Burnaby, BC – The BC Federation of Labour (BCFED), working in conjunction with MoveUP, has issued a boycott notice to all affiliates targeting Westminster Savings Credit Union (WSCU). The boycott puts pressure on WSCU amid workers striking to protect pensions and fighting the proposed closure of the only unionized branch.
The boycott calls on the public and members of unions affiliated with the BCFED to withdraw all funds from Westminster Savings except what is minimally required to keep an open account to maintain a voting share.
“Asking supporters to cease doing business with an organization is not an easy request to make,” said President of MoveUP David Black. “Westminster Savings needs to know there are repercussions for their actions against our members, first by going after their pension plan and now by attempting to shut down the Shaughnessy Station branch in Port Coquitlam.”
“We are pleased to see the support from the local community in Port Coquitlam, across British Columbia and even abroad. We call on other members of this credit union as well to join us in this boycott of Westminster Savings.”
Westminster Savings informed its members in June that they are planning to shut down the Shaughnessy Station branch this fall, claiming the decision is not related to the branch’s unionized status. The Shaughnessy Station branch is the only unionized branch of Westminster Savings.
Workers at the Shaughnessy Station branch, represented by MoveUP, have been on the picket line since January 22 fighting for retirement security and against their employer’s attempts to deny access to the existing defined benefit pension plan for employees hired on or after July 1, 2018. Employees at the non-unionized branches have already been affected by the change.
“Unions across BC are issuing this boycott notice in solidarity with the striking workers protecting their pensions,” said BCFED President Laird Cronk. “British Columbians can send a clear message, one that hits Westminster Savings in the pocketbook.”
Information on steps for those joining the boycott of WSCU can be found on www.MoveUPTogether.ca.
MoveUP represents more than 12,000 union members at public and private sector companies in Western Canada in many of the industries and professions fundamental to our economy including at BC Hydro, FortisBC, ICBC, Capilano University, BCAA, transit providers, credit unions and car rental companies.
Vancouver – The BC Federation of Labour (BCFED) announced a “hot edict” today on Western Forest Products (WFP) in a show of solidarity with striking forest workers. The move, welcomed by the United Steelworkers (USW), means that members of the BCFED’s affiliated unions have been asked to no longer handle any WFP coastal lumber, log and wood products.
“The announcement of a ‘hot edict’ is a significant but necessary escalation in what is frankly an employer-initiated dispute” said President of the BCFED, Laird Cronk. “Through the solidarity of affiliated unions, the company’s products could lay dormant.”
Over 2,600 Steelworkers employed by WFP on Vancouver Island are on strike to save their pensions, seniority rights and long-term disability from being cut by the company. WFP has decided to attack its own employees with attempts to introduce a two-tier pay system for new employees, elimination of the current pension plan and demands to roll back several other clauses of the collective agreement that were bargained and agreed to over decades.
“The company is attempting these draconian roll-backs to worker benefits and rights despite continued profitability”, said Steven Hunt, Director of USW District 3. According to WFP’s 2017 and 2018 financial reports, the company made over a billion dollars in sales and made a net profit of $74.4 million and $69.2 million respectively. In addition, the salary of the CEO has steadily increased from $1.5 million in 2015 to $2 million in 2017, and from $500,000 in 2015 to $1.2 million in 2017 for the Vice President.
USW Local 1-1937 are seeking to achieve a new agreement that ensures workers are treated with respect, share in the success of WFP and that benefits that have been successfully achieved in previous bargaining are protected.
Media contact for BCFED:
Jonathan Sas, Communications Director
Media contact for USW local 1-1937:
Stephen Hunt, Director, USW District 3
This year, National Indigenous Peoples Day comes at a critical moment for Indigenous rights recognition in Canada and BC.
Key legislation to entrench Indigenous rights, Bill C-262, is stuck in the Senate and Prime Minister Trudeau has abandoned his commitment to ensure it passes it into law. “This legislation would create a framework for reconciliation and a process to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into Canadian law” says BCFED President Laird Cronk.
