On Thursday CUPE Local 3999’s non-essential services workers were on the streets of downtown Trail in front of the Trail Association for Community Living office picketing for their first raise in over 10 years.

On Thursday CUPE Local 3999’s non-essential services workers were on the streets of downtown Trail in front of the Trail Association for Community Living office picketing for their first raise in over 10 years.

Social service workers asking for fair wage

Greater Trail community social service workers have had their starting wages decrease in the last 10 years by over $1 to $15.54

In a day and age of rising costs most people’s wages have not kept up to inflation.

For one sector of the provincial workforce, wages have not only been unable to keep up, they have been curtailed.

Community social service workers have had their starting wages decrease in the last 10 years by over $1 to $15.54, and had their benefits reduced, despite an 18.1 per cent increase to the cost of living.

Now, over one year without a contract, 10 Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) unions have taken its concerns public.

On Thursday those concerns hit the streets of downtown Trail when a picket line in front of the Trail Association for Community Living—as well as in Castlegar—was formed by some of the social service CUPE Local 3999’s non-essential services workers.

The workers were protesting a lack of a raise in a decade, a clear message being delivered by the province as negotiations on a new contract have been stalled, said Local 3999 president, Niki Lord.

“In our opinion, as workers out on the front line, the people we support are not valued at all,” she said. “They are looked upon as a drain on the system, and the only way the government can save money is to take it out on the workers.”

There are nearly 60 union members in Trail—and another 50 in Castlegar—affected by the contract, said Lord, and many of them were out on Thursday. Some members providing essential services were still on the job during the action.

The community social service workers support people in residential settings in 24-7 care. They support the “most vulnerable” people in the community, including youth at risk, women, people with disabilities, immigrants and First Nations, said Lord.

“These are individuals that can’t speak for themselves,” said Lord. “We are advocating for them on a daily basis just for fairness, just so they are protected.”

Community social service workers are the lowest paid in the entire public sector, according to union literature.

“After almost a decade of declining wages, many are forced to leave their profession or to take on a second job because they find it impossible to make ends meet and do their jobs,” read a leaflet from the B.C. Community Social Services Workers.

No timetable has been set as to when the unions, and the province’s Community Social Service Employers’ Association, are to be back to the bargaining table.

Just Posted

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League met for their AGM and announced a number of new initiatives, new awards and changes in their executive committee, as well as the starting date for the 2021-22 season. Paul Rodgers file.
KIJHL announces start dates for 2021-22 season

Season set to begin Oct. 1 with league still following all health guidelines

South Slocan’s Ti Loran is among the recipients of this year’s Neil Muth Memorial Scholarship. Photo: Submitted
Neil Muth Memorial Scholarships awarded to 4 students

Students in Creston, South Slocan and Revelstoke are sharing the honour

The Independent Investigations Office of BC is looking into a Castlegar incident. File photo
Police watchdog investigating Castlegar incident

IIO: Woman sustained a reportedly self-inflicted injury

A wildfire near Cottonwood Lake was put out by Nelson firefighters Sunday night. Photo: Submitted
Wildfire extinguished near Cottonwood Lake

Lightning-caused fire was near one of Nelson’s water sources

West Kootenay Regional Airport. Photo: Betsy Kline
Central Mountain Air leaving Castlegar airport in July

The airline says market can’t handle two airlines

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Most Read