Inflation! What Does It Mean for You?
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Inflation! What Does It Mean for You?

Many Local 501 members are struggling to pay the bills right now, in part because the cost of living has been going up for the past year or so, and in part because the jobs many of you do are not paying enough to keep up with that increase in costs

To stay afloat, many of you have had to work more than one job, give up things that are important to you (like travelling to see family overseas), or take on more debt.

The cost of living is often referred to as CPI (consumer price index) or COLA (cost of living allowance). In December 2022, Statistics Canada measured BC’s CPI as 6.6 percent averaged over the last 12 months. So that means that if you take the CPI of each month (how much more expensive each month in 2022 was compared to the same month in 2021) over the past year, add them up and divide by 12, it’s been on average 6.6 percent more expensive to live.

High CPI doesn’t impact everyone the same. A couple without children or elderly parents to support will struggle less than a single parent. And if you don’t have to buy a car, or take out a loan during a time when prices are high and interests rates on loans are also high, you’re going to feel the pinch less.

Ideally, employee wages rise in a way that keeps up when the cost of being a consumer grows, or inflates. That doesn’t always work, in part because not every industry can afford to keep up with costs by paying their employees more.

Some industries can raise wages high enough because they can pass those costs on to whoever is buying their services, or they can cut into profits and still keep the doors open. Other industries struggle because raising wages might mean they can’t be competitive.

We want you to know that we are thinking very much about you and the financial realities you face when we go to the negotiating table with your employer. Inflation is a complicated issue, and so are the solutions to it. What’s not complicated is that you need to be able to afford to live, and we’re working hard to get the best settlement we can for you during these difficult times.

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