The BCGEU is respected for negotiating good collective agreements for its members.
When you have a collective agreement with your employer you have rights. As well, your wages, hours of work and other provisions are spelled out in writing. If the contract isn't followed there are provisions to resolve problems.
Canada's unions have long achieved gains for working people. Among them: pensions, benefits, sick leave, job security, paid vacations, pay equity, and rights and benefits for gays and lesbians.
The BCGEU has a dedicated team of negotiators who bargain more than 300 different agreements with a wide range of employers in the public and private sectors.
Contracts can last for any term, but are generally renegotiated every one to five years. You have input in the bargaining process, such as setting priority issues and electing a bargaining committee. You vote on whether to take strike action if things don't go smoothly. You also get to vote on tentative agreements.
Your contact in the workplace is your shop steward who can answer your questions.