Five-year tentative agreement reached in community social services

The Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) has reached a tentative agreement for the 11,000 union members working in community-based social services across the province.

The five-year agreement significantly closes the wage gap between workers in this sector and those with equivalent positions in the community health sector.

BCGEU and other unions entered into early coordinated talks with the Community Social Services Employers’ Association (CSSEA), Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC), and the provincial government in order to find common ground to reach settlements at three major tables. The BCGEU’s Provincial Executive approved early talks with government.

"With this tentative agreement, we are finally making real wage gains for community social workers who support vulnerable families in British Columbia,” said BCGEU President Darryl Walker. BCGEU is the lead union in the sector.

The CSSBA is recommending acceptance of this agreement.

Highlights of the tentative agreement include:

  • Wage comparability adjustments over five years for members with occupations similar to those covered by the Community Health agreement. These wage adjustments will affect about three-quarters of all workers in the sector, plus;
  • Four general wage increases of one percent each over the term of the agreement, plus;
  • Wage adjustments to address specific job classifications within the joint job evaluation plan, plus;
  • The Economic Stability Dividend will generate added wage increases in years when the provincial GDP growth exceeds projections;
  • Modest improvements to health benefits, including vision care. Also agreed to by the parties is the establishment of a Joint Benefits Working Group that will monitor and make recommendations to control the costs of benefits in the community social services sector;
  • Modest increases to mileage and meal allowance reimbursements;
  • Current provisions for employment security are maintained for the five years of the agreement.

The new community social services agreement expires March 31, 2019.

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

Community social service workers will receive a comprehensive report along with information on ratification balloting in the coming days.

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