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Labour Women Leading FALL 2018 ufcw1518.com

Get Your Vote On!

Why voting matters

YES to Pro-Rep Making every vote count

UFCW 1518


October

18 is

EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBERS

Health Care Assistant Day Our care aides & community health workers take care of the most vulnerable British Columbians.

THANK YOU! for the important work you do

Susan Bayly, Save-On-Foods, Victoria Kenneth Bellows, Colonial Farms, Armstrong Connie Buckner, Cowichan Home Support, Duncan Laura Cipolato, Save-On-Foods, North Vancouver Dave Diamond, Save-On-Foods, Kelowna Sherry Earl, Overwaitea, Fernie Nanette Fredericks, Mackenzie Co-op, Mackenzie David Gutierrez, Save-On-Foods, Surrey Christine Holowka, Save-On-Foods, Prince George Danette Lankmayr, Safeway, Vancouver Ronda Melbourne, Save-On-Foods, Vernon Michelle Metcalfe, Shoppers Drug Mart, Coquitlam Robert Milan, Safeway, Kelowna Erin Moore, Safeway, Coquitlam Kari-Anne Neave, Save-On-Foods, Burns Lake Stefan Nielsen, Safeway, Vancouver Matt Rose, Safeway, Cranbrook Wesley Schellenberg, Save-On-Foods, Clearbrook Eleanor Smith, Penticton Home Support, Penticton Kevin Sparkes, Sunrise Poultry, Maple Ridge Kamal Sudha, Safeway, Vancouver Jennifer Vecchio, Nelson Home Support, Nelson Dave Wilson, Dave Wilson Consulting, Burnaby Linda Wilson, Port Alberni Home Support, Port Alberni EDITOR Kate Milberry CONTRIBUTORS Jason Mann Diana Perez PHOTOGRAPHY & DESIGN Diana Perez CONTACT US 350 Columbia Street, New Westminster, BC V3L 1A6 Reception: 604.526.1518 | Fax: 604.540.1520 Toll-Free: 1.800.661.3708 BENEFITS Health & Welfare Trust Safeway Members: 1.888.310.1318 ext 3381 Overwaitea Food Group Members: 1.877.643.7200 Health Care Benefit Trust 1.888.736.2087 Dental Plan 1.888.818.3368 UFCW 1518 Pension 1.888.345.8329 Municipal Pension Plan 1.800.668.6335

is a publication of UFCW 1518 Publications Mail Agreement No. 400064629

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CONTENTS 12 FEATURE

Get Your Vote On! Why you should vote this October

EXECUTIVE MESSAGE A word from the leadership

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President Ivan Limpright

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Secretary-Treasurer Kim Novak

PROFILE NEWS

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VDLC Endorsements

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Bees at Work

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Say YES to Pro-Rep

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The Interview: Kennedy Stewart

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Member Profile: Denise Lodge

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Labour Women Leading

COLUMN

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Bargaining Roundup: What our members won

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The Steward: $15 and Fairness

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A MESSAGE FROM YOUR

EXECUTIVE

Collective bargaining is at the heart of any union.

IVAN LIMPRIGHT President

It’s when we sit across the table from the employer and work to improve the entitlements and lives of our members, trying to carve a little bit more out of the enormous realm of management rights. This year has been one of the busiest years I can remember for contract negotiations at the union office: about 18,000 UFCW 1518 members entered into bargaining with their employer in 2018, including our members at Safeway, Save-on-Foods, and community health and social services. Through the efforts of rank and file members who are elected or appointed to sit on bargaining committees – and staff assigned to negotiations, as well as the support of members in the workplace, we’ve been able to win some significant victories at the bargaining table for our members accross all sectors. Serving on a bargaining committee is a tangible expression of how we care for each other in the labour movement. It often means living in hotel rooms for extended periods and taking weeks away from family. To sit across the table as an equal to someone who has the power to fire you and still stand firm for fairness can be a life changing experience. We do it because our lives – and our contract standards – are interconnected. 4

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I want to thank everyone who has served on a bargaining committee for their dedication and passion for helping others. In bargaining we don’t always get what we want. There is a fine balance between enabling companies we work for to survive and compete, and ensuring members get what they need in an economy that undervalues the important work they do. We are proud of what we have achieved together and are committed to our mission of building a better life for all British Columbians. There are still many unknowns regarding negotiations for the reopener of the collective agreement with Sobeys. This a concern not just for members employed at Safeway and those who work in the retail food sector in BC, but for all UFCW 1518 members. Sobeys has refused to consider our proposals for a fair and reasonable collective agreement or accept the recent standard established in the major food sector in 2018. Recently, Safeway members rejected concessions demanded by the company, in a 99 percent NO vote. We will continue to do all we can to fight for our Safeway members because their struggle is our struggle. All UFCW 1518 members need to stand together in solidarity, now more than ever.


