Social service workers take strike vote

Jenn McGarrigle, Nanaimo News Bulletin

About 160 Nanaimo workers in the social services sector are awaiting the results of a strike vote held last month.

The nine member unions in the Community Social Services Bargaining Association walked away from the bargaining table at the beginning of April and began taking strike votes shortly thereafter.

The association bargains on behalf of 17,300 B.C. workers in social service organizations such as group homes, shelters, supported housing, sexual assault centres, victims’ services, transition houses, child care centres, crisis lines, and programs for counselling, rehabilitation, employment training, outreach, advocacy and referral services.

That includes about 110 Canadian Union of Public Employees workers at the Nanaimo Association for Community and about 50 B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union workers at several local agencies….

“We’ve been bargaining for 23 months now,” she said. “We want some employment security.”

Colborne said the Community Social Services Employers’ Association is seeking concessions on bumping and promotions and transfers, but will not talk about enhanced layoff language. Social services workers have been falling further and further behind as prices continue to rise, she added.

“We can’t bargain concessions when we’re getting nothing back,” said Colborne.

Oliver Rohlfs, a spokesman for the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union, which represents more than 10,000 workers in the social services sector, said the union has set up a website – – that gives people an opportunity to e-mail the premier on behalf of these workers, and about 1,200 e- mails have been sent so far….