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December 18, 2009

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Employers scuttle chance of community social services agreement

BURNABY—Talks initiated by the Community Social Services Employer’s Association aimed at reaching an early collective agreement have ended without a deal.

Union bargainers say that employers tabled what was in effect an ultimatum without seriously addressing any of the concerns brought forward by the unions through the Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA).

Employers offered no improvements to wages, sick leave, transportation allowance (mileage) and shift premiums. They refused to continue the current language on employment security and protection from contracting (Continuity of service and employment memorandum). They offered no significant improvements in collective agreement language, and nothing on job selection (Article 24).

The employers put forward a complicated scheme in which they would keep 60 per cent of funding intended for pensions of those workers who decline enrolment in the Municipal Pension Plan.

Some progress was made on language to address bullying and harassment – but the employers are demanding that agency executive directors be shielded from harassment complaints.

Unions in the CSSBA will meet in the New Year to determine how to proceed. In the meantime the collective agreement remains in effect until we achieve a new one and CUPE members should not engage with managers or excluded staff about essential services and the potential for strike action.

All eligible community social services workers should seriously consider enrolling (or not revoking their enrolment) in the Municipal Pension Plan. Casual and part-time employees may be eligible for the pension plan. Members should report to stewards and local presidents any effort by managers to discourage you from enrolling. Information meetings on the pension plan are scheduled for the spring. Check: www.pensionsbc.ca for information about your entitlement.

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