Community social services group bargaining conference an historic first

The Report: July / August 1998 vol.19 num.1

HSA members from CSSEA facilities held their first-ever bargainingproposal conference May 6 and 7 in Vancouver. The conference provided an opportunity forHSA members who work in the community social services sector to compare wage and benefitprovisions and develop proposals for group bargaining.

"Weve had joint conferences for child development centresbefore but never one for the whole range of CSSEA facilities," said HSA negotiator,Julio Trujillo. "These facilities fall into natural groups such as transition housesand CDCs so it makes sense that we participate in group bargaining."

The provincial government has repeatedly promised to level up wages inthis sector and Trujillo is confident the government will live up to its promise duringthis round of bargaining. "Our goal for HSA members in this sector is parity withtheir colleagues who perform the same or similar work in the health sector," hestated.

At the group bargaining table, HSA represents employees from eightcommunity agencies: Campbell River & North Island Transition Society, Comox TransitionHouse, Haven House, Powell River Transition House, South Okanagan Women in Need Society,John Howard Society, SHARE Family & Community Services, and Wiseman House.

HSA also represents employees at five other community facilities thatare not part of group bargaining because of their unique circumstances. Contracts forPeace Arch Community Services, Delta School Readiness Program, Langley Kiwanis CDC andSurrey Association for Early Childhood Education will be dealt with separately due tocontract reform issues. Victoria Transition House employees are entering first collectiveagreement talks which have different labour relations implications.

Negotiations at the group bargaining table began June 18 in Nanaimo andwill resume in September. HSA and CSSEA have agreed to negotiate three to four days perweek this fall until a collective agreement is reached.