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UFCW 1518

Labour Code Reform Changes bring fairness

Lobby Day Members go to the BC Legislature

SUMMER 2019 ufcw1518.com

Working Class Politics Gearing up for October's federal election


EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBERS

March with us in Pride parades across BC & show your Union Pride! Find out where we are marching: ufcw1518.com/events

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 Peter Dombrowski, Safeway, Chilliwack Sherry Earl, Overwaitea, Fernie Virgilio Encarnacion, Sofina Foods, Port Coquitlam 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, Vancouver Kari-Anne Neave, Save-On-Foods, Burns Lake Stefan Nielsen, Safeway, Vancouver Matt Rose, Safeway, Cranbrook Lazina Sahib, Save-On-Foods, Vancouver Wesley Schellenberg, Save-On-Foods, Abbotsford Eleanor Smith, Penticton Home Support, Penticton Kevin Sparkes, Sunrise Poultry, Maple Ridge Jennifer Vecchio, Nelson Home Support, Nelson Dave Wilson, WE Insurance, 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 St., New Westminster, BC V3L 1A6 Reception: 604.526.1518 | Fax: 604.540.1520 Toll-Free: 1.800.661.3708 BENEFITS Extended Health Plan Safeway Members: 1.800.295.3348 Overwaitea Food Group Members: 1.877.643.7200 Community Health Members: 1.888.275.4672 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


CONTENTS FEATURE

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Working Class Politics Politics & the labour movement

EXECUTIVE MESSAGE A word from your leaders

NEWS

10 COLUMN

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Let's Get All On Board!

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Labour Code Review

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Retail Action Network

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Lobby Day 2019

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Period Promise

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Bargaining Roundup: What our members won

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The Steward: Mistakes & Discipline

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President Kim Novak

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Secretary-Treasurer Patrick Johnson

PROFILE

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Member Profile: Laurie Simon

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The Interview: Jagmeet Singh

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A MESSAGE FROM YOUR

EXECUTIVE

Members are the heart of this union.

KIM NOVAK President

As we approach the halfway point of 2019, I am very proud of the high level engagement and activism we are seeing from members in all sectors of our union. Secretary-Treasurer Patrick Johnson and I have been focused on meeting members in the communities where they live and work. This has been incredibly valuable as it has highlighted the common experiences of members across the province and Yukon, as well as the unique challenges and advantages that cannot be ignored. We have also gained insight into the nature of the work our members do by touring plants, visiting retail units and meeting with our community home support and social services members. The diversity of the work our members do in the various sectors UFCW 1518 represents is impressive! And it is something we want to promote widely so that we are supporting our members by shopping in unionized retail units, utilizing community home support for loved ones, purchasing unionmade products from one of our meat processing plants and calling on the talented individuals in our professional division. And we are growing! In the last few months, more than 200 members joined our union when workers at Mountain Equipment Co-Op (MEC) Vancouver and River's Reach Pub in New

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Westminster organized their workplaces. Members in these units voted overwhelmingly in favour of joining UFCW 1518 and it is the strength of the activists in those units who fought for fairness in their workplaces that made it all happen. Our stewards and activists are the backbone of our union, which is why we have prioritized steward appreciation and training in 2019. We have hosted Steward Appreciation Days for all regions outside of the lower mainland and we look forward to hosting more within the Lower Mainland this fall. It is the advocacy and hard work of our stewards that makes our union strong. Supported by our union representatives and administrative team, stewards provide the first level of representation for our members and ensure that we hold the employer to account. By advancing workers’ rights we are building power in the workplace, in our union and in the broader labour movement. That’s why education is so important! So far this year, we have held steward courses across the province and look forward to launching our fall education program, which has been developed with feedback from you. Please keep an eye on your inbox for more information coming soon!


