Community social service members ratify five year agreement

Agreement includes wage adjustments and pay increases

Community social service workers have voted by 85 per cent in favour of ratifying a new collective agreement that includes wage adjustments and increases of up to 11.5 percent over five years.

The new collective agreement will be in effect from April 1, 2014 until March 31, 2019.

Community Living workers ratified the tentative agreement by 83 per cent. General Services ratified by 91 per cent, and Aboriginal Services ratified by 63 per cent.

"Community social service workers help and support the most vulnerable members of our communities. This agreement delivers some long-deserved recognition and respect that reflects their contribution to BC," said HSA President Val Avery.

"I want to congratulate the whole bargaining committee, and particularly HSA's representatives on the bargaining team – Margaret Blair-Cook from the Central Okanagan Child Development Association, and Sharon Geoghegan, HSA Labour Relations Officer, for advocating so strenuously on behalf of HSA members covered by this collective agreement," Avery said.

After a decade of declining wages, 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 2019.

Members without comparability to community health, such as Early 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.

Other highlights of the agreement include:

  • Modest improvements to health benefits, including vision care;
  • Modest increases to mileage and meal allowance reimbursements;
  • Current provisions for employment security are maintained for the five years of the agreement;
  • An Economic Stability Dividend in four of the five years that may provide further wage improvements.

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

BCGEU is the lead union in the sector, representing two-thirds of the 11,000 unionized community social service workers in British Columbia, including community living workers supporting youths and adults with developmental disabilities, youth-at-risk, infant and child development, women services, substance addictions, First Nations, and employment services, among others.

HSA represents 800 members in the sector.