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Updated: 1 day 13 hours ago

Teachers’ fight for public education results in tentative deal

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 17:18

VANCOUVER – The B.C. Federation of Labour welcomes the news that after sustained job action, BC teachers have reached a tentative deal that addresses the key issues of wages and improved learning conditions for students.

“I want to express my gratitude to all the teachers and support staff in this province who have been on the front line of protecting our public education system, and to the parents and community members who supported them,” said Jim Sinclair, President of the B.C. Federation of Labour. “Strikes are never easy – but your resolve has made our classrooms better for all students.”

Earlier this morning the BC Teachers’ Federation announced a tentative deal with the BC Public Schools Employers’ Association (BCPSEA). The deal includes the removal of Article E80, money for a new education fund, and a salary lift for teachers.

The agreement will go to a membership ratification vote on Thursday.

“The labour movement is fully behind BC teachers. As workers, parents, and active community members, we are all affected by this struggle,” said Irene Lanzinger, Secretary Treasurer of the B.C. Federation of Labour.

The B.C. Federation of Labour has demonstrated support for striking teachers during the dispute, including organizing solidarity rallies across the province, featuring radio ads, and most recently committing over $8 million in interest-free loans for the BCTF.

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Media contact: Jaime Matten 604.561.2663

Categories: Labour News

Public sector unions tell Premier Clark “we stand in solidarity with teachers”

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 14:17

Vancouver – BC public sector unions are sending a message to the Premier that they stand in solidarity with BC teachers and are urging her to accept the proposal for binding arbitration.

“The Premier is attempting to use other settlements in the public sector to create a divide among workers in the province,” said Jim Sinclair, President of the B.C. Federation of Labour.

“This tactic is not only an insult to working people in BC, but it also shows how little the Premier understands and respects the collective bargaining process.”

A letter, signed by the presidents of BC’s largest public sector unions, states their full support for BC teachers and reminds the Premier that every bargaining table is unique and every process to settlement different.

The letter states: “We urge you to immediately stop attributing your refusal to bargain critical issues with teachers because you want to be ‘fair to other public sector workers.’ If you want to be fair to all public sector workers, send the outstanding issues to binding arbitration as proposed by the BCTF and remove E80 from the bargaining table.”

“Our unions stand in solidarity with BC teachers in their efforts to win a fair collective agreement and improve educational resources for BC’s children.”

Full letter:  Public Sector Unions Letter to Premier Clark

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Media contact: Jaime Matten 604-561-2663

Categories: Labour News

Christy Clark emerges from hiding to make the situation worse by attacking teachers

Wed, 09/03/2014 - 16:35

VANCOUVER – B.C. Federation of Labour President, Jim Sinclair expressed dismay that Premier Christy Clark has made it even more difficult to find a resolve to the teacher’s dispute. In her press conference today, the Premier was critical of teachers and blamed them solely for school closures.

“The Premier’s concern with what other unions have agreed to at the bargaining table should not be an issue.” Sinclair explained, “What teachers want is for schools to be open, for her government to give back the money that the courts have told them should be returned, and to negotiate fair wages and benefits.”

While the Premier insisted that it was not her intention to be part of the negotiation, she proceeded to attack teachers for their position at the bargaining table. Ms. Clark should immediately end her spin. Union members will not be divided by this government.

“The Premier’s comments can only serve to inflame an already difficult situation.” stated Sinclair, “She had the opportunity to provide real leadership and propose a solution, and instead her attack on teachers was intended to push the parties further apart.”

The B.C. Federation of Labour has organized rallies and events this week, culminating in a large rally in front of Christy Clark’s Vancouver office at 5:00 pm on Friday. In addition, the leaders of BC’s unions will be meeting tomorrow to discuss escalating action and support for teachers, parents and our kids.

For more information, contact Jim Chorostecki, 604-209-2025 (cell).

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Categories: Labour News

BCFED teacher solidarity rally comes to Kelowna

Wed, 09/03/2014 - 09:27

Vancouver – The B.C. Federation of Labour is hosting a solidarity rally today in West Kelowna in support of BC teachers’ ongoing fight for a fair deal and better supports for kids.

Today’s rally begins at 4:00 pm in front of Christy Clark’s constituency office, 3-2429 Dobbin Road, West Kelowna.