PATRICK JOHNSON Secretary-Treasurer

Political and community engagement are key to union activism. We have been visiting the communities where our members live and work, and have learned about the different challenges you face. No matter the workplace or community, it’s clear that politics matter! One challenge that may impact many of our members is franchising. We have been pushing the government to reform the BC Labour Relations Code, the set of labour laws that governs the relationship between unionized workers and the employer. We submitted our proposed changes to the Labour Code Review Panel earlier this year— learn more about the labour code reforms introduced by the BC NDP on page 7. While some positive changes were made, not all of our proposals were accepted. So we traveled to Victoria in May to lobby the goverment on the need to protect workers from franchising by more strictly applying common employer language. Twenty members, along with leadership and staff met with ministers and MLAs (30 in total!) to educate them on the potential impact to UFCW 1518 members. Read more about it, including our one-onone meeting with Premier John Horgan, on page 16. Our feature story (p. 12) explores the need for political action in gaining improvements for workers and S u mme r 2 01 9

why the labour movement must elect progressive governments. Workers have a chance to do just that on October 21, the next federal election, and UFCW 1518 will be working toward that goal. Don’t miss our interview with Jagmeet Singh, leader of the federal NDP, who talks about the importance of love and solidarity in the age of right wing populism (p. 10). As always, our union continues to support initiatives that make life better for our members and their communities. Find out about the All On Board campaign to make transit more affordable for workers (p. 6). We also participated in this year’s Period Promise campaign to end period poverty and the stigma around menstruation. Our stewards collected donations at more than two dozen units across the province, gathering about 1500 menstrual products —more than two truckloads worth! Because of the leadership shown by our stewards, we won the United Way of the Lower Mainland’s Labour Spirit Award —check it out on page 19! The Retail Action Network continues to do great work in supporting non-unionized workers and building a foundation for unionization in precarious worksites. Read about their new Solidarity Steward program and more (p. 8). And as always, I hope you enjoy this issue! •

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FRANCO CARUSO is a Safeway member who takes transit almost every day.

NEWS

LET'S GET ALL ON BOARD! UFCW 1518 supports affordable transit for all

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hen the skyrocketing cost of living in the Lower Mainland defeated Franco Caruso’s dream of owning a car, the young Safeway member chose transit instead. His parents decided to live near a SkyTrain station for the same cost-efficient reasons. The savings the Caruso family is able to make through their conscious choices, however, are still not enough. “People can’t afford to pay $5 to $10 every day for just coming and going places,” asserts Caruso. “There are a lot of students and seniors who take transit, so tickets should have a more reasonable cost.” Even when choosing to live frugally, he says, "it’s hard to get ahead." Complaints about the high cost of transit in British Columbia are not uncommon. Many municipalities in North America and around the world offer affordability measures to ensure everyone can access the essential service, but BC lags behind. As a result, those who need public transit the most cannot afford it, making things like getting to work, accessing health care or child care, and engaging in leisure activities more difficult—if not impossible. That’s why UFCW 1518’s Executive Board endorsed All On Board, a campaign to make transit fares more affordable. “Whether you are a millionaire or a minimum wage worker, we pay the same for transit. That is not a fair system,” comments

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For people who are the working poor, transit is an essential service to access work and get out of poverty.” Viveca Ellis, an organizer with All On Board. The grassroots campaign is advocating for an incomebased monthly pass and free transit for all children and youth, as well as changes to the current fare evasion system. “We have talked to people who are just trying to make ends meet. To make it to their day job, they have to jump on the SkyTrain, and then they get ticketed. But how are they supposed to pay a fine if they can’t afford a ticket?” Ellis continues. “For people who are the working poor, transit is an essential service to access work and get out of poverty. We want to make sure all workers can access transit fairly.” All On Board has received endorsements from various municipalities and labour organizations, including Vancouver City Council and the Vancouver and District Labour Council. Milaine Berard, a shop steward at SaveOn-Foods in Tillicum, supports the campaign because she understands the need for affordable public transit. “To be able to afford a bus pass to get to work every day is such a basic thing that would relieve stress for a lot of people,” she asserts. “A sliding scale for someone like me who makes minimum wage and has three children would be very beneficial.” Last March, after months of public consultations, the BC NDP released the province’s first ever Poverty Reduction Strategy, naming affordable public transit as a key action area. With provincial and municipal support, the campaign for a truly public transit system is gathering steam. “Fairness means equal opportunities for all,” asserts President Kim Novak. “Mobility is a basic human right and a more equitable transit system will ensure that everyone, including our society’s most vulnerable, can get to where they need to go. That’s something we are proud to stand behind.” GET INVOLVED! The All On Board Working Group is open to everyone and is currently looking for more working-class representatives! If you are interested in joining, email viveca@bcpovertyreduction.ca. Learn more about the campaign at: www.allonboard.ca