KIM NOVAK Secretary-Treasurer

Educating our members is a fundamental principle of unionism. It ensures they have the tools they need to to stand up for the rights of workers in their workplaces. Knowing your rights under the collective agreement and the protections offered by BC’s Occupational Health and Safety Regulation and Human Rights Code ensure that you are treated fairly at work. When infractions occur, you understand what recourse exists to make things right. That’s why we are continuing to develop our educational offerings, adding new courses this fall for our community health members. These build upon our core courses in steward and OH&S training. Our cover story (p. 18), discusses the importance of education in developing women as workplace leaders. We still don’t have gender parity when it comes to leadership in the labour movement and that’s got to change. We’re doing our part to support our women members on the pathway to leadership, starting with education. Women are also underrepresented in political leadership. One easy way to right the imbalance is to vote in the municipal elections, being held across British Columbia on October 20. You can read about what our members are doing to get out the vote on page. 6. You can also find out how to make your vote, Fa l l 2 01 8

and every vote count through a new electoral system called proportional representation, ending voter apathy and increasing voter influence (p. 16). In The Interview this issue, we talk to Kennedy Stewart, a former NDP MP who is running as an independent candidate for mayor of Vancouver. Not only does Stewart have working class roots, he’s an activist who puts his body on the line for things he and his constituents believe in. You can read more about him (including his arrest during a Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion protest) on page 10. As a union, we support our members as well as many community organizations that are fighting for social change. Learn about how Hives for Humanity, a non-profit organization, uses worker bees to help train and employ atrisk workers (p. 8). With the upcoming municipal elections working people have a golden opportunity to help bring progressive change to local government. I want our members to get active and engaged: volunteer for a campaign, knock on doors or organize a carpool to the polling station on voting day. When we stand united in solidarity, we are powerful. Our actions and our votes matter this October! •

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NEWS

MOBILIZING THE VOTE FOR VICTORY

STEPHEN VON SYCHOWSKI is president of the Vancouver & District Labour Council.

How one labour council is helping progressives work together to win this October

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t’s a familiar story in Canadian elections: several progressive candidates on the ballot split the vote, allowing a lone, pro-corporate candidate with a platform that is harmful to people and the environment to snatch victory.

What's worse, such victories are won with far less than a majority vote. The recent Ontario election is a prime example, with Doug Ford seizing 100 percent of power with only 40 percent of the vote. But it was Vancouver’s 2017 by-election that spurred the Vancouver and District Labour Council (VDLC) to action. “That was a wakeup call. The vast majority of Vancouver voters favoured progressive candidates,” says VDLC president Stephen von Sychowski. But the NonPartisan Association (NPA) succeeded with only 27.5 percent because the vote was divided four ways. According to von Sychowski, the only way to ensure city governance is in good hands is for progressives to work together. That’s why the VDLC, an umbrella organization of almost 100 unions representing 60,000 workers, decided to

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broker agreements with Vancouver’s progressive political parties. The VDLC struck agreements with the Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE), the Green Party of Vancouver, OneCity and Vision Vancouver to limit the number of candidates they each run for city council, school board and park board. The agreements mark an historic moment as the first time there has been broad cooperation among a group of political parties seeking power. The October 20 municipal election is also the first under new provincial restrictions on donations and spending, spelling an end to multi-million dollar campaigns funded by real estate developers and resource extraction corporations. All candidates seeking the VDLC’s endorsement were required to fill out a comprehensive questionnaire. Then, about 75 labour council delegates voted on candidates, selecting those they thought best reflected the values and needs of working people and considering such factors as electability, the records of incumbents and the desire to promote diversity. “We were also looking


We have to ensure that our city moves in an increasingly progressive direction rather than sliding backward.” to endorse a list of candidates that did not give a majority to any party and ensure a range of voices were represented,” von Sychowski explains. The VDLC endorsed a total of nine Vision candidates, five each from One City and COPE, and seven from the Green Party. Breaking from its tradition of endorsing a Vision Vancouver mayoralty nominee, the labour council gave the nod to independent candidate Kennedy Stewart, former MP for Burnaby South. Stewart, who was recently charged for participating in protests against Kinder Morgan’s proposed pipeline

expansion, is running on a platform of equity, affordability and environmental justice. The VDLC will be mobilizing workers and the community in advance of the October 20 election and has hired four organizers, including one UFCW 1518 member, to ensure their members become engaged and get to the polls to vote. “The labour vote is actually quite substantial,” von Sychowski comments. “Our job is to do the educating and organizing necessary to make sure that the full labour vote is present on election day.” He adds: “Municipal elections are tremendously important and this one might be the most important one in awhile. We have to ensure that our city moves in an increasingly progressive direction rather than sliding backward. We have housing and overdose crises that need to be tackled, and progress on the environment, equity, living wage, and many other areas that needs to be made.” And with the labour movement’s help, he says, there’s no limit to what can be accomplished.

