Tentative deal averts community social services strike in BC

Deal improves job security, work practices in community social services sector

August 15, 2011

A tentative agreement has been reached for British Columbia’s frontline community-based social service workers, thereby averting strike action

“This agreement is welcome as it offers important improvements for workers who support children, women, adults with developmental disabilities, and other vulnerable members in our communities,” says James Cavalluzzo, Chair of the Community Social Services Bargaining Association.

The tentative agreement improves job security and fair work practices for community social service workers, such as bumping, job selection language and bullying.

In addition, the government has approved a $600,000 retraining grant for workers in the sector, which face constant upheaval from group home closures, cutbacks in agencies that serve women in crisis, people with disabilities, and children with special needs.

“The quality of care and support we are able to provide is directly impacted by the workers’ job security and working conditions, which is why we had to take a stand at the bargaining table,” says Cavalluzzo. Bargaining demands were backed up by an 82% strike mandate from the 15,000 unionized workers.

Employers and union members will now have an opportunity to ratify the tentative agreement, with the union bargaining association unanimously recommending an approval of the settlement.

The Community Social Services Bargaining Association includes nine unions representing about 15,000 workers employed by 220 agencies across British Columbia. The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) is the lead union in the sector with over 10,000 members. CUPE, HEU, HSA are the next largest followed by USW, UFCW, CSWU, CLAC and BCNU.

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