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Updated: 16 hours 12 min ago


Tue, 02/19/2013 - 16:12

Union of Canadian Transportation Employees 

MEDIA ADVISORY                                 2:30 pm Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Speakers from B.C. Federation of Labour, Jericho Sailing Centre, MP Fin Donnelly and Others to be Confirmed Later

The rally takes place at 5:00 p.m. TODAY – Tuesday February 19 – outside the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station in Vancouver – 1661 Whyte Avenue in Vanier Park (off Chestnut Street below the Burrard Street Bridge.)

VANCOUVER – The Canadian Coast Guard is closing the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station immediately – effective today, the union representing the Station crew has just been informed.

Deputy Coast Guard Commissioner Jody Thomas informed the national office of the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees by telephone a short while ago.

In response, the UCTE, the Public Service Alliance of Canada-BC, the B.C. Federation of Labour, the Jericho Sailing Centre and other groups will hold an Emergency Vigil outside the Station at 5:00 pm today to protest this dangerous decision that will put British Columbians lives at risk immediately.

Confirmed speakers include B.C. Federation of Labour Secretary-Treasurer Irene Lanzinger, Jericho Sailing Centre General Manager Mike Cotter, NDP MP Fin Donnelly, Mandip Sandhu, whose brother died in 2001 due to Coast Guard cuts and others to be named later.

National UCTE President Christine Collins says the federal government’s decision is outrageous.

“To suddenly close the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station that serves Canada’s busiest port in the middle of the winter with no notice is simply outrageous,” Collins says.  “The federal government is not listening to British Columbians who have overwhelmingly rejected closure of this station – lives will be lost – that is what all the experts have said. But once again the government is ignoring the experts, as we have seen across Canada.”

“I don’t want to be in the position of saying ‘we told you so’ when tragedy strikes, but that’s what this decision will mean,” Collins said.

B.C. Federation of Labour Secretary-Treasurer Irene Lanzinger, who will speak at the vigil, says for the federal government to announce the closure on BC budget day is further proof that Ottawa has disdain for British Columbia.

“Every BC political party, every nautical group, everyone who understands the dangers in these waters has said do not close the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station – and the federal Conservative government and its BC MPs have completely disregarded all the evidence that this is a deadly mistake,” Lanzinger said.  “To do this on BC budget day shows that completely lack of respect knows no bounds.”

Bob Jackson, B.C. Regional Executive Vice-President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, (UCTE is a component union of PSAC), said the timing is despicable.

“Even after Vancouver City Council did a report stating clearly that most deaths and serious injuries in our harbour occur in the winter months, the Conservative government still closes this Station – it’s offensive and to do it on a day they think will minimize media coverage is even worse,” Jackson said.

BACKGROUND: The federal government’s decision to close the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station will leave the average 350 search and rescue operations each year to the Sea Island Coast Guard Station hovercraft in Richmond, 17 nautical miles and a minimum of 35 minutes away, or to volunteers who will have to leave their jobs, drive to stations and then launch.   Vancouver’s port is the busiest in Canada.

For more information: Jessie Uppal, B.C. Federation of Labour, 604-430-1421 or cell (604) 220-0739; or Patrick Bragg, PSAC-BC at cell 778-889-3486; or Bill Tieleman, West Star Communications, cell 778-896-0964 or 604-844-7827; Lira Buschman, UCTE – Ottawa, cell 613-558-4003.

Facebook Page – Save the Kitsilano Coast Guard Base: https://www.facebook.com/groups/435880883096290/   

Websites: www.ucte.com 

Categories: Labour News

BC Unions Take Aim at Temporary Foreign Worker Program with Hard Hitting Radio Ad

Mon, 02/18/2013 - 10:23

Vancouver, BC – A group of BC unions are airing a hard-hitting radio ad, aimed squarely at Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker program.

“For years, we have said the Temporary Foreign Worker program is a bad program for Canada and a bad program for the workers who come to Canada,” said B.C. Federation of Labour President Jim Sinclair. “This ad is in support of our call for a moratorium on the program while a full review is conducted.”