NEWS

LABOUR CODE REFORM New changes increase protection for workers

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hanges to the BC Labour Relations Code announced by the NDP in April will increase protections for workers for the first time in almost 30 years. The move comes after Labour Minister Harry Bains appointed a three-member panel to review the Code and conduct province-wide public consultations last year. Established in 1973, the Labour Relations Code regulates the relationship between organized labour and employers, including how workers join unions and how collective bargaining disputes are resolved. It had not undergone substantive public review since 1992. Then, in 2003 the governing Liberals gutted the Code, altering it to favour employers and business interests. But a trio of legal decisions in the intervening years confirmed the rights of workers to associate, bargain in good faith and withdraw their labour. “Not only was the Labour Relations Code unfair to workers, it didn’t keep pace with legal changes, which meant it infringed upon workers’ rights guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” says President Kim Novak. “These changes are long overdue and are definitely a step in the right direction to bring fairness and balance back to labour relations in British Columbia.” Over the past year, labour activists, leaders and organizations lobbied for changes to the outdated Code. The BC Federation of Labour, an umbrella organization representing 500,000 unionized workers, launched a social media campaign called “Workers Deserve Better” to highlight the personal stories of people negatively impacted by broken and unfair labour laws. In its 11-page submission, UFCW 1518 advocated for a number of changes, including reducing the maximum time allowed for the vote to join a union. The panel agreed, and among its 29 recommendations was one to shorten the time between an application for union certification and an employee vote. “Our organizers continually witness employer intimidation of workers during union drives,” President Novak explains. “This will limit the amount of time employers have to discourage workers from exercising their legal S u mme r 2 01 9

MINISTER OF LABOUR HARRY BAINS announced changes to the BC Labour Relations Code this April.

right to unionize.” The panel recommended that the Labour Relations Board be given broader discretion to impose union certification when an employer is found to have unduly interfered with the certification process. “We also asked that the Code be strengthened to ensure that workers in franchised businesses are better protected,” comments Secretary-Treasurer Patrick Johnson. “In the past three decades, we’ve seen the growth of franchising, which allows previously common employers to be separated into individual bargaining units. This divide and conquer approach made it easy to attack workers’ wages and benefits at the bargaining table.” That recommendation was not accepted by the review panel, but Secretary-Treasurer Johnson said the union will continue to lobby the government. “This is a necessary change that impacts workers across the retail and hospitality industries. We need to make the government understand the harm that franchising causes to workers and to family-supporting jobs.” •

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HEIDI PRIDY, ERIC NORDAL & STEPHEN PORTMAN help exploited workers unionize.

NEWS

ADVOCACY FOR THE NON-UNIONIZED Retail Action Network brings workplace justice to the masses

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tolen wages. Bad bosses. Sexualized violence. These are just some of the issues that non-unionized workers deal with every day. But without a union backing them, they have no one to turn to for support, advice or assistance.

