BCGEU welcomes progressive vision, new spending, and strong economic outlook in “bargaining budget”

A progressive vision for inclusive and clean growth, continued support for critical public services like healthcare and childcare, and the announcement of a new year-round B.C. Wildfire Service are just some of the highlights in what the B.C. General Employees’ Union (BCGEU) is calling a “bargaining budget”.

“The devil is always in the details but on first glance there’s a lot for our members and all working people in British Columbia to be hopeful about in this year’s budget,” said BCGEU President Stephanie Smith. “For instance, a year-round wildfire service is something we have been working on for years, so it’s good to see that becoming a reality. And continued investments in public services to support priorities like childcare, housing, homelessness, reconciliation, and affordability, while modest, are positive steps.”

But while BCGEU supports government’s broad environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments, it says its focus is on the budget’s economic and fiscal outlook and the implications for collective bargaining.

“Almost 80 per cent of BCGEU members in the public sector will be negotiating collective agreements in 2022—some are already at the table,” said Smith. “These are the people who have kept our province operating in the face of unimaginable challenges over the past few years and they have made it crystal clear to their bargaining committees—financial issues will be key to reaching agreements.”

“With inflation at 30-year highs and the Bank of Canada expected to start increasing interest rates next week, BCGEU members and all working people are falling behind,” Smith said. “In that context, the debt, deficit and revenue numbers in the budget are extremely good news and we are looking forward to making sure the province’s strong economic and fiscal position is reflected in our members’ collective agreements.”