Who to Vote for in Vancouver • VANCOUVER MAYOR: Kennedy Stewart (Independent). • VANCOUVER CITY COUNCIL: Christine Boyle (OneCity); Diego Cardona (Vision); Adriane Carr (Green); Heather Deal (Vision); Pete Fry (Green); Derrick O’Keefe (COPE); Tanya Paz (Vision); Jean Swanson (COPE); Wei Qiao Zhang (Vision); and Brandon Yan (OneCity). • VANCOUVER SCHOOL BOARD: Erin Arnold (Vision); Carrie Bercic (OneCity); Janet Fraser (Green); Estrellita Gonzalez (Green); Erica Jaff (OneCity); Aaron Leung (Vision); Barb Parrott (COPE); Jennifer Reddy (OneCity); and Allan Wong (Vision). • VANCOUVER PARK BOARD: Dave Demers (Green); Camil Dumont (Green); Gwen Geisbrecht (COPE); John Irwin (COPE); Stuart MacKinnon (Green); Shamim Shivji (Vision); and Cameron Zubko (Vision). • NORTH VANCOUVER MAYOR: Linda Buchanan (Independant) • NORTH VANCOUVER CITY COUNCIL: Angela Girard (Independant) and Mack McCorkindale (Independant)

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FLO HODGESON, SARAH COMMON & IAN SMYTH are part of the Hives for Humanity team.

NEWS

A lot of stories about this neighbourhood are framed negatively. But there is hope and love here too. And skill.” Four years ago, Flo Hodgeson knew nothing about bees. A chronic alcoholic and addict, she was living on the often brutal streets of the DTES. Today she is a graduate of Hives for Humanity’s beekeeping school and a regular volunteer, doing work she calls meaningful. “Bees are essential to our life cycle because they pollinate and then the flowers germinate. They contribute to the world, the ecosystem, so it all comes full-circle,” Hodgeson explains. She credits H4H for helping her get back on her feet; she recently moved into a new apartment and her health has improved. “Now I’m back to being a productive person, a human being.”

BEES AT WORK Hives for Humanity is creating work & meaning in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside

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ees are some of the hardest working creatures on the planet. In hives with populations ranging from 20,000 to 80,000, worker bees – like working people – make up the 99 percent. They are responsible for keeping their hive and the human world functioning. One third of all food we eat, we owe to pollinators like bees. In Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, led by Hives for Humanity, a community-based non-profit, these little workers are on an additional mission to redefine work and teach purpose in life.

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Bringing humanity back to the Downtown Eastside was precisely what Sarah Common had in mind when she and her mother, a certified beekeeper, founded Hives for Humanity in 2012. The nonprofit organization provides mentorship-based programming that trains at-risk workers in the art and craft of apiculture, or beekeeping, as well making the various products that derive from the hive. It keeps apiaries all over Vancouver, including a therapeutic apiary in the Hastings Folk Garden, and in that way also supports the vulnerable bee population. From her experience as a support worker in the DTES, Common believed that bees had a lot to offer residents, many of whom are plagued with mental health issues, addiction and homelessness. She knew the incredible power of bees to help create meaning and bring healing. “That time spent in nature creates moments when people feel empowered by their actions,” asserts Common. “Often people in this neighborhood have experienced the opposite: that their actions don’t matter. But through this experience people are making meaningful contributions, taking care


A HIVES FOR HUMANITY BEEHIVE at the Hastings Urban Farm.

of bees and plants. The bees are teaching them self-worth and value.” Like our union, Hives for Humanity is about fostering work that has dignity and purpose. Because unemployment is one of the root causes of poverty, H4H helps residents of the Downtown Eastside to develop skills, and pays volunteers an honorarium to value their time. “When I was in high school I never thought of a job working with the bees,” comments Ian Smyth, a former volunteer now on staff. After suffering a disabling injury at work, he found a new start in H4H, where he leads beekeeping workshops and makes the candles and lip balms that are sold to support the organization. “It has had a big impact for me,” continues Smyth, “It made me a guardian of humanity, taking care of bees so that you can have food to eat. That meant something to me because I had a job that meant something. I wasn’t doing work for the sake of work but it made a difference.”

IAN SMYTH found a job with meaning at Hives for Humanity.

Like our members, what residents of the DTES seek is respect and recognition. “A lot of stories about this neighbourhood are framed negatively,” says Common. “But there is hope and love here too. And skill.” And Hives for Humanity is helping bring that narrative to light.

Learn more about Hives for Humanity and their services and products at hivesforhumanity.com.

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PROFILE

AN INTERVIEW WITH:

Kennedy Stewart Independent candidate Kennedy Stewart won the endorsement of the Vancouver and District Labour Council for the October 20 Vancouver mayoral race. Stewart, who is stepping down as federal NDP MP for Burnaby South, is a working class politician with ties to our union. Stewart’s wife, Jeanette Ashe, is a former UFCW 1518 member and shop steward at Safeway (Burquitlam), where she worked for 13 years. We sat down with the aspiring mayor to learn more about his platform and what Vancouver working people can expect of him as a mayor. You have a Masters degree in urban politics and a PhD in world cities. What fascinates you about the city and municipal governance? I grew up in Nova Scotia, in a very rural area – my closest neighbour was a mile away. In the 1980s, a few friends and I decided to come to Vancouver. My grandma gave me $100 and we got a one way ticket. So I went from being a country mouse to living in the city and I couldn’t believe how this place worked and how many people lived here. The one thing I missed, though, was the strong sense of community. And I thought, how can you bring that to the city? How can you bring people together? So that really started it for me. As both a renter and a mayoral candidate, housing affordability is a top priority for you. What’s at the core of Vancouver’s housing crisis today and how will you address it? Cities that work well invest in affordable housing. Seventy percent of housing in Hong Kong has some kind of government involvement. In Sweden and other places there’s a big government investment in affordable housing too. In Canada, it’s only five percent. We don’t invest in cooperative housing and affordable rental housing and that’s what I think is the core problem. The city can use public land to build affordable rental housing that’s run by non-profits. That would go a long way to making sure that workers can afford to live in the city. 10