“These rallies are an opportunity for parents and community members to stand with teachers and demand that the BC Liberal government invest in public education,” said Jim Sinclair, President of the B.C. Federation of Labour. “Premier Clark needs to stop attacking teachers and get to work doing what British Columbians have told her to do – respect teachers and invest in public education.”

Currently, the BC Liberal government per-student funding is $1,000 below the national average. In a recent poll conducted by Insights West, 84% of British Columbians agreed that the government should increase per-child funding to be at or near the national average. That number jumps to 93% of parents.

“2-to-1 parents support teachers, and they agree with the issues the teachers are fighting for,” said Sinclair. “Class size and composition does make a difference, parents know that. Funding for teacher librarians and resources for kids with special needs does make a difference, and parents know that too.”

“Everyone seems to believe in a well-funded public education system…..everyone except the Premier and Education Minister.”

Today’s rally begins at 4:00 pm, and speakers include:

  • Irene Lanzinger, Secretary-Treasurer, BCFED
  • Wendy Johnson, President, CUPE 3523
  • Susan Bauhart, President, COTA
  • MC Andrew Pritchard, President, North Okanagan Labour Council

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Media contact: Judy Cavanagh, 604-816-0099

Categories: Labour News

BCFED Server Upgrade Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Wed, 09/03/2014 - 09:21

You may experience email bounce-backs today as we upgrade our server. We expect to be able to receive emails by tomorrow, Thursday, September 4, 2014. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Categories: Labour News

Solidarity Rallies begin this week, starting at Minister Fassbender’s office

Wed, 09/03/2014 - 09:02

VANCOUVER – The B.C. Federation of Labour is holding a series of solidarity rallies this week in support of the teachers’ fight for a fair deal and better classroom conditions.

The first rally will be held today at 5:00 pm in front of Education Minister Peter Fassbender’s office in Surrey.

“The BC Liberal government just doesn’t get it,” said Jim Sinclair, President of the B.C. Federation of Labour. “We know that the majority of people in this province support teachers and overwhelmingly agree with the issues they are fighting for.”

“These rallies are an opportunity for parents and community members to join with teachers and stand up against a government that is undermining our public education system.”

Rallies will be held in communities around the province, culminating in Vancouver on Friday, September 5.

Tuesday, September 2          5:00 pm
Minister Peter Fassbender’s Office, Surrey
Venture Way at Fraser Highway

Wednesday, September 3    4:00 pm
Premier Christy Clark’s Office, Kelowna

3-2429 Dobbin Rd, West Kelowna

Thursday, September 4        6:00 pm
Minister Shirley Bond’s Office, Prince George
1350 5th Avenue, Prince George

Friday, September 5              5:00 pm
BC Liberal Cabinet Office, Vancouver
Canada Place Plaza

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Media contact: Judy Cavanagh 604-816-0099

Categories: Labour News

BCFED and BCTF Solidarity Statement

Tue, 09/02/2014 - 11:27

September 1, 2014

 Statement of Solidarity with BC’s Teachers

On this Labour Day, BC’s Labour Movement stands in solidarity with the more than 40,000 teachers in the province who are fighting for the rights of children to a quality public education and the rights of teachers to a fair collective agreement.

It has become clear that the government, under the leadership of Premier Christy Clark and Education Minister Peter Fassbender, is not interested in finding a path forward to end this dispute. They are not acting in the best interest of our children, and have shown no respect for those who have dedicated their careers to making our public education system world-class.

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation has, time and again, made significant offers to end this dispute. But the government has not moved an inch – even in those areas like class size and composition where the BC Supreme Court has directed them to restore teachers’ rights and critical funding.

Teachers want to get back to the classroom, but they know how important it is to hold strong against the government’s assault on our public education system. Their fight is bigger than one union – they are fighting for the rights of all workers to be treated with dignity and for all children to have a solid start in life.

Public education has never been more important for our young people. Their success in finding meaningful work and being active members of their communities is tied directly to a fully-funded public education system where all educational staff are respected.

Demonstrations of solidarity with teachers are more important than ever. Join the picket lines in your community starting tomorrow, write your MLA and school trustees – let teachers know they are not alone, and let the government know it is time to offer teachers a fair deal that supports kids.