The federal program has come under increasing fire in recent months, following revelations that a China-backed mining company had plans to staff its mine almost exclusively with Temporary Foreign Workers, and subsequent revelations that seemingly qualified Canadians who applied for the jobs weren’t even granted interviews.

“Ministers Diane Finley and Jason Kenney promised a public review of the program last November, but we’ve heard nothing since,” said Sinclair. “British Columbians are demanding accountability from the federal government and not getting it. BC Liberal Jobs Minister Pat Bell has acknowledged Canadians have no confidence in the federal government’s program.”

The ads, airing in conservative MP ridings in the Lower Mainland and BC’s interior, call for those MPs to stand up for jobs for British Columbians. “Stephen Harper’s reform coalition started with the idea that MPs had a duty to represent their constituents. Are Conservative MPs in BC up to the task?” asked Sinclair.

There are currently more than 70,000 workers in BC under the program. They do not have the right to switch jobs if they are treated poorly, or receive a better offer from another local employer. If they raise concerns about safety or working conditions, they are often sent home.

The advertising is sponsored by the BCFED, BCGEU, CSWU, IUOE 115 and USW.


- 30 -

For more information, contact Michael Gardiner at 604-436-7030.

Listen to the ad here: Temporary Foreign Worker Radio Ad

Ad Copy

WORKER 1: I’m qualified. I could do a lot of these jobs —but like most of the guys here, we aren’t being given the chance.

WORKER 2: I heard three hundred Canadian workers applied for two hundred jobs… and the company rejected all of us?

ANNCR: Experienced BC workers are being shut out of jobs in their own backyard…Because government has opened the door for mining companies to import cheap labour with no rights and no protection.

WORKER 1: Our politicians should be on the side of BC jobs for BC workers… So why aren’t they?

ANNCR: A message from BC workers.

Categories: Labour News

Nothing Real in Throne Speech for Families Struggling to Make Ends Meet

Tue, 02/12/2013 - 16:08

Vancouver, BC – The B.C. Federation of Labour is calling today’s throne speech a disappointment for BC families struggling to make ends meet under the Christy Clark government.

“Working and middle class families are feeling the pinch of stagnant wages and higher fees for medical services, tuition fees and hydro,” said B.C. Federation of Labour President Jim Sinclair. “Christy Clark’s throne speech offers nothing meaningful to those families. It offers nothing for the growing number of unemployed and underemployed British Columbians.”

Sinclair said that he was also disappointed that platitudes in the speech about jobs for British Columbians aren’t matched by government action on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Temporary foreign workers with few rights and paid relatively low wages filled more than 70,000 jobs in British Columbia last year.

“With the full knowledge of the BC government, a China-backed coal mining company planned to use primarily low-wage temporary foreign workers for the first 10 years of its operations,” said Sinclair. “This throne speech makes no commitment to correcting the rampant misuse of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.”

Sinclair also expressed concern over what wasn’t in the throne speech. “In 2009, the election throne speech made no mention of the HST. British Columbians are rightfully worried about what’s been left out of this throne speech.”


Categories: Labour News

Minister Pat Bell Changes Tune on Temporary Foreign Workers in Coal Mines – Sinclair Calls for Federal Minister to Make Review Public

Thu, 02/07/2013 - 11:43

Minister Pat Bell Changes Tune on Temporary Foreign Workers in Coal Mines – Sinclair Calls for Federal Minister to Make Review Public

Vancouver, BC – Minister Pat Bell’s reversal on granting of Temporary Foreign Worker permits for HD Mining raises more questions than it answers, said B.C. Federation of Labour President Jim Sinclair today.

Bell, speaking at a labour relations organization event in Vancouver yesterday evening, acknowledged that HD Mining’s duty to give full effort to hiring Canadians was clearly not followed.

“In light of Minister Bell’s acknowledgement that process was not followed here, and that Canadians have lost confidence in the Temporary Foreign Worker program, the federal government must make its review public,” said Sinclair. “And in this specific case, there must be a full and open review of HD Mining’s specific application for these temporary workers.”

