Community social service workers striking in Surrey Nov. 15; targeting Minister of Children and Families

Community social service workers who provide counselling, mental health, transition housing, but also family, children and immigrant services in Surrey will be on strike tomorrow. HSA members are not directly affected by strike action on November 15 ... but please show your solidarity on your personal time by supporting the protest.

Striking workers have a message for Surrey-Panorama MLA Stephanie Cadieux: stop putting vulnerable families last! Striking workers will be protesting at Stephanie Cadieuxs office at #120 ... 5455 152nd Street in Surrey from 11am to 1pm. 

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 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 BCGEU 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, thats a 22 percent 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 tomorrows 24-hour strike starting at 7:00am:

• 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. Other sectoral unions include CUPE, HEU, HSA and five others. Together, the unions make up the Community Social Services Bargaining Association.

Essential services levels are being maintained during this job action.

For more information, download strike information leaflet.

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