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Public Service Tentative agreement: How did we get here? - BC General Employees' Union (BCGEU)

Since announcing the tentative agreement (TA) on September 6 and distributing the highlights of the TA, bargaining committee members have had many questions about how the general wage increase (GWI) in the TA compares to the employer's proposed GWI that was on the table at the time the strike vote was taken in the spring. We want to clarify that the employer's proposed GWI-the one that prompted your committee to declare impasse and conduct a strike vote-was 5.75% over three years.

After the strike vote results were announced in late June, your employer invited us back to the table with a GWI that would have offered an average of 10.99% over three years in addition to a signing bonus. In response to that offer, your committee declared impasse a second time and proceeded with plans to action our strike mandate.

The average GWI in the TA ranges from 11.94% to 14.38% over three years (depending on inflation)-more than double the 5.75% that triggered the first impasse and strike vote and a significant improvement over the offer that triggered the second impasse and actioning the strike mandate in August. 

Many members have also asked about what happened to the signing bonus. The signing bonus was converted into an equivalent portion of the General Wage Increase. Our committee has always prioritized increases to the wage grid rather than bonuses. This ensures that these increases are pensionable and compound with future increases.

Because wage protections are calculated on the cost of living data from the previous fiscal year, we already know that COLA (cost of living adjustment) in Year 1 of the TA is 3.4% (March 1, 2021-February 28, 2022). The average wage increase your bargaining committee negotiated was 3.24% + $.25 per hour, which is an average of 4.03% for members, and meets or exceeds the 3.4% COLA for that year 

The full ratification document (including explanatory notes for the GWI and other monetary and non-monetary aspects of the tentative agreement) will be distributed to bargaining unit members later this week, so keep an eye on your inbox. The timeline below gives an outline of key dates in bargaining leading to the TA.


Bargaining timeline: 

September 23, 2021: Bargaining survey sent to members
November 5, 2021: Member polling conducted (external polling)
November 26, 2021: Public Service bargaining conference
January 31, 2022: Component bargaining commences
February 7: Main table bargaining commences
March 14: talks stalled as employer does not have revised wage offer
March 25: BCGEU and PSA resume talks
April 7: Public service bargaining hits impasse over wage proposals
May 16: Strike vote begins
June 22: Ballot count and announcement of 95% strike vote
July 3: Bargaining resumes for one day, talks break down
Aug 12: Strike notice issued
August 15-30: Job action commences at LDB warehouses 
August 22: Job action escalates to include OT ban
August 25: Bargaining resumes as employer calls union back to the table
September 6: Tentative agreement announced

In solidarity,
Your BCGEU Public Service Bargaining Committee
Stephanie Smith, President and Committee Chair
Paul Finch, Treasurer
Judy Phipps, Executive Vice President
Dean Purdy, Vice President - Component 1
Kusam Doal, Vice President - Component 5
Judy Fox-McGuire, Vice President - Component 6
Kayla Woodruff, Member at Large - Component 6
Maria Middlemiss, Vice President - Component 12
Matt Damario, Component 12
Robert Davis, Vice President - Component 20
Michael Eso, Secretary and Lead Negotiator
Lisa Lane, Support Staff