Community social services: Progress slow at bargaining table

Following a month-long break the Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) ... returned to the negotiating table on April 16 for four days of contract talks with the Community Social Services Employers Association (CSSEA).

CSSBA reports that progress has been frustratingly slow. The bargaining committee is working hard to make the case for a fair and reasonable deal, including a wage increase.

The unions have also made clear that there is no support for revisiting improvements gained in the last round of bargaining with respect to job selection, bumping, and the grievance procedure. The unions are also busy negotiating essential services levels at the local level, and are currently in discussions regarding strike headquarters.

The multi-union bargaining committee also worked toward finalizing compensation and classification proposals in preparation for discussions when talks resume April 30.

In early May, the CSSBA will also meet with benefit providers to discuss costs regarding improvements to health and welfare benefits.

Meanwhile, bargaining representatives from Aboriginal Services are preparing to meet with employers to table proposals specific to this sub-sector.

Additional bargaining dates have been set for May through June.
More than 300,000 public sector workers are at the bargaining table in 2012 including health care, education, direct government service, and many other independent employers and crown corporations.

CSSBA includes nine unions with a combined membership of about 15,000.  The BCGEU is the largest union in the community social services sector, representing about two-thirds of workers. HSA, CUPE, and HEU are also in the association. The Community Social Services Employers Association represents 220 agencies.

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