BC Federation of Labour

bcfed.ca

Lekungwen Territory; Victoria, BC - Budget 2020 introduces a new tax on the wealthiest and uses BC’s strong economic position to expand public services and social programs that benefit working people. With a record $22.9 billion in infrastructure spending, the budget continues a sea change from the austerity and cuts of the BC Liberal days.

“The NDP government invests in services that families and communities rely on, whether in healthcare, housing, education or childcare,” said Laird Cronk, President of the BC Federation of Labour (BCFED). “The new Child Opportunity Benefits and B.C. Access Grant are game changers that will help fight child poverty and improve access to post-secondary education.”

Budget 2020 also puts a focus on fairness for some of the lowest paid workers in the province. 

“By 2021, BC will eliminate the discriminatory server wage and have the highest provincial minimum wage at over $15 an hour” said Secretary Treasurer, Sussanne Skidmore. “We’re seeing real progress for workers: boosts to wages for Early Childhood Educators, increases to the earnings exemptions for income and disability assistance, and the introduction of five days of paid leave for workers experiencing domestic and sexual violence.” 

Budget 2020 also delivered on other key progressive priorities that reduce inequality and create secure, sustainable jobs:

  • Critical funding for forestry revitalization, and supports for forestry workers
  •  New investments to specifically address homelessness
  •  Close to half a billion dollars in new funding for Clean BC 
  •  New resources to help women and under-represented groups access skilled trades training
  •  Gaming-revenue sharing with First Nations and funding for an Indigenous justice strategy 

BC continues to lead the country in growth and job creation. “A key measure of health for any economy is how it reduces inequality and creates opportunity,” added Laird Cronk. “On those measures, this budget delivers.”

Author: angela.boscariol
Posted: February 18, 2020, 10:05 pm

On January 14th, 2020 the BC Federation of Labour called on the RCMP to step back and allow for government to government dialogue to address the concerns raised by Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs, in an effort to find mutual solutions to the complex issues constituting this dispute.

Since that time the RCMP did indeed step back, which allowed for government-to-government relations to attempt renewed discussion and negotiation, including formal discussions mediated by Nathan Cullen between Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs and the Province.

Unfortunately, those discussions broke off and renewed RCMP action to enforce Coastal Gas Link’s court injunction have ensued, resulting in multiple new arrests on Wet’suwet’en lands and increased confrontation.

Despite the inability of recent discussions to resolve outstanding issues, the BC Federation of Labour continues to support a negotiated settlement to this dispute and urgently calls for renewed negotiations to find a mutual solution in the spirit of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Author: kmcgrath
Posted: February 8, 2020, 12:15 am

(Vancouver, BC) The BC Federation of Labour (BCFED) responded today to the issuing of licenses to Uber and Lyft by the Passenger Transportation Board (PTB), emphasizing that ride-hailing companies must comply with BC’s labour laws and ensure drivers have minimum labour protections under the Employment Standards Act.

“People want safe, accessible transit options. But they also want to know that the workers providing their transit are treated fairly,” said Laird Cronk, President of the BCFED. “When companies misclassify workers as independent contractors rather than employees, workers lose access to basic employment rights, like the ability to unionize, access to minimum wage, vacation pay and WCB coverage in the event of a workplace injury.”

All over the world, jurisdictions are scrambling to fix problems with unregulated ride-hailing companies. California recently passed legislation to combat the misclassification of ride-hailing and other gig-economy workers, giving them access to minimum wages and other labour protections. The Passenger Transportation Board was silent on the rights of drivers when issuing licences. The BCFED supports UFCW 1518’s application to the Labour Relations Board seeking a ruling on the rights of ride-hailing drivers in BC, including the right to unionize.

“Billion-dollar, multinational companies like Uber and Lyft have a responsibility to treat their workers fairly,” added Cronk. “We welcome ride-hailing to BC, but we will continue to stand up for drivers and call on the Passenger Transportation Board to collect and regularly publish data on the earnings and conditions for drivers.”

Media contact:

BCFED President, Laird Cronk, is available for comment after 3pm. Please contact:
Jonathan Sas | Communications Director | media@bcfed.ca | 604-861-4321

Background:

  • Read the BCFED’s submission to the Passenger Transportation Board calling for employment standards protections for drivers here.
  • Read the BCFED’s subsequent response to ride-hail applicants here.
Author: angela.boscariol
Posted: January 23, 2020, 8:10 pm

The BC Federation of Labour stands in solidarity with the workers that have been locked-out by the Co-op Refinery Complex in Regina.

Over 700 workers are fighting to protect their pensions against a highly profitable employer that is bringing in replacement workers. These workers and their families are walking a peaceful and legal picket line. The BCFED joins the national labour community in calling on the Regina Police Service to stop arresting workers. This dispute must be resolved at the bargaining table.