Sinclair said Bell’s reversal only came about after a union court application forced the release by HD Mining of the resumés the company received, and after news reports revealed that the “highly trained miners” from HD Mining’s Chinese operations were provided only three months training before being sent underground.

Sinclair also called on Christy Clark to apologize to the hundreds of qualified Canadians who applied for, and were unfairly rejected for these jobs.

Sinclair said that the Minister and the Premier’s uninformed comments about the nature of the work and repeated insistence that the work was so specialized it could only be done by workers for HD’s Chinese operations showed a deep lack of respect for British Columbians and their skills.


Categories: Labour News

Forestry Workers Address Crisis in BC Forests

Thu, 02/07/2013 - 09:33

BC’s unionized forest workers are inviting forest communities to join them in a series of town hall meetings around the province to address the crisis in BC forest.

Whether it’s the devastation caused by the mountain pine beetle or raw log exports, forest communities have been hit hard over the last decade, and it’s critical we come together to address not only the problems in our forest sector but solutions as well,” said Jim Britton Vice-President, Western Region, of the Communication, Energy and Paperworker’s Union.

“Years of government staffing cuts, deregulation and mis-management have created a crisis in BC’s forests,” said Darryl Walker, President of the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU). “British Columbians deserve to know their forests are being managed sustainably and in the public interest—maintaining forest-sector jobs, while preserving ecosystems. We need to work together to demand that government invest in research, reforestation, and compliance and enforcement to ensure healthy forests today, and in the future.”

“Over the last decade, viable mills were shutdown while raw log exports grew dramatically,” added Steve Hunt, Western Canadian Director of the United Steelworkers. “People in forest communities understand it’s not just about the direct jobs in the forest, or related milling and manufacturing jobs, it’s also about the indirect jobs and benefits to local communities that come from forest workers.”

Community members attending the meetings will not only have an opportunity to hear from provincial and local forestry experts, but each meeting will also engage participants in a dialogue about how we work together to draw attention the crisis and community solutions for change. Start times are 6:00 pm with the exception of Prince George, which will start at 6:15 pm.

Coast Capri Hotel

Coast Kamloops Hotel & Conference Centre

100 Mile House
100 Mile Lodge and Conference Center

Williams Lake
Ramada Williams Lake (formerly Overlander)

Mackenzie Recreation Centre

Prince George
Coast Inn Of The North

Coast Bastion Inn (Tentative)

Westerly Hotel

To register for the town hall meetings call toll free 1-855-784-0784 or visit www.forestsforbc.ca .


For more information contact: Jessie Uppal ph: 604-220-0739, Jim Britton (CEP) ph: 604-992-6625 or Steve Hunt (USW) ph: 604-816-2554.

Categories: Labour News

Regional Conference March 4-6, 2013 – Nanaimo, BC

Tue, 02/05/2013 - 14:16

The Conference will provide an excellent opportunity to recruit, train, and engage union members with the expected outcome of renewing the regional strength of the Federation and affiliates, while also raising the profile of the labour movement around the province.
Conference Agenda
Registration Form

Categories: Labour News

Families Welcome Provincial Contribution to Farmworkers Memorial

Thu, 01/24/2013 - 08:48

Vancouver, BC – Families of three women killed in a tragic and preventable van crash near Abbotsford in 2007 expressed their thanks today for a $100,000 contribution from the government of British Columbia and the Workers’ Compensation Board to a memorial project in honour of the women, Amarjit Kaur Bal, Sukhvinder Kaur Punia and Sarbjit Kaur Sidhu.

“The families greatly appreciate the province’s contribution and the honour it brings to my wife, her co-workers, and all farmworkers in British Columbia.  We are very excited to raise the rest of the funds needed to get this monument built,” said Jagjeet Singh Sidhu, husband of Sarbjit Kaur Sidhu. 

