"Our newest members care deeply about the children, families and community they serve." — Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President
Vancouver (12 July 2018) — Workers at the Phil Bouvier Child and Family Center have voted 95% in favour of joining the BC Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU/NUPGE). The Phil Bouvier Child and Family Centre is operated by the Vancouver Native Health Society (VNHS) and is located in the heart of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. It serves a number of Indigenous and non-Indigenous families and children.
The day after workers applied to join the BCGEU in late May, the VNHS notified its staff and the families using their services that they intended to close the child care centre. BCGEU filed a complaint with the BC Labour Relations Board (LRB) on behalf of the workers, arguing that the closure was an attempt by VNHS to deny these workers their right to unionize.
The LRB scheduled a hearing for June 9 -13, 2018. On the first day scheduled for the hearing, VNHS settled the case by agreeing that it would keep the centre open and not reduce any hours of operation until at least November 10, 2018.
Excellent record for representing child care workers
"The employees at the Phil Bouvier Centre came to the BCGEU because we have an excellent track record for representing community social service professionals, including child care workers, and we are glad they did," said BCGEU president Stephanie Smith.
"Our newest members care deeply about the children, families and community they serve and by joining the BCGEU they were able to apply collective pressure to help keep this unique and vitally important child care centre open."
BCGEU urging city and other levels of government to commit to long-term funding
BCGEU is urging the City of Vancouver and other levels of government to commit to long-term funding that will keep the centre open.
"In the coming months we will be working with our newest members to negotiate a strong first collective agreement with the Vancouver Native Health Society to improve working conditions and job security. We will also continue working with the VNHS and other community stakeholders to keep the centre open," said Smith.