We encourage you to get out and support the local actions taking place in your community. Rallies are planned for around the province this week, culminating in a major rally in Vancouver on Friday, September 5.

As a labour movement We Are One and now is the time to demonstrate our strength.

In solidarity,

JIM SINCLAIR - President  &  IRENE LANZINGER – Secretary-Treasurer

Categories: Labour News

The B.C. Federation of Labour welcomes the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Tsilhqot’in vs. British Columbia

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 10:43

August 27, 2014

Statement from the B.C. Federation of Labour

The B.C. Federation of Labour welcomes the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Tsilhqot’in vs. British Columbia, which recognizes the Tsilhqot’in Nation holds Aboriginal title over the lands in their traditional territory.

“We congratulate the Tsihlqot’in Nation on this land mark ruling,” said Jim Sinclair President of the B.C. Federation of Labour. “This unanimous decision is a vital step in shaping a new path that is built on respect and integrity.”

This decision is the result of the Tsihlqot’in Nation declaring title to their land since before the Tsilhqot’in War of 1864, and over 25 years of legal proceedings in Canadian courts.

“Acknowledging land title in this manner is a necessary step forward in recognizing the rights of Aboriginal Peoples and bringing forward Reconciliation to Canada,” said Cheryl Gilbert, B.C. Federation of Labour Aboriginal Workers Representative. “I would like to acknowledge all of the work and dedication to all of the Tsilhqot’in Elders, both those who have passed on and who are here with us today, that brought their knowledge and dedication to this process”.

The B.C. Federation of Labour would like to express solidarity with the dedicated First Nations leaders involved in this case, including the Tsilhqot’in National Government’s Tribal Chairman Chief Joe Alphonse and the six Tsilhqot’in First Nations Communities: Chief Roger William of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation, Chief Percy Guichon of the Tsi Del Del Nation, Chief Frances Laceese of the Tl’esqox Nation, Chief Bernie Elkins of the ?Esdilagh Nation, Chief Russell Ross Myers of the Yunesit’in Government, and Chief Joe Alphonse of the Tl’Etinqox First Nation. As well as former Xeni Gwet’in Chief Marilyn Baptise, and historic Tsilhqot’in Chiefs Telloot, Klatassin, Tah-pitt and Chessus.

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Categories: Labour News

Take Action on Aboriginal Women Crisis, Demand Provincial and Territorial Federation of Labour Presidents

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 09:58

August 27, 2014 17:09 E

CHARLOTTETOWN, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND–(Marketwired – Aug. 27, 2014) – The presidents of Canada’s provincial labour federations are joining growing demands for government action to address the missing and murdered aboriginal women crisis.

“This is a national emergency and we need action from the federal and provincial governments, right away,” said Manitoba Federation of Labour President Kevin Rebeck to a meeting of Canada’s national labour leaders. “Canada is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, and the poverty, abuse, and racism faced unfairly by aboriginal women cannot be allowed to continue.”

In May, the RCMP revealed that 1,181 aboriginal women had either been killed or gone missing between 1980 and 2012. In Manitoba, the case is especially alarming where half of the province’s female murder victims over the same time period were aboriginal, according to the RCMP.

“We support the call for a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women, but an inquiry should not be used as an excuse to delay taking immediate action,” said Prince Edward Island Federation of Labour President Carl Pursey, who is chairing a meeting of provincial and territorial labour federation presidents being held alongside the annual Council of the Federation meeting in Charlottetown.

Canada’s premiers met with First Nations organizations today. The federal government has refused repeated requests by opposition parties and provincial leaders for a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women.

Contact Information

Carl Pursey
President of the PEI Federation of Labour
902 626-7996
peifed@pei.aibn.com

Kevin Rebeck
President of the Manitoba Federation of Labour
Cell: 204 333-5277
krebeck@mfl.mb.ca

 

Categories: Labour News

New poll shows support for teachers still strong, especially among parents

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 16:01

Vancouver – A new Insights West poll commissioned by the B.C. Federation of Labour (BCFED) shows that parents support BC’s teachers 2-to-1 in the current dispute with the BC Liberal Government, and agree with teachers on key issues at the heart of the ongoing negotiations.

“As we head into September, this poll clearly tells us that British Columbians are on side with BC’s teachers and what they are standing up for,” said Jim Sinclair, President of the B.C. Federation of Labour. “The public, especially parents, want the government to respect teachers and invest more in public education.”