The families, with the support of the B.C. Federation of Labour, Abbotsford Community Services and the Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society, have worked to establish a permanent monument to honour all BC farmworkers and ensure these women are always remembered.

“No memorial can ever bring these women back, and my heart goes out to their families and friends,” said Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour. “This memorial will serve as a lasting reminder to employers, workers and the community that safety on the job is the number one priority. We are honoured to have been asked to contribute to its creation.”

Including in-kind contributions from the City of Abbotsford, the Golden Tree Monument, to be erected along the shoreline of Mill Lake in Abbotsford, has an ambitious budget of $250,000.   The province’s contribution of $100,000 includes a $20,000 contribution from WorkSafeBC. Together, these funds will allow project supporters to finalize fundraising commitments from community partners, labour groups, business and individuals in the region.

“I want to thank the government and the Workers’ Compensation Board for their contribution to this important monument,” said Jim Sinclair, President of the B.C. Federation of Labour. “I also want to pay tribute to the hard work and dedication of the families – with their continued efforts, I am confident that this project will be successful.”

 “The Golden Tree monument, the first monument to farmworkers in Canada, is a breathtaking representation of the three women, forever entwined, their arms as branches, reaching to the sky. It serves as a beacon of hope to all farmworkers and their families for continued improvements in the health and safety conditions in the agricultural industry,” said Harsharan Singh Bal, son of Amarjit Kaur Bal.


For more information contact: Jessie Uppal 604-220-0739.

Categories: Labour News

Many turn out for memorial service…

Mon, 01/21/2013 - 09:41

The life of former BC Fed staff member Susan Mackenzie was celebrated Saturday at the UFCW in New Westminster. Many family members, friends and colleagues were there so give Susan a fine send-off.

Categories: Labour News

Political Action Courses in Your Town

Wed, 01/02/2013 - 12:33
Register now for this free political action course from the B.C. Federation of Labour Read More
Categories: Labour News

Documents Show HD Mining Only Planned on Hiring Its First Canadian Underground Miner in Its 5th Year

Wed, 12/12/2012 - 09:15

Vancouver, BC – Documents released today show HD Mining planned to use exclusively underpaid Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW’s) underground for 4.5 years after the commencement of construction, and that the BC and federal governments signed off on these plans.

“We’ve heard varying stories from the Premier and her government about how hard they were working to find Canadians to do these jobs,” said Sinclair. “But according to HD Mining’s transition plan, reviewed by both governments, no Canadian worker would be hired to work underground until after 2016.”

The documents released included an e-mail message from HD Mining official Fred Ma to HRSDC official Bill MacLean detailing HD Mining’s extensive consultation with the province of BC on its transition plan.

The documents also included the transition plan itself. On Page 5 of the plan, Figure 1 shows the company intends to use exclusively TFW’s for the entire construction phase of 30 months and its first two years of full operation. The company would then hire 10 percent of its workforce as Canadians for the following ten years, meaning the company would utilize Temporary Foreign Workers until 2026.

The transition plan directly contradicts claims by the Premier that the TFW’s would only be here for the exploration phase.

“It’s clear HD Mining is in no hurry to hire Canadians and that the province of BC and government of Canada have been complicit all along,” said Sinclair. “Our hope is the courts will send a strong signal to Canadian industry that no company will get away with this kind of abuse.”

The documents were ordered to be released by a federal court judge, as part of an injunction application by the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), Local 115, and the Construction and Specialized Workers Union (Labourers), Local 1611. The unions represent the bulk of skilled workers required on mine sites.

Wayne Mills is President of the IUOE Local 115. “We are pleased that our court action is bringing accountability to the process of requesting and being granted Temporary Foreign Worker permits,” said Mills.

