Community social service workers ratify five-year agreement, includes wage adjustments and pay increases

Community social service workers have voted by 85.6 percent in favour to ratify a new collective agreement that includes wage adjustments and increases of up to 11.5 percent over five years.  

The new collective agreement will be in effect from April 1, 2014 until March 31, 2019.

Community Living workers ratified the tentative agreement by 83.4 percent. General Services ratified by 90.6 percent. Aboriginal Services ratified by 63 percent. The weighted average ratification vote for all three subsectors was 85.6 percent.

“After a decade of declining wages, this agreement sees community social service workers significantly close the wage gap with other sectors. Three-quarters of workers who have comparability to community health will receive wage increases of up to 11.5% by 2019,” said BCGEU President Darryl Walker. 

Members without comparability to community health, such as Early Childhood Educators and Family Service Workers, will be eligible for a wage increase in line with the rest of the sector, subject to the results of a classification review. Aboriginal Service members who work in Ministry of Children and Families Delegated Programs will receive the same wage increase as their counterparts in the Direct Government Agreement.

Other highlights of the agreement include:

•  Modest improvements to health benefits, including vision care; 

•  Modest increases to mileage and meal allowance reimbursements; 

•  Current provisions for employment security are maintained for the five years of the agreement;

•  An Economic Stability Dividend in four of the five years that may provide further wage improvements.

“Community social service workers help and support the most vulnerable members of our communities. With this agreement, they are finally receiving some recognition and respect that reflects your contribution to BC,” said Walker. “I want to congratulate the bargaining team for all their work on getting the deal done.”  

BCGEU, CUPE, HEU, HSA and six other unions together make up the multi-union Community Social Services Bargaining Association that negotiated the new agreement.

BCGEU is the lead union in the sector, representing two-thirds of the 11,000 unionized community social service workers in British Columbia, including community living workers supporting youths and adults with developmental disabilities, youth-at-risk, infant and child development, women services, substance addictions, First Nations, and employment services, among others.

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