The poll canvassed a number of issues related to the ongoing teachers’ strike, including increasing per-student funding to the national average, the government’s $40-a-day childcare rebate, impact of class size on learning, and support for mediation.

“British Columbians overwhelmingly support real investment in public education, with 84% of people agreeing that the government should at least meet the national average of per-student funding,” said Irene Lanzinger, Secretary Treasurer of the BCFED. “The public are not interested in rebate schemes, they are committed to our public education system and the teachers who make that system work for every child.”

“It is time the Premier listened to what British Columbians are calling for, what the BC Supreme Court has ordered her to do, and reinvest in our public education system.“

The B.C. Federation of Labour has also launched a radio ad in support for BC’s teachers and their effort to negotiate a fair deal and better learning conditions for kids.

A series of solidarity rallies will be held around the province starting next week, ending with a major rally in Vancouver on Friday, September 5, at Canada Place.

Poll highlights include:

The majority of residents support the teachers in this dispute (52%) including most women (58%) and people aged 18-to-34 (57%). Among parents, that number jumps 2-to-1 (60%) in support of teachers.

84% of British Columbians agree that the BC Government should increase per-student funding to be at the national average, and among people aged 18-34, that support jumps to 93%.

86% of British Columbians agree that if a deal cannot be reached by September 2, the outstanding issues should be sent to a mediator to settle the dispute.

79% of British Columbians agree that the BC Government should reduce class size and increase support for kids with special needs.

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Media contact: Jaime Matten 604-561-2663

Attached:

Categories: Labour News

WorkSafeBC Review takes first step towards improved enforcement, but needs to go further

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 14:40

Vancouver – The WorkSafeBC Review opens the door to increased enforcement and prosecution, but doesn’t go far enough says the B.C. Federation of Labour.

“Increased enforcement and prosecution of negligent employers is fundamental to improving worker safety and compliance with the law,” said Irene Lanzinger, B.C. Federation of Labour Secretary Treasurer. “While we are encouraged that the Report takes initial steps in that direction, it fails to take the bold steps necessary to make substantial change.”

The B.C. Federation of Labour provided recommendations to government that would ensure that negligent employers were held accountable for workplace serious injuries and deaths.

The Macatee Report incorporates some of the BCFED’s recommendations, including providing the WCB with stronger and more effective enforcement tools, and putting systems in place to make it possible for the prosecution of negligent employers.

However, the Report is missing key measures recommended by the BCFED that are required to achieve the successful prosecution of negligent employers, such as a dedicated Crown Prosecutor, a Crown charge assessment policy specific to workplace death, and education for prosecutors, police services and WCB investigative officers around criminal negligence from a workplace health and safety perspective.

“We urge the government to turn their attention to these outstanding demands,” said Lanzinger. “To really make a meaningful impact, prevention, enforcement and accountability must work hand in hand.”

Despite advances on the enforcement side, the Macatee Report takes a big step backwards with the introduction of worker ticketing.

“The BCFED is vehemently opposed to the recommendation regarding on-site ticketing of workers,” said Lanzinger. “It is the employer who has the power and legal responsibility to create and enforce a safe workplace. All this does is shift the blame and responsibility from the employer to the worker.

“This recommendation is an insult to the seriously injured workers of Babine & Lakeland Mills, and the families of those workers who were killed.”

The BCFED would like to thank the families and injured workers for their courage and persistence in demanding a public inquiry.

Categories: Labour News

Jim Sinclair: BC teachers deserve our support in fight for kids

Mon, 06/23/2014 - 14:34

Province Newspaper Jim Sinclair, B.C. Federation of Labour June 18, 2014

 

“On the importance of education generally we may remark it is as necessary as the light, it should be as common as water, and as free as air.”                – Egerton Ryerson, founding father of public education in Canada, 1846

As most of us head for work this morning we will likely walk, drive, or cycle by a public school, but unlike most days, that school will be closed. Teachers are walking the picket line today because they are fighting for the first-class education system we all need. This is not their fight alone, nor should it be.

We should actually thank our lucky stars that we have teachers who will give up their pay cheques for their belief that our children deserve the best education we can offer. Those picket lines show that the government is failing on this important front.