Please visit http://bcfed.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/HDMining-HRSDCLetter.pdf


For more information please call Michael Gardiner at 604-436-7030

Categories: Labour News

WATCH: Jim Sinclair’s Speech to 2012 BCFED Convention

Fri, 11/23/2012 - 10:30
Click to watch Jim Sinclair's speech to the 2012 BC Federation of Labour Convention Read More
Categories: Labour News


Thu, 11/22/2012 - 11:16
Categories: Labour News

Register BCFED Delegates

Thu, 11/15/2012 - 16:57
  1. Read all instructions carefully before beginning.
  2. Download the Delegate Registration Form form.
  3. Open the form in Adobe Acrobat or other PDF reader that allows for the completion of PDF forms.
  4. Complete ALL fields on Page 1 of the form. Fields on Page 2 will complete automatically.
  5. Ensure you enter your UNION and LOCAL exactly as it appears on your Delegate Entitlement form (the YELLOW page included in your registration package).
  6. Choose payment by  Cheque and enter the total payment you will be making.
  7. If possible, enter the Transaction ID or the Cheque number on the Registration Form.
  8. Review the information and confirm it is accurate.
  9. Click the green SUBMIT button at the top or bottom of the page.
  10. Save the file using the delegates name.
  11. Print both pages.
  12. Your email browser will automatically open. Click SEND without modifying the email.
  13. The form will reset.
  14. Repeat steps 5 through 13 for each delegate to be registered.
  15. Have your union officers sign all forms.
  16. Complete one Accessibility Form for each delegate that has requirements.
  17. Complete the Delegate Entitlement form and make a copy for your records.
  18. Mail the hard copy delegate registration form and the completed DELEGATE ENTITLEMENT form to the B.C. Federation of Labour (The YELLOW page included in your registration package), along with a cheque or receipt for payment by credit card, as well as any accessibility forms.
  19. Provide each delegate his/her signed DELEGATE CREDENTIAL for presentation at the Convention.

Register by Hand

You may choose to complete the forms by hand.

  1. Read all instructions carefully before beginning.
  2. Download the Delegate Registration Form.
  3. Print enough copies for each delegate to be registered.
  4. Complete ALL fields on Page 1 (Delegate Registration) of the form.
  5. Complete the top two sections of Page 2 (Delegate Credential).
  6. Ensure you enter your UNION and LOCAL exactly as it appears on your Delegate Entitlement form (the YELLOW page included in your registration package).
  7. Choose payment Cheque and enter the total payment you will be making.
  8. If possible, enter the Transaction ID or the Cheque number on the Delgate Registration form.
  9. Repeat steps 5 through 9 for each delegate to be registered.
  10. Have your union officers sign all forms.
  11. Complete one Accessibility Form for each delegate that has requirements.
  12. Complete the Delegate Entitlement form and make a copy for your records.
  13. Mail the hard copy DELEGATE REGISTRATION forms and the completed DELEGATE ENTITLEMENT form to the B.C. Federation of Labour, along with a cheque or receipt for payment by credit card, as well as any accessibility forms.
  14. Provide each delegate his/her signed DELEGATE CREDENTIAL for presentation at the Convention.
Categories: Labour News

Information on the BCFED Convention

Thu, 11/15/2012 - 09:14
Convention agenda, resolutions and hotel information for the 2012 BCFED convention Read More
Categories: Labour News

Double Double Takes on New Meaning

Thu, 11/15/2012 - 09:10

The BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre (BCPIAC) has launched a complaint at the BC Human Rights Tribunal (BCHRT) on behalf of four temporary foreign workers (TFW) from Mexico employed at two Tim Hortons locations in Dawson Creek, BC.

Living two to a room, in a five bedroom home, workers were asked to pay $200.00 each at the beginning of the month, and then asked by the employer for an additional $200.00 dollars rent mid-month, which their employer referred to as a “tip.” “When Tim Hortons advertises the Double Double, I don’t believe this is what most Canadians had in mind,” said Eugene Kung, counsel with the BCPAIC. In total the employer received $4,000 a month in rent from each of two separate homes where he required his employees to live.

In addition to overcharging workers for rent, the complaint asserts the workers were subjected to derogatory racist comments including “[expletive] Mexican workers are lazy” and “Mexican idiots,” while the employer described himself as the owner of their lives.”

