Ride-hailing legislation ignores the needs of transportation workers, says BCFED
The BC Federation of Labour says it is disappointed that ride-hailing legislation introduced today in Victoria offers little to promote good-paying, stable jobs and fails to establish protections for workers from large multi-national companies like Uber that have bad labour relations records.
“We appreciate the goal of the bill is to expand transportation options and focus on passenger safety,” says BCFED President, Irene Lanzinger.
“But proposed legislation should have included measures to modernize outdated employment laws that give employers too much power and employees too few rights,” she says. “The needs of workers have been left completely out of the equation.
“Ride-hailing enterprises like Uber helped invent the gig economy, where jobs are designed to be precarious, unstable, and mostly low-paying. Workers need a level playing field and more clout to deal with rich and powerful companies.”
Lanzinger says the Federation will continue to call for a number of reforms, like ensuring that ride-hailing companies can’t classify their employees as independent contractors, to give workers a fair shake and create good-paying, stable jobs.
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The BC labour movement is praising the move by the Horgan government to repeal Bill 29—the controversial legislation brought in by the BC Liberals that was used to fire 10,000 health care workers more than a decade ago.
“Bill 29 was an abuse of power by the BC Liberals that was a targeted attack on the jobs and livelihoods of tens of thousands of mostly women health care workers,” says BC Federation of Labour President, Irene Lanzinger.
“Repealing the legislation is a positive step that will end rampant contract-flipping in health care, and make for more stable care—especially for seniors,” she says.
“Just as importantly it will provide a small measure of justice for the many women health care workers who were targeted by this vicious legislation.”
Bill 29 was rammed through the Legislature in 2002. It gave the BC Liberals sweeping powers to rip up signed collective agreements, fire 10,000 workers without cause, and cut wages for thousands of other caregivers. It also served as the blueprint for the wholesale privatization of important health care services.
In a later legal rebuke of the BC Liberal government, elements of Bill 29 were declared illegal and unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada.
Health Minister Adrian Dix introduced legislation this morning in Victoria to repeal Bill 29 and a companion piece of legislation, Bill 94.
Working people employed in low-paid, precarious jobs will benefit from changes proposed by an independent panel of experts formed by Labour Minister Harry Bains to recommend improvements to BC’s labour code, says the BC Federation of Labour.
Bains released the panel’s report and recommendations earlier today. He also announced that stakeholders and the public have until November 30th to comment on the report and its proposed changes.
“Tens of thousands of service workers who struggle every day to make ends meet are affected by employer contract flipping,” says BC Federation of Labour President Irene Lanzinger. “This upheaval causes insecurity, and locks these workers into perpetual low-wage employment.
“We are urging minister Bains to go to bat for low-paid workers by ensuring that the protections against contract flipping recommended by the panel are included in legislation the government will bring in next year.”
Previous BC Liberal governments had enabled “contract flipping” which allows employers to use the tendering process to arbitrarily terminate collective agreements and maintain poverty level wages primarily in construction, food and building services, security and health care.
When workers are flipped, they lose their jobs, wages and benefits, their collective agreements and their union, Lanzinger says.
“One of the most important things the government can do to build an economy that works for everyone,” says Lanzinger, “is to improve the well-being of workers in contracted services by ensuring they have some form of job security—called successorship—to address issues around poverty and inequality.”
Lanzinger says the labour movement appreciates the hard work of the independent panel, which consulted broadly in their months-long work. “We don’t agree with all their findings, which we will address in the minister’s request for feedback; but the panel’s recommendations are measured, and will help foster a more constructive labour relations environment to restore fairness and balance to the labour code,” she says.
Vancouver - Legislation proposed today by Labour Minister Harry Bains is a first step to end the exploitation of vulnerable temporary foreign workers (TFWs) by unscrupulous employers and labour recruiters, says the BC Federation of Labour.
“We support the legislation because it includes a number of concrete measures, like mandatory licensing of recruiters and registration of all employers relying on TFWs, that will better protect workers from abuse,” says BCFED President Irene Lanzinger.
“In addition, the promise of resources for inspection and enforcement along with the prospect of significant financial penalties, exclusion from the program, and potential jail time for violations should be powerful incentives for employers and recruiters to follow the rules and treat workers with respect and decency.”
Despite widespread situations of exploitation, Lanzinger says the previous BC Liberal government did nothing to protect temporary foreign workers from abuse. “So we are pleased that Minister Bains is taking action to fulfill an important election pledge,” says Lanzinger. “It’s another way the NDP government is making life better for workers in our province.
“TFWs who come to Canada under this program harvest the food we need to sustain ourselves. They are the people who raise our families and care for our elderly—they are an integral part of our community. We need to do better by them,” says Lanzinger.
Lanzinger says the Federation is committed to working with Bains and the NDP government in drafting regulations that will set up the new registries and monitoring and enforcement measures.
Vancouver—Irene Lanzinger, the labour leader who helped spearhead the fight for a $15 minimum wage in BC, says she will not seek re-election for another two-year term as President of the BC Federation of Labour at the Federation’s 58th Convention at the end of November.
Lanzinger, 63, the first woman President in the organization’s history, says the time is right to step down to make a transition in leadership.
“The labour movement is strong, vibrant and united, with a focused agenda to campaign for balanced labour laws, safer workplaces, and improved employment standards and skills training,” she says.
“At the same time, we have a provincial government that listens and cares about working people creating opportunities to level the playing field for working people.
“So, it’s a good time to pass on the reins to new leadership.”
A former President of the BC Teachers’ Federation, Lanzinger was first elected as the Federation’s Secretary-Treasurer in 2010, and in 2014 was elected President.
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If you have not registered and would like to do so, please come to the the Stanley Park Ballroom at the Westin Bayshore Hotel, on Sunday, November 25, at 8:30 am.
Join young workers from across the province at the BCFED's Young Workers' Forum. The forum is from 1:30 pm-5:00 pm on Sunday, November 25th, in the Stanley Park Ballroom at the Westin Bayshore Hotel. Listen to speakers on the issues that matter to young workers, attend work shops and network. It will be a great afternoon. The event is open to all young workers and does not require a delegate credential. The forum is free to attend, but you must pre-register at the link below to attend.
Registration is now closed. If you haven't registered and would like to do so, please come to the Stanley Park Ballroom at the Westin Bayshore Hotel on Sunday, November 25, at 1:00 pm.
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Vancouver - The BC Federation of Labour is responding positively to today’s final investment decision to build LNG Canada’s Kitimat LNG facility.
“While there are still climate change issues that the provincial government is working to address through its clean growth strategy, today’s go-ahead announcement will create concrete opportunities for good-paying jobs during construction and operation of the new LNG facility,” says BCFED President Irene Lanzinger.
The Federation and a number of other unions have been part of the LNG process since 2013.
“As a part of the former Premier’s LNG Working Group, and the new government’s Workforce Development Advisory Group with First Nations and LNG Canada, labour pushed for many of the work force provisions that are reflected in today’s final investment decision,” says Lanzinger.
“We were able to share our expertise to shape policies around local and Indigenous worker hiring, along with apprenticeships and skills training issues to ensure that BC workers are first in line for jobs to maximize the value of this major investment for BC communities, and build a workforce for the future.”