Author: angela.boscariol
Posted: January 22, 2020, 10:02 pm

The 2020 convention will be held November 23-27, 2020, at the Vancouver Convention Centre West.

More details to come.

Monday, November 23, 2020 - 11:00 to Friday, November 27, 2020 - 13:00
Location: 
Vancouver Convention Centre West
1055 Canada Place
Vancouver
See map: Google Maps
Action Text: 
Buy Tickets
Host: 
BC Federation of Labour
Author: kmcgrath
Posted: January 6, 2020, 5:43 pm

Join the BCFED in our call to build an accessible future.

Doors open at 5:30 pm, Alice McKay Room, Central Branch Vancouver Public Library (350 Georgia Street).

Click on link above for more information on attached poster.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019 - 17:30 to 21:00
Location: 
Vancouver Public Library, Central Library
350 Georgia Street West
Vancouver
See map: Google Maps
Action Text: 
Buy Tickets
Host: 
BCFED
Author: kmcgrath
Posted: November 29, 2019, 9:53 pm

The 25th Annual Labour Community Christmas Dinner needs your help.

Every year, the labour community comes together to celebrate the holidays by sharing with those in need. Following our turkey dinner, every family will head home with a hamper of food, vegetables, clothes and toys for children.

Over 1,000 people and families take part in this annual tradition.

We are looking for donations and volunteers to make this event a success.

Donations of the following items are greatly appreciated:

  • unwrapped toys & teenager gifts
  • non-perishable foods
  • gift cards & passes
  • new and gently used, washed clothing for men, women and children
  • jackets, hats, socks, gloves

Please note there are two locations and two different days. Kindly refer to the following event listings for times/locations:

To sign up to volunteer or donate, please email Marisha at labourxmasdinner@hotmail.ca and let her know which shifts you would like to work.

Event poster

Monday, December 23, 2019 - 11:30 to Tuesday, December 24, 2019 - 20:00
Action Text: 
Buy Tickets
Host: 
BC Federation of Labour
Author: angela.boscariol
Posted: November 27, 2019, 7:30 pm

The 25th Annual Labour Community Christmas Dinner needs your help.

Every year, the labour community comes together to celebrate the holidays by sharing with those in need. Following our turkey dinner, every family will head home with a hamper of food, vegetables, clothes and toys for children.

Over 1,000 people and families take part in this annual tradition.

We are looking for donations and volunteers to make this event a success.

Donations of the following items are greatly appreciated:

  • unwrapped toys & teenager gifts
  • non-perishable foods
  • gift cards & passes
  • new and gently used, washed clothing for men, women and children
  • jackets, hats, socks, gloves

Volunteer opportunities in Vancouver:

Please meet at the Maritime Labour Centre, 1880 Triumph Street. We need folks to help with event prep in the lead-up, as well as to assist during the dinner service the day of.

December 20 – unloading trucks with food and toys @ 10:00 am
December 21 – filling hampers, setting up the hall and sorting clothes @ 10:00 am
December 22 – filling hampers, sorting toys and clothes @ 10:00 am
December 23 – load the moving truck at 9:00 am and then set up dinner in Surrey
December 24 – volunteer at the Vancouver dinner starting at 4:00 pm

To sign up to volunteer or donate, please email Marisha at labourxmasdinner@hotmail.ca and let her know which shifts you would like to work.

Friday, December 20, 2019 - 10:00 to Tuesday, December 24, 2019 - 20:00
Location: 
Maritime Labour Centre
1880 Triumph St
Vancouver
See map: Google Maps
Action Text: 
Buy Tickets
Host: 
BC Federation of Labour
Author: angela.boscariol
Posted: November 27, 2019, 7:25 pm

The 25th Annual Labour Community Christmas Dinner needs your help.

Every year, the labour community comes together to celebrate the holidays by sharing with those in need. Following our turkey dinner, every family will head home with a hamper of food, vegetables, clothes and toys for children.

Over 1,000 people and families take part in this annual tradition.

We are looking for donations and volunteers to make this event a success.

Donations of the following items are greatly appreciated:

  • unwrapped toys & teenager gifts
  • non-perishable foods
  • gift cards & passes
  • new and gently used, washed clothing for men, women and children
  • jackets, hats, socks, gloves

Volunteer opportunities in Surrey:

Please meet at Kwantlen Park Secondary School 10441 132 Street, Surrey. We need folks to help with prep as well as to assist during the dinner service.
Setup at 12:00pm
Dinner at 4:00pm

To sign up to volunteer or donate, please email Marisha at labourxmasdinner@hotmail.ca.