“When these workers raised any concerns about their working or living conditions, the employer threatened to send them back to Mexico,” said Kung. The employer also regularly asked the workers from Mexico for their passports and would hold them for periods of time.

“These workers were left vulnerable to a flawed program where the power dynamic benefits the employer and creates a ripe situation for the exploitation of the workers,” Kung added. Two of the workers were fired after they complained about their working condition, and others were forced to leave for fear of reprisals.

“This is yet another indictment of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program,” said B.C. Federation of Labour President Jim Sinclair.
“For decades Canada has been a place of hope an opportunity for prospective immigrants. Instead, through the TFW program we are throwing away our reputation as a welcoming country for immigrants,” Sinclair noted. “This is not how workers should be treated in Canada, no matter where they come from or how they got here.

The employer Tony Van Den Bosch, is listed as 525571 BC Ltd, while Tim Hortons parent group TDL Group Corp, helped recruit the workers to Canada. Additional complaints have also been filed with the Ministry of Labour regarding the employer’s breaches of the Employment Standards Act.”


To view the complaint visitwww.bcfed.ca or www.bcpiac.com
For more information contact: Eugene Kung (BC PIAC) 604-687-3063, EKung@bcpiac.com or
Jessie Uppal (BC FED) 604-220-0739 (cell)

Categories: Labour News

Register over 20 delegates

Wed, 11/07/2012 - 10:10

Affiliates registering 20 or more delegates may use the following bulk registration process.

  1. Read all instructions carefully before beginning.
  2. Download the Bulk Registration Form
  3. Send us an email requesting the BULK REGISTRATION spreadsheet. Include your union name in the email. We will forward you the spreadsheet along with detailed instructions. 
  4. Complete the spreadsheet with complete information for all delegates. Required fields are highlighted in yellow.
  5. Print the spreadsheet and have the appropriate officers initial every page.
  6. Complete and print the BULK REGISTRATION form.
  7. Complete one Accessibility Form for each delegate that has requirements.
  8. Complete the yellow Delegate Entitlement form and make a copy for your records.
  9. Electronically mail the BULK REGISTRATION SPREADSHEET to dbaker@bcfed.ca cc’d to csundin@bcfed.ca.
  10. Mail the following documents to the B.C. Federation of Labour, along with full payment for your delegates fees in the form of a cheque only:
  • DELEGATE ENTITLEMENT form (the YELLOW page included in your registration package).
  • All pages of the spreadsheet.

Following receipt of the forms in the B.C. Federation of Labour office, you will receive a PDF with a credential for each delegate. Provide the credential to the delegate to bring for presentation at Convention.

Categories: Labour News

Why is BC Relying on Temporary Foreign Workers?

Tue, 11/06/2012 - 15:10

The latest unemployment figures show the continued use of Temporary Foreign Workers is unnecessary said BC Federation of Labour President Jim Sinclair.

According to Statistics Canada, BC lost 10,900 total jobs and 16,200 full-time jobs last month.
“These numbers reveal we don’t have a temporary shortage of workers, we have a shortage of jobs,” Sinclair stated.

The Federation has long opposed the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, because the program drives down wages and severely limits the rights of workers entering Canada.

“We know that over the long run with expected retirements and slowing birthrates, our workforce requires continued reliance on immigration,” said Sinclair. “But let’s invest in real immigration programs that allow prospective citizens the same rights as all Canadian workers. It’s how we built Canada and how we should continue to build Canada.”

Over 70,000 temporary foreign workers are currently residing in BC.

Categories: Labour News

Safe Workplaces

Sat, 07/14/2012 - 06:25

We need action to prevent injuries and deaths at work

It’s a staggering number: a total of 17,160 workers suffered serious injuries or died on the job in 2011.

Women and men suffered permanent disabilities. Families lost their breadwinner. Children lost a parent. The human cost is heartbreaking. The economic cost is huge.

We need laws that keep people safe at work, provide full compensation when workers are injured, and meaningful rehabilitation to help individuals return to work.

