Community social services workers on strike in the Okanagan and Cariboo today & tomorrow

Community social services workers from agencies that support children and adults with developmental disabilities and provide numerous other community services will be on strike this week in the Okanagan (Vernon, Armstrong) and the Cariboo (Quesnel, Williams Lake).

Striking workers want to send a message to the B.C. Liberal government: stop putting vulnerable families last!

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 following not-for-profit community agencies will be on strike and behind picket lines for on the following dates and locations. No HSA members are affected, but members are encouraged to support picket lines on their personal time:

Tuesday November 13, 2012
Penticton, Okanagan

Penticton and District Society for Community Living
180 Industrial Avenue West, Penticton, B.C.
453 Winnipeg Street, Penticton, B.C.

Wednesday November 14, 2012
Okanagan and Cariboo

Williams Lake
Williams Lake Association for Community Living
Supported, Living, Community Connections and Employment ... 51 S 14th Avenue, Williams Lake, B.C.
Summit Opportunity Centre - #203 ... N 5th Avenue, Williams Lake, B.C.

Quesnel Community Living Association, 611 Anderson Drive, Quesnel, B.C.
Prima Enterprises Day Program ... 2391 Hydraulic Road, Quesnel, B.C.
Dengarry Professional Services - Day Program ... 391 Johnston Avenue, Quesnel, B.C.

Kindale Developmental Association
Independent Generations: #15 ... 3300 Smith Drive, Armstrong, B.C.
Bechtold Centre: #3 ... 2860 Smith Drive, Armstrong, B.C.

Kindale Developmental Association
Main Street Connections: 3315 ... 30th Avenue, Vernon, B.C.
Seaton Centre: 1340 Polson Drive, Vernon, B.C.

Community social service workers are on strike for better wages, which have declined over the last decade. 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.

The government is insisting that any wage increases be funded though cuts elsewhere in the collective agreement.

Since October 16, rotating strike action in community social services has affected agencies across British Columbia.

There are 15,000 unionized workers in the community social services sector, represented by BCGEU, HSA, CUPE, HEU, and five other unions, which together make up the Community Social Services Bargaining Association.

Essential services levels are being maintained.

Further job actions will target agencies in the Lower Mainland later this week.

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