Monday, December 23, 2019 - 12:00 to 20:00
Location: 
Kwantlen Park Secondary School
10441132 Street
Surrey
See map: Google Maps
Action Text: 
Buy Tickets
Host: 
BC Federation of Labour
Author: angela.boscariol
Posted: November 27, 2019, 7:14 pm

VANCOUVER – The BC Insulators Union, Vancouver-New Westminster Building Trades Council and BC Federation of Labour are calling on the BC government to immediately license asbestos removal firms. The call comes after the BC Supreme Court sentenced a flagrant violator of safety laws to house arrest and following a contractor removing asbestos contaminated drywall from a Vancouver home without adequately protecting workers or nearby neighbours.

Mike Singh, principal of Seattle Environmental Consulting Ltd. and Skylite Building Maintenance Ltd., was sentenced to six weeks house arrest and one year probation by Madam Justice Francesca Marzari on October 29 after being found guilty of contempt of court for not obeying Workers Compensation Board orders on the adequate protection of workers engaged in asbestos removal.

Then last week the Workers Compensation Board issued four stop-work orders against H & B Construction Inc. when neighbours of a house at 4573 West 12th Avenue in Vancouver reported workers removing asbestos-contaminated material from a house being demolished without adequately protecting themselves or nearby residents.

Asbestos is the leading cause of workplace deaths in BC, predominantly from mesothelioma, with 47 work-related deaths recorded in 2018.

“The asbestos removal business is simply out of control and it is critical that the BC government immediately move to license all asbestos removal and consulting firms so workers and residents lives are not being put at risk,” says Neil Munro, business manager for the BC Insulators Union, representing asbestos removal workers. “The flagrant violations happening across the province demand that action be taken to save lives from exposure to deadly asbestos.”

Josh Towsley, president of the Vancouver-New Westminster Building Trades Council, says the Vancouver house demolition case put next door neighbours at risk as well as the workers removing asbestos from outdoor stucco.

“There is absolutely no safe level of asbestos exposure for anyone, worker or neighbour, and this case shows how urgently we need the province to license any company removing asbestos,” said Towsley. “In addition to this outrageous situation, other unscrupulous asbestos removal companies have dumped bags of asbestos-contaminated drywall in back alleys in Vancouver and Burnaby in recent years, meaning anyone could be exposed to this carcinogenic material.”

Laird Cronk, BC Federation of Labour President, said unions and the Federation have been calling for the licensing and regulation of asbestos firms for several years.

“These cases show the pressing need for the BC government to act now,” Cronk said. “They also demonstrate the need for a certified program for workers handling asbestos, as well as more resources to support proactive enforcement and monitoring.”

Munro of the BC Insulators says several other jurisdictions have licensed asbestos removal firms, including Washington and Oregon states, the United Kingdom and Australia.

“The models are there, the need is urgent and people are going to die from asbestos exposure, so let’s get it done and done now,” Munro said.

BC’s labour movement has put forward other concrete recommendations to government to make the removal, transportation and disposal of asbestos contaminated materials safe, including:

  • Training and certification of asbestos workers, consultants and surveyors;
  • Creation of new disposal sites across BC;
  • Establish a rebate program for safe asbestos disposal;
  • The Labour Ministry be the lead ministry to implement licensing and changes in coordination with the Workers Compensation Board;
  • Develop BC-wide laboratory standards for asbestos testing;
  • An awareness program on asbestos exposure in the automotive repair sector, where asbestos lining in brake pads and other parts can put workers at risk;
  • Full and fair compensation for workers who develop asbestos-related diseases

BACKGROUND

The Workers Compensation Board had asked for a one-year jail term for Singh, who has been permanently barred from working in the asbestos removal business previously by the court after WorkSafeBC issued over 230 orders to comply with health and safety laws designed to protect workers and communities from asbestos exposure – and after Singh and his companies were fined over $630,000 since 2010.

In a detailed submission to the BC government review, the BC Insulators Union
says the Workers Compensation Board issued 764 compliance orders in 2018 – on average two orders every day. And even more disturbingly, the Workers Compensation Board also issued 95 immediate stop work orders to asbestos abatement employers because of the seriousness of the violations and risk to workers.

Munro says that in 2018 alone, the Workers Compensation Board issued 37 administrative penalties related to violations of asbestos regulations totaling $237,386 in fines – but only 17 have been paid in full, with $66,256 collected to-date.

There are other firms that owe hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid fines, with one company at well over $1 million owed to the Workers Compensation Board, Munro added.

And BC Supreme Court has issued 12 injunctions against asbestos employers at the Workers Compensation Board’s request – to force them to obey the law, Munro says.

RESOURCES

Decision by Madam Justice Marzari

Global TV story November 15 on Vancouver house being demolished without adequate asbestos protection:

Full BC Insulators Union submission to government on asbestos

BCFED submission to Ministry of Labour on Asbestos.

Media contact:
Jonathan Sas, Communications Director, BCFED (media@bcfed.ca | 604-861-4321‬); or Bill Tieleman, West Star Communications (cell 778-896-0964‬ office 604-844-7827‬‬‬‬)

Author: angela.boscariol
Posted: November 20, 2019, 10:36 pm