That’s where Retail Action Network comes in. Founded in 2015 with support from UFWC 1518, RAN is a network of labour activists that fights for workplace justice, increased wages and better conditions for workers in the retail and hospitality industries. Through various campaigns and programs, the non-profit organization helps workers facing exploitation and oppression in the workplace. For those ready to pursue a long term solution, RAN has one word of advice: unionize. "Workers understand the chronic and ongoing nature of the problems they are experiencing. The crummy pay. The lack of

By building relationships with workers, it doesn’t matter if they change workplaces. They may not be ready to unionize now at their current job, but in a year from now, at their next employer, they just might be.” 8

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respect. The illegality in the case of stolen wages, " says Eric Nordal, project coordinator for RAN. "Once we connect with them directly and start talking about how to address their problems in a sustainable way, we can have the conversation about joining the union." In its short history, Retail Action Network has already won important victories. It has helped put tens of thousands of dollars in stolen wages back into the pockets of workers. It was instrumental in getting action on the discriminatory liquor server minimum wage. And in April, RAN's advocacy to end employer theft of tips helped reform the Employment Standards Act to make that practice illegal. "The nature of work has shifted," says Nordal. "It’s more temporary and precarious. People hold multiple jobs, and they may change jobs frequently. So the way we organize non-unionized workers has changed too." Instead of running traditional union drives focused on particular workplaces, RAN is building networks accross communities. "Organizing by sector versus single shop puts


RAN on the frontier of new forms of labour organizing," he explains. "By building relationships with workers, it doesn’t matter if they change workplaces. They may not be ready to unionize now at their current job, but in a year from now, at their next employer, they just might be." In addition to capacity and community building, RAN runs campaigns that catch the imagination of workers and the attention of employers. Grade My Boss is an online survey that asks people to rank their employer based on objective criteria such as wages, respectful scheduling and safe working conditions. "It’s a great tool for supporting workers in need, for example discovering if an employer is breaking the law, " Nordal comments. "And it helps us identify organizing leads." Grade My Boss also helps consumers put pressure on bad bosses. Through an app that will be released later this year, people can search for cafés, pubs and restaurants that have top marks while avoiding those with failing grades.

The Solidarity Steward program is another initiative of Retail Action Network. Launched in 2019, it is a hotline that provides a single point of contact for non-unionized workers being exploited by their employer. "Workers who call the Solidarity Steward can receive help identifying their issue. Are they owed wages through Employment Standards? Is it a human rights complaint or a privacy complaint?" Nordal explains. Union members can turn to their steward for help with workplace problems and file a grievance if their rights are violated, he continues. "But nonunionized workers have no one. Solidarity Steward offers that support to workers, and then we can talk to them about joining a union." Currently based in Victoria, Retail Action Network is looking to expand its reach and support to workers across the province. If you want to see a RAN local pop up in your region, contact your union representative!

Laurie Simon has been fighting for the rights of Indigenous people, tenants and workers since 1999.

MEMBER PROFILE: LAURIE SIMON

As a building manager at the Vancouver Native Housing Society, she looks after Indigenous renters but she also does the same for staff. For almost a decade, Simon has been a shop steward in her unit and a member of VNHS’s bargaining committee. Recently, she discovered a way to marry her union activism and her Indigenous rights advocacy by joining UFCW Canada’s Indigenous Subcommittee. The subcommittee brings together UFCW activists from locals across the country to honour Indigenous Peoples Day, which takes place each year in June. “We share a lot of history, so I really appreciated coming together with Indigenous people from across Canada and being part of it.” The annual event is organized by UFCW Canada's Human Rights, Equity, and Diversity Committee to engage Indigenous members and create dialogue around reconciliation in the workplace. “My walk isn’t necessarily the same as other union members. Being an Indigenous person, there is a difference,” Simon comments. “But I see a lot of support in this union for reconciliation, even in the small things they do to acknowledge Indigenous people. There are a lot of good things that come from bringing the union and Indigenous people together.” S u mme r 2 01 9

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PROFILE

AN INTERVIEW WITH:

