Community social service workers strike in Surrey.
Vancouver (15 Nov. 2012) - Caring not-for-profit community workers who provide counselling, mental health, transition housing, but also family, children and immigrant services in Surrey will be on strike tomorrow.
Striking workers have a message for Surrey-Panorama Member of the Legislative Assembly Stephanie Cadieux: stop putting vulnerable families last! Striking workers will be protesting at Stephanie Cadieux’s office at #120 – 5455 152nd Street in Surrey from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Cadieux is B.C.’s Minister of Children and Family Development. Since 2004, the B.C. Liberal government has slashed $300 million in funding for programs that support the developmentally disabled, vulnerable women, at-risk youth, and children and infants in community-based programs across the province.
The 24-hour strike will affect community workers at Options Community Services Society (OCSS), which is a non-profit community based organization providing programs in response to the social needs of Surrey youth, families and immigrants. The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) represents 61 community workers at OCSS.
Community social service workers across the province have faced a decade of declining wages. The current starting wage for a residential care worker is $15.54 an hour. In 2002, it was $16.83. Factoring in inflation, that’s a 22 per cent wage cut over the past decade.
Since October 16, rotating strike action in community social services has impacted agencies around British Columbia, including in Vancouver, Kamloops, Prince George Victoria, Nelson, Vernon, Williams Lake, and others.
The following Surrey-based community services will be affected by tomorrow’s 24-hour strike starting at 7 a.m.:
Options Community Services Society - 9815 140th Street, Surrey, B.C.Counseling Services; Family Support Outreach Services; Core Services; Surrey Volunteer Centre, Children Who Witness Abuse and Fraser Region Crisis Line
Whalley Family Resources Program – 12740 102nd Avenue, Surrey, B.C.Services to Access Resources and Recreation (STARR)10719 150th Street, Surrey, B.C.10730 130th Street, Surrey, B.C.13751 112th Avenue, Surrey, B.C.
Evergreen Transition House and Virginia Sam Transition House – addresses confidential.
There are 15,000 unionized workers in the community social services sector, two-thirds of whom are represented by the BCGEU/NUPGE. Other sectoral unions include Canadian Union Public Employees (CUPE), Hospital Employees Union (HEU), the Health Sciences Association of B.C. (HSABC/NUPGE) and five others. Together, the unions make up the Community Social Services Bargaining Association.
Essential services levels are being maintained during this job action.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE