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The Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) and the Community Social Services Employers Association (CSSEA) exchanged their opening proposals during the first round of contract talks, which began February 27.

Over the course of the two-week bargaining session, which concluded on March 16, unions and the employer laid the groundwork for future talks with a discussion of each party’s issues and concerns. Throughout those discussions, the unions’ bargaining representatives clearly stated that community social service workers need and deserve a fair deal, including a wage increase.

The negotiating committee also created several sub-committees to examine and discuss the competing proposals in greater detail. Representatives from Aboriginal Services were also at the bargaining table, and are currently completing the specific proposals they will bring to future contract talks. The multi-union bargaining association negotiates on behalf of CSS workers in General Services, Community Living services and Aboriginal services.

Both parties will return to the bargaining table on April 16.

The CSSBA includes nine unions with a combined membership of about 15,000. The BCGEU is the largest union in the community social services sector, representing about two-thirds of workers. CUPE, HEU, HSA are the next largest followed by UFCW, CSWU, USW and CLAC.

The Community Social Services Employers’ Association represents 220 agencies.