17,000 community social services workers in B.C.—including 4,000 CUPE members—have voted overwhelmingly in favour of job action to win a new contract and protect services that are under attack by the Liberal provincial government.
“This strike vote comes at a time of deepening crisis in community social services,” says bargaining committee member and CUPE 1936 president Michael Lanier. “We are seeing group home closures, cutbacks in agencies that serve women in crisis, families, people with disabilities, children with special needs and many others who rely on these community-based services.”
Social service workers—who care for some of B.C.’s most vulnerable people—are the lowest-paid public sector workers in B.C. Many are still being paid well below the Stats Canada poverty cut-off line for living in an urban centre.
The multi-union Community Social Services Bargaining Association says it is time for the provincial government and its employers to step up and provide the respect and resources needed to stabilize services and improve working conditions.
Members are encouraged to send a “fair deal or no deal” message directly to B.C. Premier Christy Clark at www.cssfairdeal.ca.
CUPE represents approximately 2,500 of these workers in 12 locals. The Hospital Employees Union, the B.C. health care services division of CUPE, represents another 1,500 community social services members.