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Bargaining begins for Community Social Services, Community Health workers in B.C.

Bargaining begins for Community Social Services, Community Health workers in B.C.

BURNABY—Bargaining has begun for more than 17,000 community social service workers and more than 21,000 workers in the community health sector in B.C., with bargaining association representatives for both sectors commencing contract talks this week.

Formal negotiations between the Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) and Community Social Services Employers’ Association (CSSEA) began Wednesday (February 2). This followed a CSSBA bargaining conference last week in which bargaining committee members brought forward proposals from the membership and finalized bargaining priorities.

“We look forward to this round of bargaining, and we expect talks to be both constructive and productive in making positive gains for our members, who are the heart and soul of our communities,” said CUPE Community Social Services coordinator Michael Reed, noting that the bargaining committee will be seeking improvements in wages and benefits as well as addressing workload and recruitment and retention issues.

“We know the public supports our issues. No one wants to see community social service workers get left behind during these difficult times, when clients need them most.”

In Community Health, talks began yesterday (February 3) between the Community Health Bargaining Association (CBA) and the Health Employers’ Association of BC (HEABC) after a similar conference by the CBA to set its bargaining priorities.

“Members have told us they want a fair deal that will help close the gap in wages and benefits compared to other health agreements, allow for better care of their mental health, and give members greater control over their working conditions,” said CUPE Health coordinator Tanya Paterson.

“The pandemic has shown the public how badly understaffed the health sector is, and the impact that has had on workers and clients. So we hope to make real improvements in this round.”

CUPE represents 2,331 workers in the Community Social Services sector and 1,489 workers in Community Health under the CBA contract.

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