Vancouver-With only a few days left before Election Day on May 9, the BC Federation of Labour released this morning the finale in the animated Game Over Christy ad trilogy.
The ad can be seen here: https://youtu.be/jcU7GiIXp4o.
The popular social media video series has racked up hundreds of thousands of views. The third and final episode again casts Clark as a video game character who prepares for Election Day by using tax dollars to fund campaign ads and corporate cash to build her election war chest.
But one thing stands in the way of a larger-than-life Clark: Voters. As the ad comes to a close, a steady stream of game sprites casting their votes and flying ballots bring Clark down to size, and it’s game over.
“If Clark wins the game, British Columbians lose,” says BC Federation of Labour President Irene Lanzinger. “She’s rejected a $15 minimum wage, closed schools and mills, and understaffed care homes for seniors. It’s clear: Christy’s got to go.
“Voters—especially younger ones—are who can stop Clark,” says Lanzinger. “On May 9, we’re urging them to tell her it’s game over.”
Labour activists today marched on the legislature in Victoria carrying 100 coffins to mark April 28th the National Day of Mourning for workers killed or seriously injured on the job, and to demand action from the provincial government to do more to keep workers safe on the job.
“We extend our condolences to the families and colleagues of workers who have died in the past year, and to those who’ve been injured or harmed by illness” says BCFED President Irene Lanzinger.
“We believe every workplace accident and death is preventable,” Lanzinger says. “All workers must enjoy the basic right to on the job protections, and to come home safely to their families at the end of the work day.
But over the past year, the Clark government has chosen not to take action to keep workers safe on the job,” Lanzinger says.
The well-being of workers is being compromised because the rules are weak and not always rigorously enforced. Injured workers aren’t fairly compensated. And, employers whose negligence kills or seriously injures workers are let off with a slap on the wrist.
At the ceremony, Lanzinger highlighted a number of tragic, high profile workplace deaths caused by employer negligence to make the case for tougher consequences. “Employers cannot be allowed to negligently kill or seriously injure a worker with impunity,” she says.
In 2016, 164 BC workers were killed on the job or died from occupational diseases. Additionally, more than 100,000 injuries and occupational illnesses were reported last year.
Lanzinger also criticized Clark’s pre-election promise that if returned to office, her government would siphon off more than $800 million in funds for injured workers and gift it to employers.
“When more needs to be done to keep workers safe on the job and fairly compensate those who are killed or injured, it’s an outrageous political move,” says Lanzinger.
“Safer workplaces and better protections for workers depend on British Columbians electing a new government on May 9th,” she says.
For more information contact Jim Chorostecki, BCFED, 604 209 2025
Labour Canvasses - Provincial Election 2017
The election is on and we are building momentum. We've had a number of energetic labour canvasses in the past few weeks and we can now confirm a number of upcoming events. For more information on labour canvasses around the province please click here.
Be a Part of the Change
May Day 2017
International Day of the Worker
March & Rally
Monday, May 1, 2017
5:00 PM - Gather at Clark Park (Commercial Drive & 14th)
5:30 PM - Family Friendly March to Grandview Park led by the Carnival Band
6:00PM - Rally
Vancouver - The ranks of unemployed workers in BC grew as full-time jobs declined slightly, while BC leads the country in the prevalence of precarious part-time work, according to March jobs numbers released today by Statistics Canada.
Almost 10,000 more British Columbians were out of work compared to the previous month as the labour force grew and the full-time job count declined by more than 2,000, says BC Federation of Labour President Irene Lanzinger.
“It’s always disheartening when more workers face unemployment and have to struggle even harder to get ahead in the country’s most expensive place to live,” says Lanzinger. “Clearly the March numbers snapshot a shakey jobs picture in our province.”
With part-time jobs rising by more than 6,000 compared to February, Lanzinger points out that BC leads Canada in a precarious work index—the number of part-time jobs as a percentage of total employment.
According to the Statscan numbers, 21.2% of all jobs in BC are part-time, which tend to be lower paying, with fewer benefits, and unstable hours and working conditions compared to full-time work. By comparison only 18.7% of jobs in Alberta and 18.5% in Ontario are part-time.
“The preponderance of precarious part-time work here in BC is indicative of a crisis in good quality jobs that weakens the foundation of our economy and underpins the high levels of disparity and inequality that are so rampant in our province,” Lanzinger says.
Vancouver-The BC Federation of Labour is demanding answers from Premier Clark’s labour minister, Shirley Bond, about a paltry fine assessed against a big Vancouver property development firm whose serious violation of health and safety rules caused the death of a Kamloops construction worker in 2015.
Sean Alexander Donetz was killed on the job after falling from a lifting device at a Kamloops construction site. The Workers’ Compensation Board investigated the tragic accident and found Donetz’s death was caused by a “high risk and repeated violation,” by his employer, a subsidiary of Vancouver-based Onni Group of Companies. Onni makes significant donations to the BC Liberal Party.