“To see the Liberal Government concede defeat to Conservative Senators is profoundly disappointing. This Bill has the support of the democratically-elected House of Commons and should be passed immediately.”
This month, the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls called on Canada to cease enacting genocide and repeated the call for the UN Declaration to be implemented. Here in British Columbia, the report from the Downtown East Side Women’s Centre (DEWC) entitled Red Women Rising has highlighted the voices and stories of community members directly affected by colonial violence and structural oppression and put forward over 200 recommendations to government.
“This National Indigenous Peoples Day, we call upon union members and other British Columbians to read the Red Women Rising report and commit to take action on the 200 plus recommendations found within,“ says Secretary-Treasurer Sussanne Skidmore. “That includes bringing the report’s call for implementation of the UN Declaration in BC; a commitment we expect the current Provincial government to meet this fall.”
The BCFED is also encouraging British Columbians to take personal action by joining the call to pass Bill C-262, and by reading the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls report, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action, and the UN Declaration.
The best way forward on the path to reconciliation is to participate in a radical culture shift that places the voices and experiences of Indigenous people in the spotlight and follows them as they lead the way to the implementation of their rights, and justice for their people.
The BCFED 2019 Regional Conference will be held this year September 6-7 in Prince Rupert.
With the theme of the Future of Work, the conference offers participants the chance to learn about current challenges the labour movement is tackling, and the how labour has helped shape the local history in the Prince Rupert area.
The conference offers a mix of informative plenaries, inspiring speakers, and skill-building workshops.
Registration is now open.
For accommodation inquiries, please visit: WE Travel.
We look forward to welcoming affiliate members at our regional conference in September.
For the 2019 Pride season, the BC Federation of Labour is renewing its call for no one within the LGBTQ community to be left behind.
“All equity-seeking groups within the Pride community should be welcomed, heard, and celebrated. Pride began as a protest, as a mechanism to free an oppressed community. Trans, students, seniors, people of colour, two-spirited, and people with disabilities still face huge problems of exclusion, including within the LGBTQ community itself,” says BCFED Secretary Treasurer Sussanne Skidmore.
“My hope for this pride is that we can focus those in the LGBTQ community who are not yet free to express themselves. As a queer woman, I know what it’s like to have to fight for inclusion,” adds Skidmore.
The ban on donating blood, bone marrow and organs imposed on men and Trans women who have had sex with men remains in place. The ban is discriminatory because the criteria is based on sexual orientation rather than high-risk behaviors, and clearly perpetuates the stigma towards these marginalized groups. Several BCFED affiliate unions are running campaigns to end the blood ban.
In October 2015, the BCFED unanimously passed a trans exclusionary policy: any organization that provides support services to women or men but doesn’t provide those same services to Trans women or Trans men is considered Trans Exclusionary. The BCFED actively encourages affiliated unions to stop funding such organizations, asking these funds to be redirected to organizations that are Trans inclusive instead.
More broadly, the BCFED believes that the establishment of the BC Human Rights Commission will support education that promotes inclusion for all equity-seeking groups.
“We look forward to partnering with the commission to educate workers in every corner of the province in the years ahead. I look forward to the day when all LGBTQ community members feel safe, no matter what industry they work in or what area of BC they live in,” says BCFED President Laird Cronk.
The BCFED wishes everyone a Happy Pride season of 2019!
The BC Federation of labour represents 500,000 working people across the province of BC through its affiliated unions, and has a caucus that meets regularly on LGBTQ issues.
The BC Federation is Labour is calling on injured workers and their advocates to speak out and share their experience at a public hearings of the workers’ compensation review panel.
Injured workers are strongly encouraged to attend a public hearing in their community or to complete an online survey. This is your time to speak out about your experiences with the compensation system, to highlight its unfairness, and to advocate for change.
To register for public hearings or complete a survey: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/workerscompensationreview/
The identity of injured workers can be anonymized for those who are concerned about privacy, or if speaking out could result in negative employment consequences. If this is the case, please contact the Review Info line directly at 604-233-6790.
