President Smith, vice president Purdy and deputy sheriffs call on government to address chronic staffing shortage

BCGEU president Stephanie Smith and vice president Dean Purdy (Corrections and Sheriff Services – Component 1) joined dozens of deputy sheriffs leafleting at the provincial courthouse at 222 Main Street in Vancouver yesterday. The leafleting was to raise awareness of the chronic shortage of deputy sheriffs and to call for a wage increase to prevent sheriffs from leaving the service for other higher paying law enforcement work.

Click here to see more photos of the event.

Click here to read and listen to CBC News’ coverage.

Click here to see the leaflet.

We explained to people outside the courthouse, and to the media that attended the event, that the shortage of deputy sheriffs is delaying proceedings, compromising courthouse safety, and threatens the integrity of B.C.’s justice system. The current practice of forcing sheriffs to work overtime is unsustainable and is not working.

President Smith and other union representatives will be meeting with Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton in April. We will raise the shortage of deputy sheriffs with the minister at that meeting.

Our union is also using the benchmark review process to increase wages for deputy sheriffs. Earlier this month our union contacted the Public Service Agency to set a hearing date for the benchmark reviews. We will keep members informed as the review proceeds.