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As a former MP and now mayoral candidate, you’re a busy guy. What’s your favourite place in Vancouver to relax and unwind? My wife and I, we look at the tide charts. So when the tide is really low we go to Spanish Banks and go for a walk. There’s hardly anybody else there when the tide is low. It’s so beautiful. We try to do that every couple of weeks, even in winter. Take off our shoes and walk around the beach. You’re a vocal opponent of the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion and even got arrested. Why are you fighting the pipeline? When I was elected in 2011 as MP, Kinder Morgan called me and told me about their plan to export bitumen through our city, put it on tankers, ship it out somewhere else, have it refined and sell it back to us. From the beginning I thought it was not a great idea. But I did I talk with the company and asked what’s in it for Burnaby, for Vancouver and for BC. And they really had no answer. We are the ones taking all the risk. If there’s a pipeline rupture, a spill, we are the ones affected by it. So after talking with the company I actually phoned every house in my constituency. I called 4000 households and asked them about the pipeline and whether

they would support it: 75 percent said no. I think consulting with the public is very important and that’s what has driven my opposition. I’ve made a hundred speeches in the House of Commons, I’ve gone on marches, I’ve organized the community. But getting arrested was probably the most extreme thing I could do and it was to support my constituents. The Vancouver & District Labour Council has endorsed your campaign for mayor. Why is this important and what should working people expect from you if elected? Unions are such an important part of our society. Earning their respect is something I value very highly and the VDLC’s endorsement is very important to me. I’ve been fighting for working people in the House of Commons for seven years. I’ve been fighting for better housing and health care and I’ve been defending workers’ rights. I would like to review the current contracting out that’s happening in the city and if we can contract in. We can make sure hiring practices are equitable, across gender and other equity-seeking groups too. Fighting for justice is something working people can expect from me.

Denise Lodge turned tragedy into a life-saving tribute.

MEMBER PROFILE: DENISE LODGE

One evening in 2005, Lodge was watching the news when she heard about a fatal motorcycle accident. Tragically, that motorcyclist was her own son. Corey Lodge, just 21, had gotten a learner’s license the day before the crash that took his life, after passing only a computer test. It was enough for him to legally drive his new high-speed sport bike. Something about that didn’t seem right to Lodge. How could this be legal? “The RCMP told me many people had tried to change the law but nobody ever had enough drive. Since that moment I was convinced. I needed to make a change.” Today, in addition to her shop steward duties at the Kitimat Save-On-Foods, Lodge is the founder and president of CoreySafe (Coalition of Riders Educating Youth). The non-profit delivers presentations to schools on road safety and advocates for systemic change to motorcycle driving training and requirements. Their curriculum has reached over 6,000 students and in 2012, she was also successful in strengthening the motorcycle helmet law. Lodge has plans to expand her safety curriculum to other provinces: “This is the thirteenth year since Corey passed. I cannot Title Title & & Name Name of of Person Person Quoted Quoted change the past but I can change the future.” Fa l l 2 01 8

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E R TU A FE

GET YOUR VOTE ON! Why making your way to the ballot box matters – every time

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atrina Chen loves door knocking. At the doorstep of many Burnaby homes, the former UFCW member has been determined to find answers. “What’s the most pressing issue in your community?” Chen has often asked Burnaby residents. Their answers are many and varied: parks, street lighting, public education, community safety.

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in their communities. And nowhere is that more powerful and possible than in municipal government.

Chatting with her neighbours, Chen hears a common, if unrecognized theme: the importance of local government. It reminds her of why she first became involved in municipal politics, running for school board trustee in 2014 and winning. Chen is now MLA for BurnabyLougheed and the Minister of State for Child Care in the provincial NDP government. But her inspiration for public service remains the same: helping people make positive change

“At the doorstep, I’ve heard people talk about local politics without often realizing it,” Chen comments. “Local government is the closest to the people.” But there’s a disconnect, she adds. Although municipal government is the most accessible to constituents, with the possibility to make a real difference, people are not using it as a change maker.

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“If you look at municipal government voter turnout, it

tends to be low – way lower than provincial and federal elections. And yet they are the ones that can make a real difference in the community," says Chen. Indeed, while the last provincial and federal elections saw a voter turnout in BC of about 60 percent and 70 percent respectively, in the municipal election, only about 40 percent of eligible British Columbian voters exercised their right to vote. On October 20, BC voters will return to the polls to elect new municipal governments accross the province. So what is the role of unionized workers in


have three kids – two are in kindergarten and my third one has special needs,” says Farrell. Through his position on the Bulkley Valley school board, Farrell has been making tangible change not only for his family, but for his community too. “My experience as a school trustee has been very personal in terms of engagement,” comments Farrell. “You’re constantly meeting local people with issues that are important to them.” And because of that, their issues become important to him too.