A major cause of this dispute lies squarely in Victoria. Its roots go back to a decision by then B.C. Liberal Education Minister Christy Clark to rip out of teachers’ collective agreement all the language that protected children’s learning conditions, including class size and composition.

This action was ruled illegal by the courts. But rather than sit down and solve the problem, the government set out to provoke another strike and legislated teachers back to work. Back in court, those actions were also ruled illegal. The judge went further this time and ordered the government to reinstate the language that was critical to protecting quality education for our children. The government has again refused.

Today the issue of quality education is back at the bargaining table. And this time Christy Clark and the B.C. Liberal government must do the right thing — sit down and negotiate a fair and reasonable collective agreement that includes the critical issue of better supports for all students.

Are teachers frustrated and angry? Damn right. Wouldn’t you be? After all, teachers and support staff deal with the government’s failure every day.  The result is not a poorer quality widget off an assembly line somewhere, it is children who pay the price — and it is far too high. Teachers and support staff not only see the consequences, they feel them. But they are also dedicated to their students and determined to fix the problems.

And if children are paying the price today, society is paying the price tomorrow. Public education is the oxygen that makes a democratic society work. The big promise we all make to every child is that no matter who they are or where they come from, they get the same chance to be healthy, to learn, to succeed and to participate in a knowledgeable and critical way in the day to day life of our province.

Our entire economic future depends on public education. Unless we have a highly educated, highly skilled workforce we will fail miserably in creating good jobs and strong industries. We all look at our children and know our dreams for their success have never been more tied to their ability to get a good education.

The B.C. labour movement is standing with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation because they are fighting for all of us. Demonstrations of solidarity with teachers are more important now than ever. We are calling on our members, and all British Columbians, to bolster the picket lines to ensure teachers know they are not standing alone.

I also invite everyone who supports a fully funded quality public education system to join together today in Vancouver at 6 pm at Canada Place and send a loud and clear message to the Liberal government to start respecting teachers and supporting children.

Premier Clark, in 2002 you said the government should be “building a sustainable system that makes decisions based on what children need. And after all, I don’t think that’s too much to ask of politicians.”

There is no need to let this dispute enter the summer and stretch into the fall. You have a mandate from the people of British Columbia to sit down, negotiate in good faith, and end this dispute.

Jim Sinclair President, B.C. Federation of Labour

 

 

Categories: Labour News

Fundamental flaws of the TFW program remain unaddressed

Fri, 06/20/2014 - 14:35

VANCOUVER – Federal government’s changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) miss the mark, and do nothing to address the fundamental flaws of a program that depresses wages and leaves workers vulnerable.

“These changes are an admission that the TFWP that the Conservative government created, was out of control. Yet these changes do very little to address the fundamental flaws of the program,” said Jim Sinclair, President of the B.C. Federation of Labour.

“There are two groups of workers who did not win today. The Temporary Foreign Workers who are still held hostage to one employer and have no rights and the more than one million unemployed in Canada who cannot find work to feed their families.”

Changes announced to the TFWP today lift the moratorium on low-wage sectors, opens the door for all sectors to apply to the program, and ignores the question of permanent citizenship for people who come to work and live in Canada.

“Jason Kenney is more interested in finding ways to keep the stream of vulnerable workers flowing than to protect the jobs of Canadians or the rights of the Temporary Foreign Workers,” said Sinclair. “This just makes it official that employers can continue to bring indentured workers to Canada, exploit them and if they speak up — they can be deported.”

There has been a dramatic shift in how the TFWP has been used by employers. In 2005, the top five occupations that were brought in under the TFW/LMO program (excluding live-in care givers) were: musicians and singers; actors and comedians; producers, directors and related occupations; specialist physicians; other technical occupations in motion pictures and broadcasting.

By 2008, the top five had shifted: food counter attendants and kitchen helpers; cooks; construction trades helpers and labourers; light duty cleaners; musicians and singers. Food and beverage workers were number six.

The number of TFWs is also outpacing immigration to BC. The total number of TFWs working in BC grew from 22,204 in 2003 to 74,219 in 2012. In those same years, the number of permanent residents entering the province remained at approximately 36,000 per year.

