Every day, thousands of BCGEU members head to work in our communities supporting some of the most vulnerable members of our society and allowing them to live independent, productive and fulfilling lives.
“It’s important to honour the valuable work of our Community Social Service members. They are truly the heart and soul of our community and social safety net,” said Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President. “That’s why the BCGEU has worked to once again see March recognized as CSS Awareness Month by the provincial legislature and dozens of municipalities in B.C.”
B.C. has one of the most extensive and vibrant networks of community-based social services agencies in the country. Community Social Services (CSS) members support individuals with developmental disabilities and their families; children, youth and families; people in conflict with the law; victims of crime and violence; women and children experiencing violence and abuse; Aboriginal families and communities; job-seekers; refugees and immigrants; and more.
“At some point, just about everyone either needs assistance themselves or has a family member or friend that does,” said Andrea Duncan, BCGEU Vice President for CSS and a CSS worker based in Squamish. “We are the caring professionals who are there to help and make sure that individuals have the support they need.”
When women flee abusive relationships along with their frightened children, families need support for their developmentally disabled children, or refugees need help to resettle in our communities, they all turn to community social services.
Despite the range of their work, CSS care workers have a history of being overlooked in the public's consciousness and in government funding. Throughout the past decade BCGEU members, and those from other unions in our bargaining association, have fought hard for dignity and respect for the work they do.
That work in the community and at the bargaining table has begun to result in improvements in the sector. Members are now working to implement some of the gains that were negotiated in the collective agreement that covers the majority of the sector’s workplaces.
The BCGEU represents almost 10,000 workers in CSS, and throughout the month of March we will be highlighting the work that they do on our website and social media.