UFCW 1518 MEMBERS are 22,000 votes strong.

this democratic moment? “Not only do we have the power of organized labour and strength in numbers to affect progressive change, we have an obligation. As union members, we are obliged to cast our vote and participate in the democratic process," asserts President Ivan Limpright. “People don’t show up to vote these days because they’ve stopped believing their vote will make a difference. But when workers show solidarity, our votes do count. As UFCW 1518 members, we are 22,000 votes strong and as unionized workers, we are 500,000 votes stronger in BC. It’s a fact: the labour vote counts.”

CHANGE YOU CAN FEEL Frank Farrell is a UFCW 1518 member who is a well-known figure in his hometown of Smithers, BC. It’s no wonder, after working for 20 years at his community’s Safeway and defending workers’ rights as a shop steward. As a school board trustee, he has also been a voice for families and students in his district for the last decade. Farrell is running for his fourth term as trustee in the upcoming municipal election. His motivation is personal: “I Fa l l 2 01 8

Local government is often considered a training ground for democracy. Political decisionmaking at the municipal level involves more direct participation than provincial or national policymaking and its effects are often immediate. From reporting a missing sign at an intersection to running for office, there is much opportunity for individuals to make a difference through municipal government. Farrell knows this well. After hearing from constituents, the Bulkley Valley School Board lobbied tirelessly for a new elementary school in the area. In 2020, the new school will open its door. “School trustees deserve a lot of credit,” says Judy Darcy, NDP MLA for New Westminster and the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Many of them fought very hard with the previous government on issues relating to special needs kids in classrooms, ESL in classrooms and curriculum that teaches kids the true history of our country, especially around reconciliation. Trustees can make an enormous difference.” While municipal decisions directly affect people and their communities, the importance of city governance goes beyond local matters. Cities have a key role to play in solving BC’s •

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If we can mobilize members to turn to the polls that’s enough to turn an election. We have numbers and they mean something.”

MINISTER KATRINA CHEN is a former UFCW member and School Board Trustee.

pressing issues, affirms Darcy. Affordable housing, for example, is a top priority for the provincial government, but partnership with cities is critical. “Municipalities have the ability to set rules for development and ensure there is affordable rental stock available, that there are enough childcare and community spaces available,” she says. “If municipal government wants to work with the province we can move faster, so that people can afford to live in the city and stop living on the streets.” Local government can have a positive effect on people’s everyday lives, in ways both small and big: from fixing potholes to supporting transgender people through washroom signage. That’s why it is imperative that people vote in this October’s municipal election, says President Limpright. “There’s no other level of government where a vote will have more of an impact than at the local level,” he comments. “Municipal government affects our members on a day-to-day basis. The results of October’s elections will bring change all British Columbians will feel, for better or for worse. If union members vote, it will be for the better.”

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to fullfil their social justice mandate strengthens. Before being elected to provincial government, Judy Darcy was a face of the Canadian labour movement. As the former National President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and Secretary-Business Manager of the Hospital Employees' Union (HEU), she kept hitting walls with a Liberal government in power. That’s what finally motivated her to run for office. “It became clear to me at some point that government holds all the power,” recounts Darcy. “While working at HEU, we kept running into a BC Liberal government that had no respect for health care workers, that had been determined to privatize services and cut collective bargaining rights. I decided to step up in order to fight back.” Now that Darcy and the NDP are in government, workers can feel the difference. The minimum wage has gone up twice and will continue to rise until it reaches $15.20 an hour in 2021. Medical Services Plan premiums have been eliminated and BC’s Labour Relations Code, currently skewed in favour of employers, is being reviewed. In another victory for labour, Premier John Horgan announced the community benefits agreement, a landmark accord for key public-sector infrastructure projects that will prioritize better wages, improved training and apprenticeships, and more trades opportunities for Indigenous people, women and youth across BC.

A VOTE FOR LABOUR

Because municipal governments wield such influence over people's lives too, labour councils are paying close attention to the upcoming elections. They are carefully deciding which candidates to endorse and organizing workers to get out and vote this October. Many cities throughout the province are already bringing positive change to workers as living wage employers, including the City of Vancouver, the largest city in Canada to commit to paying its workers a living wage.

When government is an ally to unions, the influence of the labour movement grows, and unions’ ability

Rosanna Hussain has caught the local government bug. A HeadStart graduate and pharmacy

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technician at Save-On-Foods Central Fill facility, Hussain was hired by the Vancouver and District Labour Council to work as an election organizer. The focus of her role is canvassing, encouraging workers to vote, knocking doors and connecting with people online and in person. She’s excited to help make a difference for workers in the city where she was born. “To know that I’m taking part in this important process in this city is a very incredible feeling for me,” says Hussain. “It is important for our members and our union to be involved in lower levels of government because these candidates will affect us on issues such as education, housing affordability, recreation. It is important to encourage members to vote and I believe unions have the power to do that.” Katrina Chen sees an obvious parallel between the work of unions and local government, as well as a natural alliance. “As union members we believe in working collectively. Municipal government does too,” she asserts. “At the municipal level you are working with your neighbours and your community to make the changes you want to see. As in the workplace, at the local level we can have a lot of influence.”