Jagmeet Singh Jagmeet Singh is a lawyer and human rights advocate who began his fight for fairness in a Windsor, Ontario schoolyard, where he was bullied for having brown skin. In 2017, he was elected leader of the federal New Democratic Party by a majority in the first round of voting and is the first person of colour to serve as leader of any federal political party in Canada. He also serves as the Member of Parliament for Burnaby South. He believes that love, courage and compassion have a place in modern politics, and wants you to know his name is pronounced JugMEET. On more than one occasion, you have talked about love. This is not something you usually hear politicians speak about! What is the role of love in modern Canadian politics? It’s something people are a little uncomfortable discussing, but love is the foundation of fairness and justice. It is the foundation of what we do to make a better world. We care about our family, so we think about making life better for our family. We care about people around us in our neighbourhood and city. Our love for our shared humanity is what drives us to fight unfairness and inequality, to build more affordable housing, to make sure services are available when we need them. We love the planet. It is our home; so we care about fighting climate change and protecting the air, water and land. Love is the foundation for all the work we do. People are more comfortable with anger. But we also get angry at injustice—when someone you love is being hurt or being denied something they need. And that anger comes from love; it is fueled by our desire for fairness and social justice, based in compassion for one another. As with the rest of the world, we are witnessing the rise of populist, right wing politics in Canada. What is it like being a racialized leader of a federal political party in this context? Why is this trend dangerous and what can we do to stop it? 10

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When we break down these false barriers between us, we allow people to imagine their full potential and to dream. That’s how we build a better world.” I can understand a little bit more the impact of right wing populism on Canadians because I know what it’s like to be singled out, to be excluded and feel like you don’t belong because of who you are. I can understand when new Canadians feel that way, or people marginalized by economic status or gender or sexuality—because I face it myself. It is scary because with this type of populism on the rise, divisive politics are more prevalent and this pits people against each other who are actually very much in same boat. This hurts people who could be helping each other out. People are frustrated, afraid and hurt because they don’t have the basic necessities to make ends meet. Half of Canadians are a couple hundred dollars away from insolvency; they are on the brink of financial disaster. Populist politics lays these problems at the feet of new Canadians or refugees or immigration policy. But we need to place the blame where it belongs—on decision-makers in Ottawa and a system that is rigged. We need an economy that is inclusive and that provides all people with what they need to live well. We need to propose solutions that lift each other up and put the blame on bad policies and the politicians who made them. Why is Canada ready for an NDP government? How will your party spark the interest and imagination of working people? I think Canadians are absolutely ready for us! They have had enough of governments in Ottawa consistently putting the powerful and wealthy ahead of everyday families and making policies that benefit the few at the cost of many. People have had it with the rigged system where billionaires and the wealthy have tax havens and loopholes, who don’t pay their fair share and continue to get ahead while working people are struggling. We will fight back against that unfair system. We will make it easier to join a union, easier to organize and

fight for fair wages. One of the biggest threats to Canadians is climate change. New Democrats will fight climate change but never leave any worker behind. Uniquely, the NDP’s plan to defend our environment is a jobs creation plan. We will put thousands of people to work to make sure our water, air and land are clean and healthy, so they can live a good life. We will make better decisions so we can tackle people’s frustration and fear and make sure it can’t be used to divide us. We will inspire and galvanize people so we can build a better future. You’ve spoken about what it would have been like if, as a boy, you had seen someone like you in a powerful leadership position. Why is diversity essential and what role does it play in counteracting hate and intolerance? Hatred and intolerance come from a fear of the unknown. The more we expose people to difference, the more we get to know each other, the more we tear down lack of awareness and lack of knowledge. We build understanding and that’s when you start to build compassion. Then you have true inclusivity, everyone feels welcome and involved. We have so much to gain from people who come from different places and speak different languages. It is in all of our interest to fight the rigged system and ensure that working people can get ahead. When we see that we are all in this together, we can start to work toward solutions together. When we break down these false barriers between us, we allow people to imagine their full potential and to dream. That’s how we build a better world not encumbered by barriers and limitations, where we can all live freely and fully. You have been a social justice advocate since you were a boy and stood up to schoolyard bullies. Why is it important for Canadians to be politically engaged and how can we use the political system to fight for fairness? I remember facing one problem at a time and one person at a time and feeling that wasn’t a sustainable solution. When we get involved, we can come up with solutions that help everyone around us. We are powerful when we come together, and we make better decisions. My mum always says to me we are all connected: if we see other people suffering, we are all suffering. That’s the basis for why I care; I really believe we are all connected. Getting involved in politics, coming together to collectively solve problems—that’s a noble thing. Title & Name of Person Quoted