The BC Liberals have made workplaces unsafe

The Liberal government gutted safety regulations and cut enforcement that kept workers safe. They lowered benefits and cut people off pensions, then used the savings to reduce employer premiums to the lowest level in 30 years.

Negligent employers continue to face trivial fines. Just last year an employer who had negligently failed to provide any safety instruction, training or supervision – was fined just $3,250 when a worker fell to his death.

BC needs to reduce workplace injuries and support injured workers

Join us in calling on the provincial government to reduce workplace diseases and injuries, and help injured workers and their families get back on their feet by:

  • restoring full compensation to injured workers, including providing 100 percent of their net earnings;
  • restoring lifetime disability and loss of earnings awards for permanently disabled workers;
  • increasing enforcement and imposing meaningful penalties when employers fail to provide a safe workplace;
  • providing meaningful vocational rehabilitation for injured workers who are returning to work; and
  • ensuring worker representatives make up at least 50 percent on the WCB Board of Directors.

Personal stories

“My father was a red seal journeyman earning about $80,000 a year. After he was injured on the job, WCB said they would only provide him rehabilitation and training to be a gas station attendant. My father worked his whole life to perfect his trade, and under the BC Liberals, he’s now pumping gas for $12 an hour. He’s lost everything he worked for, including his dignity.” – Peter, 35

“I worked in the shipping industry for more than 25 years. After I retired, I started to get sick and was diagnosed with a disease caused by workplace exposure to asbestos. This disease is debilitating – it has stolen my quality of life and will make my life shorter. My wife has to take care of me now and she won’t have me around when she is older. My retirement income barely covers my medical bills. Under the old rules, I would have received compensation from WCB. The BC Liberals took that away, and instead I get absolutely nothing.” Stuart, 71

Categories: Labour News

Right to Join a Union

Sat, 07/14/2012 - 06:24

Fair Labour Laws – Building a strong economy starts with respect for working people

A good labour relations climate is essential if we hope to build a strong economy that provides profits for employers and fair wages for workers.

For employers and workers alike, it is the key to stability, productivity, and growth in a changing economy. In every sector, we can do better by working together.

Working families face significant economic challenges

Corporate executive pay is on the rise, but real wages are stagnating. More and more workers are stuck in jobs with low wages, little security, and no hope of advancement. The middle class is shrinking and it’s harder to get ahead, particularly for young people.

It’s harder to join a union. New loopholes in labour laws have given unscrupulous employers the ability to undermine the right of workers to belong to unions.

Over the last decade, the BC Liberals have steadily made labour laws more unfair and more unbalanced. They have torn up legal contracts, and taken away the right to bargain key issues such as contracting out in health care and class size in public education. Students, patients, and workers have all paid the price.

It’s time for more balance and fairness in the laws that govern how we work together.

Balancing BC’s Labour Laws

Join us in calling on the provincial government to take these necessary steps to restore balance in labour laws and make it easier to join a union:

  • End employer intimidation and threats.
  • Respect the right of workers to join a union by granting certification when 55 percent of employees have signed a membership card.
  • Grant easier access to mediation to help in negotiating first agreement that meets industry standards.
  • Close the contract-flipping loopholes that employers are using to de-unionize their workforces.
  • Protract the right to collective bargaining by repealing heavy-handed legislation.
  • Fix the Labour Board by bring balance in employer and labour appointments.

Respect every worker’s right to join a union

Personal stories

“All we really want is to have a voice at work and be treated with respect. That’s why most of us signed union cards. Now the boss is threatening to fire us, or just shut down, if we vote for the union. Many people are scared, but we know we need a union now more than ever.” James, 24

“It seems like my care home is under new management every other year. When the contract gets flipped, good people lose their jobs. Now I have a stranger doing my bathing and personal care – it isn’t fair to me or the healthcare workers.” Susan, 86

POLL: 93 percent of British Columbians agree that government should require these facilities for seniors and people with disabilities to treat their employees fairly and respect collective agreements.

Categories: Labour News