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BURNABY—Representatives from the community social services sector’s multi-union negotiating team met by conference call on February 22, at the request of the B.C. Government and Services Employees’ Union. The Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) negotiations committee is composed of the elected bargainers from the 10 member unions in the CSS Bargaining Association.

BCGEU, the lead union in the CSSBA, convened the call with a request to consider an employer proposal made to the BCGEU on January 17, along with three minor additions proposed to CSSBA on February 1.

Early contract talks with the Community Social Services Employers Association (CSSEA) collapsed in late-December when the unions’ negotiating team unanimously rejected CSSEA’s final offer.

Remaining unresolved issues are the employer’s failure to address members’ key priorities for this round of bargaining, which include improved wages, restored sick time and job security provisions.

CUPE’s bargaining committee maintains these early contract discussions have ended, and we need to begin a ‘normal’ bargaining process.

A key achievement from the 2006 round of bargaining was the inclusion of community social services workers in the Municipal Pension Plan beginning April 1, 2010.  Your CUPE bargaining team strongly encourages all eligible members to enroll.

A series of information meetings for members have now been scheduled to discuss bargaining issues and encourage enrolment in the new municipal pension plan.  All CUPE members are encouraged to attend.

In the meantime, HEU has filed an unfair labour practice complaint against CSSEA for its attempt to sidestep its obligation to negotiate directly with the multi-union CSSBA - the legal bargaining agent for community social services workers – and instead bargain directly with individual unions. CUPE has a case to be heard before Labour Umpire Irene Holden in early March on violation of the Articles of Association for the CSSBA.

Stay tuned for more information.

• Full schedule of information meetings as of March 1.