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| Press Release

BC Hydro janitors facing contract flip taking their case to Victoria as legislative session opens Tuesday

VICTORIA, British Columbia, Feb. 12, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A delegation of janitors working at BC Hydro will meet with the Minister of Energy, Michelle Mungall, Tuesday for assurances that their jobs and union rights will be protected ahead of the March 1st contract flip.

With successorship rights on the horizon in B.C, the janitors, unionized with the Service Employees International Union, want to ensure they are not left behind before successorship provisions are legislated in the Labour Code.

The janitors are calling on the new government to live up to its promises to working people and act to protect the jobs and working conditions at the public utility. 

WHAT:
Justice for Janitors Worker Delegation takes concerns to Victoria

WHEN: February 12, 2019 from 12:30pm-1:30pm (the worker delegation will be meeting with the Minister in the morning and will be prepared to meet and answer questions afterwards)

WHERE: Hotel Grand Pacific Lobby - 463 Belleville St, Victoria

BACKGROUND

In January, the property manager and multi billion-dollar corporate entity, Brookfield Global Integrated Services (BGIS), awarded the cleaning contract at BC Hydro to Alpine Building Maintenance Inc. With the approval of BC Hydro, Alpine has been scheduled to take over the cleaning on March 1, 2019.

The janitors at these locations, currently employed by GDI Integrated Facility Services, are members of the Service Employees’ International Union. In March 2018, they ratified their most recent collective agreement, making modest, but important gains.

BC Hydro has stated that Alpine intends to re-hire all the cleaners, yet with three weeks remaining, the janitors are anxiously awaiting calls for job offers from Alpine and it is not clear if their union contract, seniority and jobs will be protected.

Despite repeated requests, Alpine Building Maintenance Inc. is refusing to recognize the collective bargaining rights of the workers at BC Hydro.

These requests also came from MoveUp and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, who represent thousands of workers at the public utility. Both unions have written letters to the CEO of BC Hydro, Chris O’Riley, urging the utility to compel Alpine to recognize the janitors’ union and right to collective bargaining.

The BC government has committed to bringing in legislation that will update the Labour Code, including successorship rights for building service workers. However, in the interim, the janitors remain vulnerable and desperate for more immediate guarantees. 

As BGIS, BC Hydro, and Alpine each attempt to shake off responsibility for this situation, the janitors are taking their case to the Ministry, with the hope that a new government can intervene to ensure workers’ rights are respected at the public utility.

The Service Employees International Union, Local 2 represents 16,000 workers across Canada including over 10,000 workers in the janitorial sector. The goals of SEIU’s Justice for Janitors campaign is to organize janitors across a city or market, so together, workers can raise standards in the cleaning sector and reverse the race to the bottom.

For more information, please visit www.justiceforjanitors.ca  

Contact: Christine Bro 778-996-4008

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