OUR DEMOCRATIC DUTY Hussain is not the only politically active member keen to make a difference this October. Stefan Nielsen, a Safeway member and HeadStart graduate worked as a vote counter during the last provincial election. Since 2016, Nielsen has also been a UFCW 1518 delegate on the VDLC. As part of that work he sat on the labour council's candidate endorsement committee, which assessed all Vancouver candidates from a labour and social justice perspective, and met with all mayoral candidates for that city.

made into law after taking office last summer. Now that big money is out of local politics and the ability to curry favour through large campaign donations has been eliminated, politics can refocus on people. This is why labour endorsements will have an even greater impact on October 20. “If we can mobilize members to turn to the polls that’s enough to turn an election,” Nielsen says. “The population of a Save-On-Foods in a small town could swing an election. We have numbers and they mean something.” Elections are indeed a numbers game. A strong collective labour vote is all that is needed to change the course of these elections. And unions have the responsibility to use this power wisely. Our duty to our members and the community this October is to cast a vote for fairness. You don’t need to call yourself an activist or political junkie to get informed and make your way to the ballot box. You only need to care. “All across the province there is a tremendous opportunity for change,” asserts President Limpright. “We have the power within our union to help make this change a change for the better.” In this exciting time for municipalities in BC, labour is positioned to lead the change. This October 20, it starts with you at a voting station.

STEFAN NIELSEN was part of the VDLC's candidate endorsement committee.

After two days of democratic debate among delegates, the VDLC released its list of endorsed candidates last July. “Our choices were both strategic and what we felt would be best for the city in terms of policy, treating workers fairly and having progressive ideas about housing,” comments Nielsen. “Decisions that city governments make affect the lives of our members to an incredible degree. So it’s important we choose the right people.” One significant change that will level the playing field between candidates in this year’s municipal election is the ban on corporate and union donations to political campaigns. It was one of the NDP’s election promises that they swiftly Fa l l 2 01 8

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NEWS

A VOTE FOR PRO REP IS A VOTE FOR DEMOCRACY Say YES to proportional representation this fall

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ith low voter turnout for elections at every level of government plaguing modern democracy, many people wonder if they should bother voting at all. Does my vote even count? would-be voters wonder. Voter apathy and elections won with far less than a majority are just two of the reasons the BC NDP are holding a referendum on proportional representation, or “Pro Rep,” this fall. In 2017, the NDP and the Green Party, which now form British Columbia’s minority government, ran on an election platform that promised electoral reform, seeking to eliminate the ability of political parties to get 100 per cent of the power with a minority of votes. According to the government, with Pro Rep, every vote counts; for example, when a party gets 40 per cent of the votes, it gets 40 per cent of the seats. “The idea is that everyone’s vote matters,” explains Executive Assistant Patrick Johnson. “With Pro Rep, people don’t have to worry about strategic voting or wasted votes.” Most of the world’s democracies

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PATRICK JOHNSON, UFCW 1518 Executive Assistant.

already use proportional representation, and time has shown it to produce stable governments that work for people, not corporate agendas or special interests. “It also means a stronger voice for each region of the province, especially in the north and interior,” Johnson adds. “That means higher voter turnout, more youth participation and a more balanced government that better reflects BC’s diversity.” In the current, first-past-the-post system, the candidate with the most votes wins; under proportional representation, voters elect representatives in proportion to the way they voted. “Right now, voter turnout is not high,” says Betty Bi, a steward and food clerk at PriceSmart. “I think proportional representation can be more fair. It can more clearly show what people want, and what party they support.” Bi, a delegate to the Vancouver and District Labour Council, attended the BC NDP’s Forward conference in May, where she learned about Pro Rep. “It’s another way to encourage people to come out to vote and to let them know every vote is important,” adds Bi, noting that she will be encouraging her co-workers to mail in their ballots this November.


The idea is that everyone’s vote matters. With Pro Rep, people don’t have to worry about strategic voting or wasted votes.” There will be two questions on the ballot. Those recommended by Attorney General David Eby after an extensive public consultation are: 1. Which should British Columbia use for elections to the Legislative Assembly? a. The current first-past-the-post voting system b. A proportional representation voting system 2. If British Columbia adopts a proportional representation voting system, which of the following voting systems do you prefer? a. Dual Member Proportional (DMP) b. Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) c. Rural-Urban PR Ballots for the referendum on proportional representation will be mailed in October and must be returned by November 30. Approval to change to Pro Rep requires a 50 percent plus one vote and if passed, the new system would be enacted before the next provincial election in 2021. PREMIER JOHN HORGAN WITH MEMBERS STEFAN NIELSEN, BETTY BI & AARON DU at the 2018 BC NDP Forward Conference.