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E R TU A FE

WORKING CLASS POLITICS Political action is at the heart of labour struggles

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he history of the labour movement is the history of working class struggle. It is a David and Goliath battle that is structurally skewed in favour of big business and corporate bosses, with laws underpinning an economic system that extracts profit from workers at all costs. Plant closures, stolen pensions and back-to-work legislation are all too common injustices foisted on workers by immoral companies and their political allies. Jagmeet Singh, leader of the federal New Democratic Party and MP for Burnaby South, calls it a "rigged system" that "consistently puts the powerful and wealthy above working families, making policies that benefit the few at the cost of many." Postal workers got a bitter taste of that system last year after months of fruitless negotiations. The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) was fighting for fair compensation, job security, gender equity and safer working conditions but Canada Post, a

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crown corporation, had other ideas. So workers walked off the job, holding rotating strikes across the country. Their rallying cry echoed from coast to coast: "Canada Post for public, not profit." UFCW 1518 members and leadership joined other unions at a rally held in support of the striking posties last fall. It was an empowering moment for the labour movement. But it didn’t last long: only a month after strikes began, the federal Liberal government legislated CUPW members back to work, undermining the rights of 50,000 unionized workers to strike and to bargain collectively. On November 27, postal workers Summe r 2 01 9

were forced back on the job, their bargaining power weakened and their contract unchanged. Only the labour movement stands between penny pinching employers and individual workers, a collective force fighting to balance an inherently inequitable relationship. But the real power lies in Ottawa and federal politics and it is the task of unions to push for political action that benefits working people. “The Liberal government intervening in the bargaining process put postal workers in an untenable situation, so they couldn’t negotiate a fair collective agreement,” asserts Jenny Kwan, NDP Member of Parliament for Vancouver-East.


SHARED VALUES Problems faced by working people are complex and multifaceted and so too must be their solutions. “We can address poverty by fighting for higher wages at the bargaining table, but unions cannot eradicate poverty experienced at a societal level," explains President Kim Novak. “We rely on the government to set the basic standard of fairness, like a living wage, equitable labour laws, affordable housing, and safe, accesible child care.” That’s why political action is so critical, says Secretary-Treasurer Johnson. “We bargain hard for our members at the table and we also take on the bigger political fights. That’s where we can make a substantive difference, with legislative changes and labour code reform that have a broad social impact. We work to elect politicians that value working people and then we lobby them so they understand our issues.” PRESIDENT KIM NOVAK AND MEMBERS supported postal workers during their strike last fall.

“We stood up for workers and the right of collective bargaining.” Kwan was among the majority of NDP MPs who walked out of the House of Commons in protest after voting against the Liberals’ back-to-work legislation. Joining them was Jagmeet Singh. It was a show of solidarity, Singh told the press: “We want to send a message that forcing people back to work who are fighting for something as simple as pay equity and the right to have a safe workplace is wrong.” Both Conservative and Liberal governments have a track record of using legislation to undermine and weaken workers’ rights. "Decisions taken at the federal level like those regarding

strikes, pension security and PharmaCare impact all workers," asserts Secretary-Treasurer Patrick Johnson. “That’s why it is so crucial to have a government on our side.“ So far, Canada has not seen a worker-friendly government rise to power federally. That could change on October 21, when Canadians head to the polls to elect new federal leadership. "We have an opportunity to change the narrative this fall," Johnson says. “But we need to vote in our own interest. And that does not lie with political parties who favour corporate interests and the wealthy elite. It lies with the only political party that supports working families and that is the NDP.” S u mme r 2 01 9

