to serve as a member of the Minister's Advisory Forum on Poverty Reduction-a diverse and dynamic group made up of 27 people from the non-profit sector, labour, business, academia, local government, health care, social services, First Nations and Indigenous communities and including people with lived experience of poverty.

The Forum was created to serve as a sounding board and idea generator for the development of BC's first Poverty Reduction Strategy. This morning marked a major milestone in our work as Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, introduced the Poverty Reduction Strategy Act-the legislation that, if passed, will define the scope and guide the implementation of the Strategy.

As the only member of the Forum from BC's labour movement, I was responsible for representing the unique perspective of working people in addressing poverty and affordability -not just the working poor but also the thousands of BCGEU members who provide the programs and services that British Columbians rely on. I am pleased to see those perspectives reflected in the legislation introduced today. 

My time on the Forum so far has been enlightening, inspiring, and humbling. I am excited by today's announcement and the progress it represents and I am looking forward to continuing to work with this incredible group to make this historic project a reality for all British Columbians. 

I encourage all of you to find out more about the Strategy by reading more about today's announcement and reading the "What We Heard Report" 



UWU/MoveUP

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



UWU/MoveUP

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

 



UWU/MoveUP

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.

 



UWU/MoveUP