“Our solutions are simple and supported by Canadians. Grant immediate access to the immigration stream for the all current Temporary Foreign Workers. Shut down the low-wage categories immediately, and re-open the immigration system so people can come to work and live in this country, and have the same rights and protections of all workers.”

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For more information, contact: Jaime Matten, 604-561-2663.

 

Categories: Labour News

BC Injured Workers’ Give Our Workers’ Compensation System a Failing Grade

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 13:33

Vancouver, BC – The B.C. Federation of Labour marked Injured Workers’ Day with a renewed call for improvements to BC’s workers’ compensation system and a restoration of benefits for injured workers.

The B.C. Federation of Labour and its affiliates recognize June 1 as Injured Workers’ Day in BC. This is an important day to highlight the ongoing fight for the restoration of dignity, respect and justice for injured workers.

“Workers’ Compensation Boards across Canada have buckled to corporate pressure to cut benefits and compensation in order to lower premiums,” said Jim Sinclair, President of the B.C. Federation of Labour. These one-sided changes leave injured workers without adequate coverage, directly in contravention of the principles set out by Sir Chief Justice Meredith in what’s known as the “historic compromise” agreed to by labour and business over 100 years ago.”

Approximately one hundred injured workers, advocates and supporters from around the province gathered on Friday, May 31st in Vancouver to examine how BC’s Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) measured up to Meredith’s Principles. The result was a resounding ‘F’ on all 6 principles!

BC’s injured workers and the B.C. Federation of Labour demand that the BC government immediately amend the Workers’ Compensation Act to reflect Meredith’s Principles.

“Injured workers will no longer accept ‘half measures’”, said Patti MacAhonic, Advisor for the Canadian Injured Workers’ Alliance (CIWA). “Injured workers and survivors in BC are organizing for action, in alliance with injured workers across Canada.”

CIWA BC representative Beverly McKeen further stated that “an injury to one is an injury to all”.

For more information on Meredith’s principles please visit www.meredith100.ca

Injured Workers’ Day commemorates the events of June 1, 1983, when over three thousand Ontario injured workers, family members and advocates traveled to Queen’s Park to oppose the Ontario government’s proposal to eliminate the permanent disability pension. The Ontario government retracted its proposal as a result of the outcry from injured workers on this day.

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Media contact:  Jaime Matten, 604-561-2663

Categories: Labour News

Message of Solidarity with BC’s Teachers

Mon, 05/26/2014 - 16:37

Today was the first day of rotating strikes by BC’s teachers, an important step in standing up to a government intent on undermining teachers and dismantling our education system.

Read letter of Support for BC Teachers:  Letter of Support for BC Teachers

Categories: Labour News

BC Labour holds rally to support locked-out IKEA workers

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 08:43

BC Labour holds rally to support locked-out IKEA workers as they mark one year on the picket line

Richmond BC-Over a hundred supporters of the locked-out workers of IKEA Richmond gathered outside the store today to demand IKEA settle the lockout. 

On May 13, 2013, IKEA Richmond locked out its workers after the Teamsters members working in the store rejected the company’s offer unanimously. Teamsters 213, which represents the workers, continues to press the company for a negotiated contract settlement.

IKEA Richmond has demanded the workers: take concessions in pay of up to $6 per hour, give up certain benefits, and accept a reduction in late-night work premiums.

Tuesday, May 13th marks one full year of IKEA workers on the picket line outside IKEA Richmond, and this dispute has been quite a journey. In this past year, workers have had to deal with unfair employer tactics, a lack of intent to bargain in good faith on the part of the employer, and all sorts of weather conditions on the picket line.

“It is disgraceful that IKEA is seeking to reduce its workers’ wages when it made 3.3 billion Euros in profit last year,” said Jim Sinclair. “These are hard-working members of our community and they want to get back to work, but IKEA has locked them out for over a year.”

The B.C. Federation of Labour, representing more than 500,000 workers across the province, has supported these workers through a “do not shop IKEA” campaign and hosting an international inquiry last November into IKEA’s practices.

“These people have families at home. They are good, hard workers who are having the rug pulled out from under them by a giant company that just doesn’t care about doing the right thing,” said Anita Dawson, spokesperson for Teamsters. ”I worked there for twelve years and I’ve never seen this side of the company before. It’s like they sold out on the values the brand was built on.”

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For more information contact: Anita Dawson: 604-842-2213 or Kassandra Cordero: 778-239-0569.

