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After three months of strike action, community social services workers in British Columbia have won parity with the community health sector. More than 3,300 CUPE members 800 of them from HEU, CUPEs Health Services Division in BC joined with 6,700 workers from other unions to press for wage increases for workers employed by community living associations, family and childrens services, services to women and child care.

Beginning with rotating strikes on International Womens Day and moving to a full strike on May 3, the workers kept up the pressure on employers and the provincial government to end the historic discrimination that saw them earning much less than their sisters and brothers working in hospitals and institutions.

For most it was the first time walking a picket line and for many it was emotionally trying to leave people ordinarily in their care with less than the best service. But BCs community social services workers knew that waiting was no longer an option if they were to achieve equal pay for work of equal value.

In the end, their persistence paid off as BCs NDP government delivered on its promise to provide parity. A mediated settlement provides for wage increases, pay equity, a long-term disability plan, a special leave plan, vacation leave and health and welfare as well as pension benefits.