HOW CAN I VOTE? 1. Make sure you’re registered Make sure your voter information is up to date by contacting Elections BC at: elections.bc.ca/ovr, or 1-800-661-8683 2. Pledge your support Visit bcndp.ca/a-new-vote Share info on social media Encourage friends & family to vote! 3. Mail in your ballot! November 30 is the final day to return ballots

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF PRO REP? • • • • • • • • • • • •

No “wasted” votes No worries about strategic voting Higher voter turnout Lower voter cycnicism More participation by young people Stronger representation for every region of the province A more diverse Legislature More accountable government Less influence by political parties and powerful interests More influence for individuals Less partisan bickering More cooperation between parties to get things done for people

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ROSSDOWN COMMITTEE MEMBERS WITH SECRETARY-TREASURER KIM NOVAK

NEWS

J

asleen Sandu didn’t know much about the union, but she knew unfair treatment in the workplace when she saw it. That’s why she supported UFCW 1518’s organizing drive of Rossdown Farms, her place of employment for 11 years, when it launched last year. “We needed fairness at work, especially around discipline, wages and pay raises. Supervisors needed to be more respectful to the workers.” Sandhu didn’t consider herself a leader either, despite rising in the ranks to become lead hand at the farm-to-plate poultry operation. But evidently her coworkers saw leadership qualities in her, because they chose Sandhu to represent them on the bargaining committee that will negotiate their first collective agreement with Rossdown. “My co-workers elected me to the committee. They told me they trust me and want me to be there so I can know everything and explain it to them,” she says.

LABOUR WOMEN LEADING In bargaining, organizing, workplace activism and more!

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Along with Sukhinder Selchon and Manjinder Brar, Sandhu serves on the all-women bargaining committee. She is learning a lot and enjoying her new role as workplace leader. “It’s inspiring to see our members stepping into leadership roles in the workplace, whether as steward, health and safety representative or bargaining committee members,” explains Secretary-Treasurer Kim Novak. “In particular we need to train and support the women in our membership, to ensure they’re represented as workplace leaders in equal numbers.”


Although women make up more than half of the Canadian population, they continue to be underrepresented in political and professional leadership positions. Within the labour movement, women have been historically active and involved participants. Indeed, it was the 1888 Match Women’s strike in England that sparked the modern labour movement. And then there was the Service Office and Retail Workers Union of Canada (SORWUC), a tiny, explicitly feminist union that was founded in BC and was the first to organize the big banks, doing what no male-run union had been able to do. But today, the number of women labour leaders in British Columbia is far outstripped by their male counterparts. “That’s why we’ve committed to increasing the amount of union education we offer. We have remarkable leadership in the many workplaces we represent, and this strong committee of women from Rossdown is no exception,” comments Secretary-Treasurer Novak. “Our commitment to education is to continue to develop, support and inspire this natural leadership we see in the advocacy work our stewards and bargaining committees.” Last summer, UFCW 1518 hosted a three-day workshop on behalf of UFCW Canada called Women in Organizing. “The idea was to identify our women activists and give them the support and training they need to become union organizers. That’s an important leadership role that requires a certain amount of skill, and we need more women taking it on.”

I don’t want women to just have a seat at the table. I want us to have true equity. That’s the only way our union will truly develop and thrive.” This fall, UFCW 1518 is offering a range of courses to support stewards and health and safety committee members working in community health and social services. “We launched some of these courses last year. Now we’re refining and customizing them for our community health members, because they have unique needs and issues that require attention.” The numbers don’t lie. Only 27 percent of seats in the House of Commons belong to women. Just 8.5 percent of the highest paid positions in Canada’s top 100 companies are held by women. “I don’t want women to just have a seat at the table. I want us to have true equity. That’s the only way our union will truly develop and thrive.” WOMEN IN ORGANIZING PARTICIPANTS WITH MINISTER JUDY DARCY at the UFCW 1518 office.

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BARGAINING ROUNDUP What our members won in negotiations

SAVE-ON-FOODS MEMBER casting her ballot at the ratification vote for her new collective agreement.

SAVE-ON-FOODS

RATIFIED

Members at Save-On-Foods voted to ratify a collective agreement for the 2018 reopener with Overwaitea Food Group in June. UFCW 1518 represents about 11,000 workers at over 100 Save-On-Foods stores across British Columbia. “This agreement represents an important win for our members in the retail food industry,” explains President Limpright. “I commend the work of our bargaining committee and the improvements they were able to achieve for our members in a challenging round of negotiations.” Bargaining commenced in February and lasted more than four months. Prior to that, UFCW 1518 engaged in a comprehensive digital outreach campaign, gathering more than 8000 proposals, concepts and solutions from members. These were presented to stewards and activists at the #MembersFirst bargaining conference held in November 2017. Conference participants took part in focus groups and voted on recommendations, which were then submitted to the bargaining committee to formulate into final proposals. The renegotiated agreement contains number of important victories as well as historic firsts for the retail food industry, including paid domestic violence leave. “I am proud of this agreement,” says Secretary-Treasurer Kim Novak. “I want to thank all of the members who submitted proposals, attended the bargaining conference and came out to vote. Without their input and participation, we would have not have this deal.” Secretary-Treasurer Novak added: “I especially want to thank our bargaining committee for their selfless and tireless commitment to getting the best agreement possible for our members.” 20