Despite the seriousness of the violations that caused the death, Onni was fined only $48,719.50.
“Such a paltry fine for a safety violation that cost a worker his life sends a message to employers that they don’t have to follow the rules,” says BCFED President Irene Lanzinger. “It says employers can kill or injure workers with impunity, or at worst a small fine and a slap on the wrist. It’s unacceptable.”
In a letter sent to the labour minister yesterday, Lanzinger asked Bond to explain why the WCB assessed such a small penalty to a company with such deep pockets.
“And given the WCB’s findings, the bigger question I’ve asked the minister to explain is why a criminal prosecution was not pursued against Onni for negligence causing death?” Lanzinger says. “We want to know why aren’t Onni executives facing jail time?”
Six months ago, a BC court let another employer off the hook in a workplace tragedy where 22-year-old Kelsey Ann Kristian died when she was crushed by a 31,000-kg heavy duty truck that she was operating without any training at a quarry near Mission. Her employer faced criminal negligence charges and jail time. But the courts let the boss off with a fine instead.
“These are both clear examples of why government needs to do more to make employers face real consequences—including jail time—when their negligence and failure to keep workers safe on the job results in injury or death.”
The BCFED’s letter to Bond also took the Clark government to task for over its plan to appropriate the WCB’s budget surplus as a gift to employers. Lanzinger says the money—which could amount to hundreds of millions of dollars—should be used to fund workplace safety programs, tougher rules, greater enforcement, more criminal prosecutions of negligent employers, and improved benefits for injured workers.
As part of our support for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, we are encouraging affiliates and union members across the province to post information in their communities about providing testimony to the National Inquiry. Attached is a one-page document that lists the toll free number and the e-mail address that families and survivors are asked to use to contact the Inquiry in order to give testimony.
Please share this as widely as possible, particularly in BC communities outside the Lower Mainland.
Vancouver-The tragic death of a New Westminster restaurant worker last week has renewed concerns of the BC Federation of Labour that the provincial government needs to do more to make BC workplaces safer.
“We extend our condolences to the family and colleagues of the worker who died,” says BCFED President Irene Lanzinger.
“In our view, every workplace accident and death is preventable,” she says. “All workers must enjoy the basic right to health and safety protections at work and to come home safely to their families at the end of their shift.
“But this death—along with many others so far this year are a sign that more needs to be done to protect workers,” she says.
While the accident is under investigation by the Workers’ Compensation Board, Lanzinger says worker safety isn’t a priority of Premier Clark’s government. “Health and safety protections are weak and not always rigorously enforced. Employers whose negligence kills or seriously injures workers are let off with a slap on the wrist. And injured workers and families of deceased workers have endured deep cuts in WCB benefits under the BC Liberals.”
News of the death comes only days after the Clark government announced it was siphoning off the WCB’s budget surplus as a gift to employers. Lanzinger says the money—which could amount to hundreds of millions of dollars—should be used to fund workplace safety programs, tougher rules, greater enforcement, more criminal prosecutions of negligent employers, and improved benefits for injured workers.
Vancouver - Premier Christy Clark’s plan to siphon tens of millions of dollars in funds for injured workers and gift it to employers is an outrageous political move and comes at a time when more needs to be done to keep workers safe on the job and fairly compensate those who are killed or injured, charges BC Federation of Labour President Irene Lanzinger.
The move on WCB funds was announced late this morning and would take effect after the May 9 provincial election.
“The money that the government and employers are appropriating should instead be used to improve benefits for workers killed and injured on the job that were slashed by the BC Liberals,” Lanzinger says.
“On the job, workers’ daily experience is that government and employers aren’t doing enough to keep them safe,” Lanzinger says. “Health and safety protections are weak and not always rigorously enforced. Worker safety is being compromised. Injured workers aren’t fairly compensated, and employers whose negligence kills or seriously injures workers are let off with a slap on the wrist.”
A worker hurt on the job pays a 10% penalty on their take home pay under current WCB rules.
“We argue that rather than lining employers’ pockets, surplus funds should be used to make work safer, for tougher regulations and more stringent enforcement,” says Lanzinger.
On April 8th at 8:00 pm, the BCFED Young Workers’ Committee will be holding the Annual Grant’s Law Sit-In in Victoria and Vancouver. The event is held to call for improved health and safety protections for late night workers. Following the tragic death of Grant Depatie in 2005 in a gas and dash in Maple Ridge, Grant’s family and the BCFED called for strengthened protections for those who work alone and at night. New laws were put in place but due to lobbying by big money corporations, parts of the law were rarely enforced and eventually removed by the Clark government. Each year we return to Mac's, one of the companies that lobbied for the weakened law, to call on the BC Government to return the protections and to ensure that similar tragedies do not occur. This year as we head into a provincial election, the call carries additional significance as the event will occur one month before voters have a chance to head to the polls.