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In recent weeks, CUPE members working in community social services have been attending membership meetings across the province to discuss next steps in their efforts to secure a fair collective agreement.

The meetings were scheduled by the multi-union Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) in response to the current impasse at the bargaining table, where employers have refused to consider solutions to a range of problems affecting workers and the critical services they provide.

It’s been more than a year since we entered into negotiations with the Community Social Services Employers’ Association (CSSEA),” says CUPE bargaining representative Cheryl Colborne. “It’s long past time for the employer to come to the table with serious proposals to improve working conditions for our members and the quality of services they provide to some of B.C.’s most vulnerable citizens.”

Members attending the meetings voiced their concerns about the obstacles they face on a daily basis and were encouraged to get involved in activities to increase pressure on employers and government to achieve a fair deal at the bargaining table.

Members were also asked to visit the unions’ website at www.cssfairdeal.ca to send a message to their MLA.

Over the last few years, we have seen ongoing cutbacks in services, group home closures and the loss of important programs that help keep our communities strong,” says Colborne. “Government and their employers need to commit to real solutions that will help stabilize services and retain skilled, experienced workers throughout this sector.”

The unions’ bargaining association will be meeting on February 21 and 22 to plan the timing of next steps.

At the same time, preparations are underway for Community Social Services’ Awareness month, with events scheduled across the province throughout the month of March, including a Walk in Victoria on March 26.

Members are asked to contact their union for more information about how they can get involved in these and other events to raise awareness about the services they provide in their communities.