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COMMUNITY HEALTH

RATIFIED

Members of the bargaining associations representing UFCW 1518 members working in community health and social services voted to ratify new collective agreements this summer. This was the first round of public sector bargaining since the provincial NDP government came into power in 2017. The Community Bargaining Association (CBA), which represents about 16,000 employees working in community health throughout the province, reached a three-year agreement with the Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC) in June. The deal saw gains in a number of areas, including a two percent wage increase in each year and a low wage redress clause. There are now stronger protections against contracting out as well as funding for education, health and safety, violence prevention and the Early Disability Management Program. Significantly, the deal introduced three paid days of domestic violence leave. The three-year deal between Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA) and the Community Social Services Employers Association (CSSEA) was ratified in August. The CSSBA is composed of 10 unions, including UFCW 1518, and represents about 15,000 workers in the community social services sector in BC. The agreement features a two percent wage hike in each year and provides significant compensation increases in terms of low-wage redress for all members. Other highlights include improvements to occupational health and safety, including a Provincial Occupational Health and Safety Council, and the restoration of statutory holiday pay for part-time and casual employees. Additionally, the agreement contains an improved process to assist the parties in better labour relations, enhancements to health and welfare benefit plans to start closing the gap within the sector, the renewal of the labour adjustment education fund, and funding for health and safety and violence prevention training. Both agreements meet the NDP government's mandate of improving the services that vulnerable British Columbians and their families rely upon.

SAFEWAY

99% NO VOTE

In August, Safeway members voted overwhelmingly to reject the recommendations made by Special Officer Vince Ready in the ongoing dispute with Sobeys. President Ivan Limpright appealed to the government to intervene after negotiations for the reopener of the collective agreement stalled last March. Despite a concerted effort by the union bargaining committee to meaningfully negotiate, Sobeys refused to move off their demands for concessions. Minister of Labour Harry Bains appointed a Special Officer under Section 106 of the BC Labour Relations Code to help mediate the dispute. After meeting with the parties and receiving hundreds of pages of written submissions, the Special Officer issued his recommendations, which called for 40 stores to be put under Quarterly Review, the adjournment of the reopener until an undetermined future date and the opening of negotiations for a collective agreement for FreshCo, Sobeys’ discount banner. These recommendations were so alarming that the union held a province-wide vote to allow members to express their view. With a 99 percent NO vote, the bargaining committee now has a clear mandate: the Special Officer’s recommendations are unacceptable. “We remain open to negotiating a fair and reasonable collective agreement with strong job security language,” says President Limpright.

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THE

STEWARD

THE FIGHT FOR $15 AND FAIRNESS Our union has always believed that work should lift you out of poverty. Following 16 years of a BC Liberal government, workers were left behind, with meagre increases to the minimum wage that did not keep up with inflation. We believe it’s important to fight for fair wages not just at the bargaining table, but through political action and community campaigns that support all working people. That’s why we participated in the Fight for $15 campaign along with many other unions in British Columbia. And we won! We are very excited and proud that our President, Ivan Limpright, was selected as the labour representative on the province’s Fair Wages Commission, where he continues to convey the concerns of workers. Since taking power in 2017, the BC NDP have raised the minimum wage twice and the Fair Wages Commission recommended it be raised three more times over the next three years, when it will reach $15.20 an hour. We finally have a progressive government that understands the fact that working people need to make a decent living in order to enjoy quality of life that everyone deserves and foster a productive economy. The necessary increases to the minimum wage will boost not only the wages of many UFCW 1518 members, but of half a million

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British Columbian Workers who earn less than $15.20 an hour. But these increases will benefit more than just the people earning minimum wage. A higher minimum wage: •

puts more money into customers pockets so they can shop in the stores where our members work and buy the products our members make;

ensures that our employers who pay living wages do not have to compete with employers who do not; and

gives us more power at the bargaining table where we can leverage increases to the minimum wage to benefit all members. In particular, we have been bargaining a “minimum wage spread” into our collective agreements, which ensures that when the minimum wage rises, there will be a automatic corresponding bump in all wages across the wage grid.

We are proud of what we continue to achieve by working together and fighting to improve the lives of our members and all British Columbians.


U F C W 1 5 1 8 ’s 2 3 r d A n n u a l

Children’s

Holiday Party Entertainment, refreshments & gifts for good girls & boys!

MONDAY, DECEMBER 3 Burnaby Village Museum 6450 Deer Lake Ave, Burnaby

FREE

ADMISSION

For UFCW members & families Registration opens Nov 1 For mo re infoFa vis u• fcw 15 181.co s l l 2 01it: 8 UF CW 5 1 8 m/event U P DAT E

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Upgraded FREE Online Learning! For members & their families webCampusPLUS now supports ALL tablets, smartphones, laptops and desktops Take courses anytime • New courses added regularly For more information visit:

ufcw.ca/webcampus

UPDATE is a publication of UFCW 1518 Publications mail Agreement No. 40064629

UFCW 1518 Update Fall 2018  
UFCW 1518 Update Fall 2018