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February 17, 2014

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Community social services workers ratify 5-year deal

BURNABY - Community social services workers have voted 85.6 percent in favour of a new five-year collective agreement.  The contract includes wage adjustments and increases of up to 11.5 percent and will be in effect from April 1, 2014 until March 31, 2019.

Ratification vote results released today show Community Living workers voted 83.4 percent to accept the agreement. General Services ratified by 90.6 percent.  Aboriginal Services ratified by 63 percent.  The weighted average ratification vote for all three subsectors was 85.6 percent. 

“In this settlement we are finally getting some of the long-overdue recognition and respect for our community social services workers.  Much of the credit for that goes to our members’ resolve throughout the last three rounds of bargaining and to their dedication to the British Columbians they serve,” said CUPE BC president Mark Hancock.    

The agreement sees community social service workers significantly close the wage gap with other sectors.  Three-quarters of workers who have comparability to community health will receive wage increases of up to 11.5% by the end of the agreement.

Members without comparability to community health, such asearly childhood educators and family service workers will be eligible for a wage increase in line with the rest of the sector, subject to the results of a classification review.

Highlights of the agreement include:

•  improvements to health benefits, including vision care;

•  increases to mileage and meal allowance reimbursements; 

•  maintaining current provisions for employment security;

•  An Economic Stability Dividend that may provide further wage improvements.

“This set of negotiations has finally moved us closer to our long-term goal of parity with community health workers and that progress has a lot to do with the dedication of our bargaining team and the shared  goals with our employers to secure and improve the quality services we provide,” said CUPE 1936 president and bargaining committee member Michael Lanier.

CUPE, HEU, BCGEU, HSA and six other unions make up the 11,000-member strong multi-union Community Social Services Bargaining Association that negotiated the new agreement.  

CUPE represents 2,500 workers in supportive services including programs for people with developmental and physical disabilities; employment, life skills and training programs; supported and social housing; family, youth and children’s services; community and restorative justice; addictions counselling; child care; programs for immigrants; aboriginal family and community services; transition houses and much more. 

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