Labour unions realized early on the importance of having a voice in government when the first democratic-socialist government in North America was elected in 1944 in Saskatchewan. Led by Tommy Douglas, the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation was a coalition of labour, farmer and socialist interests. It was founded on the radical principle of regulating the economy in order to fulfill human needs rather than to create profit for corporations. The CCF pioneered many social programs but its most significant innovation was universal public health care, which all Canadians continue to benefit from today. Today's New Democratic Party has its roots in labour, born in 1961 of a coalition of the CCF and the Canadian Labour Congress

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Things are changing for the better for workers in this province and it is our intention to help take that progress to Ottawa this October.” LABOUR POLITICS

VANCOUVER-EAST MP JENNY KWAN stood up for workers in Parliament.

that solidified the alliance between organized labour and the progressive political left. Like most labour organizations in this country, UFCW Canada is an affiliate, which means the union supports NDP candidates through volunteering and campaigning. At the NDP’s founding convention, union delegates drafted policies that reflected the new party’s commitment to social and economic justice. It was then that UFCW member Huguette Plamandon nominated Douglas to lead the NDP. “There is shared history with the NDP because we share values. The reason unions support the NDP is because it is the party of working people,” says Secretary-Treasurer Johnson. “After 16 years of Liberal rule, the BC NDP stepped into power to tip the scales in favour of workers and to establish a kinder, more caring province. Now, just two years later, things are noticeably better, not only for workers but for seniors, for families, for those with disabilities. It’s our intention to take that progress to Ottawa this October.” Since being elected to office in 2017, the BC NDP have brought in a flurry of progressive changes: they raised the minimum wage, established a poverty reduction plan, piloted universal child care and reformed the BC Labour Relations Code to provide greater job security and make it easier for workers to join a union. 14

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Nelda Navarro, a member who works at PriceSmart Foods, wasn’t always involved in politics. But in 2001, she learned that the personal is political after the reigning BC Liberals laid off 10,000 health care workers—most of them women. A former care aide, Navarro heard horror stories about the aftermath of the mass layoffs from her former colleagues. “I heard my co-workers complain and I pitied them. Their hours were really cut by the Liberals, and it was hard for them to live.” Quality of care for the province's most vulnerable also declined. In 2018, the BC NDP repealed the legislation responsible for the layoffs, lower wages and increased precarity among health care workers. Provincial and federal governments may seem far away, and often the decisions made by politicians appear out of reach. But their impact can be personal and immediate, which is why union members must be politically active and support progressive candidates who will stand up for workers, says President Novak. “Unions engage in political action because the decisions made by elected officials affect workers and their families in all aspects of life. Achieving a better life for our members involves more than just negotiating strong collective agreements," she explains. “It also requires engaging in the political process and electing leaders who will stand up for workers." UFCW Canada's Political Action Committee provides election and lobbying training for members to advocate for workers issues at every level of government. Locally, UFCW 1518 hosts an annual Lobby Day in Victoria, where members and leadership meet directly with politicians. “When our members are politically engaged, they have a voice," says Secretary-Treasurer Johnson. "They can help politicians make informed decisions on things that are important to working people, like health care, housing and workplace rights.“


In May, members, leadership and staff traveled to Victoria for UFCW 1518's second annual Lobby Day. There was an afternoon of lobby training, followed by informal and formal meetings with ministers and MLAs. The theme of this year’s lobby was labour code reform—in particular the need to protect workers from franchising. Members met one-on-one with some of BC's most influential political leaders, including Attorney General David Eby, Minister of Health Adrian Dix, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction Shane Simpson, and Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addiction. Premier John Horgan also took time to sit down with President Novak and Secretary-Treasurer Johnson. "The premier listened attentively to our concerns about the labour code," comments President Novak. "He knows that workers form the majority of his base and that he needs to understand and act on their concerns."