The workers’ compensation review panel hearings will take place from June 14 to July 19 across the province, including in the following communities:
• Surrey: June 14-15
• Castlegar: June 17-18
• Nanaimo: June 20
• Campbell River: June 21
• Vancouver: June 24-25
• Chilliwack: June 27
• Williams Lake: July 2-3
• Kamloops: July 4
• Cranbrook: July 8-9
• Kelowna: July 10
• Fort St John: July 15-16
• Prince George: July 17
• Terrace: July 18-19
FIRST NATIONS LEADERSHIP COUNCIL AND THE BC FEDERATION OF LABOUR - JOINT NEWS RELEASE
(Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver) The First Nations Leadership Council (FNLC) and the BC Federation of Labour (BCFED) are deeply frustrated by recent attempts to filibuster and delay Bill C-262, An Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Conservative Senators are employing wholly undemocratic procedures in an unabashed effort to side-step the human rights of Indigenous peoples.
These actions, by an unelected body, are entirely outrageous, undemocratic and misaligned with Canada’s commitment to Reconciliation, the Calls-to-Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the direction of the elected and accountable House of Commons, which overwhelmingly voted to pass the bill after being introduced over three years ago, and unanimously moved an April 10 motion, to pass Bill C-262 into law at the earliest opportunity, urging to the Senate to acquaint the house accordingly.
As last week’s report from the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls made abundantly clear, Canada faces an urgent need to address its historic and current treatment of Indigenous peoples. Passing Bill C-262 and recognizing the inherent human rights of Indigenous Peoples is a solid first-step in the right direction.
Yet despite this urgent need, Conservative Senator Don Plett, party whip for the Conservative Senate Caucus, and Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer, appear dead set to maintain the status-quo by killing Bill C-262 and denying the application of Indigenous human rights through political filibustering and shortcuts to by-pass good-faith democratic processes.
“Canada’s Conservatives have pledged to support the process of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, and yet their actions at this time reveal their real intentions to continue to push back the relationship with First Nations. Canadians must demand better from political representatives and government systems that refuse to change. Our future generations are depending on all of us to deliver solutions that will begin bold actions, including the implementation of Bill C-262,” stated BC Regional Chief Terry Teegee.
“The UN Declaration is a critical framework that affirms the rights of Indigenous peoples and establishes “minimum standards for our survival and well-being”. We find it totally abhorrent that Conservative Senators are standing in the way and utilizing every effort to block the passage of legislation on this important human rights instrument”, said Robert Phillips of the First Nations Summit Political Executive. “The First Nations Summit Chiefs in Assembly last week passed a resolution calling on the House of Commons and every Senator to promptly adopt Bill C-262 before the House rises on June 21st. This legislation must not be allowed to die on the order paper”.
“The UBCIC is calling on all Canadians to immediately contact Andrew Scheer, the elected leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, and demand that the Conservative Party Senators stop delaying a vote on Bill C-262. The actions of the Conservative Party Senators are an egregious denial of justice and a complete disregard for the rights of Indigenous Peoples and Canada’s own democratic processes”, stated Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, Secretary-Treasurer of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “The actions and attitudes of this Conservative Party belong in the past. There is no place in this country for political parties or representatives who rely on political games to maintain a status-quo founded on the ongoing suffering of Indigenous peoples and the continual denial of our basic, and internationally recognized, Indigenous and human rights.”
“Bill C-262 is about fundamental human rights. Conservative Senators politicking to kill Bill C-262 is undemocratic and nothing short of an attack on human rights. Reconciliation is a responsibility for all Canadians and should not be subject to partisan politics,” said BCFED President Laird Cronk. “Workers across B.C. want to see the United Nations Declaration implemented. The Senate of Canada must pass this Bill immediately.”
In a time when numerous reports, exposés and court decisions are calling on the Canadian Government to address their ongoing egregious treatment of Indigenous Peoples, why is the Conservative Party of Canada continuing to deny the recognition and application of the internationally recognized human rights of Indigenous Peoples? Political representatives must be held accountable for the circumvention of our democratically accountable processes and the continual denial of the human rights of Indigenous peoples.
