Community Social Services workers ratify collective agreement

Community social service workers have voted in favour of a two-year contract that provides a wage increase while protecting health and welfare benefits.

Community Living workers ratified the tentative agreement by 71 percent. General Services ratified by 84 percent. The weighted average ratification vote for both sectors was 76 percent. HSA represents almost 800 community social services workers covered by these two agreements.

The Community Social Services Employers Association has also ratified the Community Living Services and General Services collective agreements. Both collective agreements are now in effect.

Highlights of the new agreements include:

  • A wage increase for all employees:

o   1.5% on April 1, 2013;
o   1.5% on January 1, 2014;
o   An extra 1% wage increase for all step 1 employees on April 1, 2013;

  • A labour market adjustment review for all General Service and Community Living classifications.

The agreement covers workers who support adults with developmental disabilities, youth-at-risk, infant and child development, women’s services, substance addictions, First Nations, and employment services, among others.
In late January 2013, nearly 3,400 community living workers went on strike. The following week, nearly 500 family service workers were picketing. Rotating strike action first started in October 2012 and affected communities across the province.

A separate tentative agreement has been reached for Aboriginal Service workers. Ratification vote results in this subsector are expected April 29.

HSA’s community social services workers were represented by Jody Moore (Family Counsellor, Cameray Counselling Services), and then by Margaret Blair-Cook (Supported Child Development Consultant, Central Okanagan Child Development Association) in the last months of bargaining. HSA labour relations officer Sharon Geoghegan represented members throughout.

Community social service workers are represented by BCGEU, HSA, CUPE, HEU, and six other unions, which together make up the multi-union Community Social Services Bargaining Association.

The bargaining association represents 15,000 unionized community social service workers in British Columbia.