September 19, 2000, Burnaby Who would have ever thought that it would be necessary for the staff who work for the Girl Guides of Canada, BC Division, to join a union?
That is just what the office staff thought when earlier this year they did join the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE, Local 561) after a new board fired the executive director and proceeded to divide and conquer the staff by tampering with job descriptions and changing working conditions including removing coffee breaks, disability, health and benefit packages.
After joining CUPE, Girl Guide officials were forced to leave working conditions intact for four months pending attempts to negotiate a new contract. While the contract is nowhere near to being settled, Girl Guides have gone ahead with a return to a no coffee break policy and are continuing to dismantle working conditions within the BC Agency. The union has been dealing with ongoing complaints of harassment and intimidation.
If anyone had ever suggested to me that the women who work for the Girl Guides of Canada here in BC would one day be joining our local, I would have probably said, Yes, and that will be the day that pigs fly, said Dave Ginter, President of CUPE Local 561. This is the first Girl Guide office in Canada to be unionized.
It took a great deal of courage for this small group to approach the union about certifying but it is a very clear example of just how shallow and inhumane the privileged can be when their employees dont take steps to protect themselves.
Every member of the Girl Guides of Canada should question what their elected officials are doing removing basic working conditions from the very workers who provide ongoing support to thousands of volunteers and guiders. said Ginter.
The Girl Guide strike vote is set to take place on Tuesday, September 19, 2000 at 6:30 P.M.
Information: Dave Ginter, President,
CUPE Local 561
Telephone: (604) 936-4545