The First Nations Leadership Council is comprised of the political executives of the BC Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit, and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.
The BC Federation of Labour represents over 500,000 members from affiliated unions across the province, working in every aspect of the BC economy.
For further comment please contact:
Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, Secretary-Treasurer, Union of BC Indian Chiefs: 250-320-7738
Robert Phillips, First Nations Summit Political Executive: 778-875-2157
Regional Chief Terry Teegee, BC Assembly of First Nations: 250-981-2151
Oliver Rohlfs, BC Federation of Labour, 604-861-4321
BC Federation of Labour President Laird Cronk spoke with Jennifer Palma on Global TV on Saturday June 1 about minimum wage increase to $13.85/hour effective from that day.
The BC Federation of Labour welcomes the filing of criminal charges against Peter Kiewit Sons Co. and two supervisors for criminal negligence in the 2009 death of construction worker Sam Fitzpatrick.
“For the first time ever, a major Canadian corporation is being held criminally responsible for egregious workplace safety violations that led to a senseless workplace death,” says BC Federation of Labour President Laird Cronk.
Peter Kiewit Sons Co., Timothy Rule and Gerald Karjala are named in the indictment, which is the first application in Canada of the so-called Westray Law of 2004.
The BC FED has consistently advocated for criminal charges to be laid against employers who are negligent in protecting the health and safety of their workers, and to facilitate this by:
1. Dedicating a Crown prosecutor to deal with workplace fatality and serious injury cases;
2. Train police services on section 217.1 of the Criminal Code (the Westray Law);
3. Mandatory police investigations in all workplace fatalities and serious injuries.
“Some corporations only pay lip service to worker safety, and too many have gotten away with a slap on the wrist or a ridiculous fine,” says Cronk.
Kiewit’s actions were found to be “reckless” by WorkSafe BC, but was only fined $250,000 for Fitzpatrick’s death, which was later reduced to less than $100,000 on appeal.
There were 187 workplace fatalities in B.C. in 2018.
Fitzpatrick and the Kiewit worksite in Toba Inlet B.C. were unionized with the Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC) at the time. CLAC did not pursue criminal charges. In the labour movement, CLAC is considered an unscrupulous employer-friendly union that does not advocate for its members.
The BC FED and the United Steelworkers were instrumental in supporting Fitzpatrick’s family after the event. Sam’s father, Brian Fitzpatrick, advocated tirelessly on his son’s behalf until his death in 2017. The Steelworkers stepped in to help and pursue the legal proceedings.
The BC labour movement along with the families of the victims of catastrophic workplace incidents have been at the forefront of the campaign for more criminal prosecutions and, ultimately, jail time for negligent employer across Canada.
Vancouver - June 1 is National Injured Workers’ Day across Canada, a day to stand in solidarity with injured workers for the restoration of dignity, respect and justice. Workplace accidents have tragic consequences and a lasting impact on the workers who experience them.
“Last year more than 100,000 workplace injuries and occupational illnesses were reported in BC. It’s a terrible toll on workers and their families,” says BC Federation of Labour President Laird Cronk.
BCFED believes that every workplace injury is preventable. June 1 is also a day to renew our demand that employers, the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) and the provincial government do more to keep workers safe on the job.
“The well-being of workers is being compromised because safety rules are weak and not always rigorously enforced. Injured workers aren’t compensated fairly. Employers whose negligence results in a worker being injured on the job or contracting an occupational disease currently face few consequences,” says Cronk.
BCFED is pleased to see some changes to bring back a worker-centred approach to the WCB with the implementation of the 41 recommendations of the Petrie report “Restoring the Balance: A Worker-Centred Approach to Worker’ Compensation Policy.”
Government announced in April that Janet Patterson will conduct a review into the compensation system in BC.
BCFED will be looking to the government and the WCB to implement the review recommendations, and will actively participate in the compensation review.
BCFED also welcomed the expansion of the mental disorders presumption for wildland firefighters, nurses, care aides and emergency dispatchers. We will continue to push the government to expand this presumption to all workers regardless of industry.