Categories: Labour News

B.C. Federation Statement on Workplace Shooting at Western Forest Products

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 12:59

The B.C. Federation of Labour is deeply saddened by this shocking workplace tragedy. At a meeting today of the Executive Officers of the B.C. Federation of Labour, a moment of silence was observed for the two workers killed and two workers seriously injured in the shooting at Western Forest Products yesterday in Nanaimo, BC.

“On behalf the B.C. Labour Movement, Irene Lanzinger, Secretary-Treasurer of the B.C. Federation, and I extend our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims, our Sisters and Brothers of the United Steelworkers, and the entire community of Nanaimo.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you,” said Jim Sinclair, President of the B.C. Federation of Labour.

For more information, please contact Nina Hansen at 604-430-1421.

Categories: Labour News

Two Year Minimum Wage Freeze Hurting BC Workers; B.C. Federation of Labour Call for Minimum Wage Review

Wed, 04/30/2014 - 16:00

Vancouver – BC Minimum Wage workers have had their wages frozen since May 1, 2012. The B.C. Federation of Labour is calling on the BC Government to increase minimum wage to $13.00 per hour and convene an independent panel of labour and business representatives to recommend future increase.

The BC Government committed to reviewing minimum wage every second year to ensure that minimum wage workers don’t fall further below the low-income cut-off.

“We are going to be reviewing this every two years, that is part of the commitment so every second year we will continue to do a review of minimum wage so it is not going to be a change that we make today and then come back and look at in a decade. We are going to come back and look at it in two years, and then two years after that, and then two years after that” – Premier Christy Clark, March 16, 2011. 

“It is unacceptable that BC’s minimum wage workers continue to live below the low-income cut-off,” said Jim Sinclair. “The BC Government has a responsibility to ensure that British Columbians are making fair pay for a day’s work.”

Almost half of minimum wage workers are over 25 years old with 8.2 percent of those in the 55+ age category. Following BC’s 2011 minimum wage rate increase of $2.25, there was a net gain of 54,000 jobs in BC and a decline in unemployment. BC continues to have the highest child poverty rate in Canada with 1 in 5 children living in poverty.

British Columbia is out-of-step with other Canadian Provinces in continuing the politicized ad-hoc approach to minimum wage freezes. BCFED backgrounder Minimum Wage. Seattle, WA is considering increasing minimum wage to $15.00/hr, and the Seattle-Tacoma Airport Authority has recently adopted a $15.00/hr minimum wage.

For more information please contact Summer Crosson at 604.436.7041

Categories: Labour News

BC Government’s Re-Engineering of Education and Training Includes Improvements, Falls Short on Compulsory Trades and Apprenticeship Quotas on Public Projects

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 14:53

Vancouver, BC – Upon initial review, the labour movement gives mixed review to the BC Government’s “re-engineered education and training” program.

The Federation is pleased to see the BC Government’s new plan has committed to hiring 15 apprenticeship counselors with a priority on Aboriginal people and those with a disability. However, the new plan doesn’t address the most significant barrier to apprenticeship and training: the lack of apprentice-level jobs.

The BC Government has not yet restored compulsory trades[i], failed to establish a training grant/levy program, and has left vague its commitment to ensuring apprenticeship positions are included in all publicly-funded projects and major works.

“This plan does not do enough to encourage employers to invest in training,” said Sinclair. “The BC Government should be leading by example and setting a clear target of 25 percent apprenticeship positions on all publicly-funded work and major projects.”

The labour movement expects to be a full partner in the re-invigorated ITA Board of Directors and the new Sector Advisory Councils.

“The BC Government has yet to fully address our most pressing concern – employers simply aren’t hiring apprentices in BC,” said Jim Sinclair. “The BC Government must ensure there are jobs for apprentices by restoring compulsory trades and setting up strong programs to reward those employers who invest in training.”

The B.C. Federation of Labour’s Apprenticeship Committee will meet on April 30 to review the plan in detail.

Backgrounder: B.C. Federation of Labour Submission to ITA Review http://bcfed.ca/independant-review-of-the-ita/
Media Inquiries: Please Contact Judy Cavanagh at 604.816.0099

[i] BC is the only jurisdiction in Canada that does not have compulsory trades

Categories: Labour News

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