MOBILIZING THE VOTE When Sears closed its doors in Canada in 2017, it applied for creditor protection and slashed the pensions of about 16,000 retirees by nearly 20 per cent. Despite vowing to change bankruptcy laws to protect workers when they were in opposition, the federal Liberal government did nothing. “It’s nonsense that the federal government would allow companies to steal pensions,” asserts MP Jenny Kwan. “The NDP believes pensions should be made available for all Canadians. It’s an ongoing fight with the federal government and corporations.”

recounts. “But now I’m used to it. I have fun with other members and the union staff. I’m making a difference—that’s why I do it!” In this year’s federal election, the NDP will run on a platform to make life more affordable for Canadians. MP Jenny Kwan says a key promise is a universal drug insurance plan: “So many workers do not have access to PharmaCare services. I don’t know how we think that is okay. If you get sick you should not have to use your credit card.” Other pledges outlined by Leader Jagmeet Singh include building more affordable housing and strengthening collective bargaining rights to improve the lives of working Canadians. “Ultimately, our promise is to lift everyone up. My mum has told me we are all connected: if we see other people suffering, we are all suffering. That’s the basis for why I care; I really believe we are all connected. Getting involved in politics, coming together to collectively solve problems—that’s a noble thing." The October 21 federal election is an important opportunity to change and improve our government. UFCW 1518 will be working hard to ensure those who are elected represent the needs and interests of working people. To get involved, email reception@ufcw1518 and let us know that you want to join the union's Political Action Team.

PRICESMART MEMBER NELDA NAVARRO has helped elect multiple NDP politicians.

On October 21, workers have the chance to elect a government that works for them. “UFCW has 250,000 members nationwide. We have the numbers to make a difference,” SecretaryTreasurer Johnson affirms. “There is a lot at stake in this election and having engaged members in this democratic moment is essential.” To mobilize the vote, UFCW 1518 will run member-to-member campaigns, so people can learn from a trusted coworker about the importance of voting. Although Navarro just started volunteering with the NDP last year, she is a now seasoned campaigner, with several victories under her belt. One of UFCW 1518’s most politically engaged members, she helped elect the NDP's Bowinn Ma, Ravi Kahlon, Anne Kang and Sheila Malcolmson to the provincial legislature. She also worked on Jagmeet Singh’s campaign, which sent the NDP federal leader to Ottawa as the Member of Parliament for Burnaby South. “The first time I went canvassing I was very nervous,” Navarro S u mme r 2 01 9

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LOBBY DAY AT THE BC LEGISLATURE 1518 goes to Victoria

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he reforms to the BC Labour Relations Code announced by the NDP government in April are a positive step toward bringing more fairness and balance to our labour laws. But they didn’t go far enough. That’s why UFCW 1518 activists, leaders and staff travelled to Victoria to talk to our political leaders about important changes to the Code that still need to be made. After an afternoon of lobby training, our members, along with President Kim Novak and SecretaryTreasurer Patrick Johnson, met one-on-one with ministers, including Minister of Labour Harry Bains, Minister of Health Adrian Dix and Judy Darcy, the Minister of Mental Health & Addictions, as well as Attorney General David Eby. There were also group meetings with a number of other MLAs and ministers at the BC Legislature. UFCW 1518 also hosted an evening meet and greet at the Victoria Event Centre, which was attended by still more politicians! Members got to speak formally and informally to elected leaders. They spoke from personal experience about the negative impact of franchising on their lives and how the government can protect workers by enforcing common employer language already in the labour code (see page 7 for more on labour code reform).

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LOBBY DAY IN PHOTOS: 1. More than 25 union activists, leaders and staff converged at the BC Legislature to lobby the governing NDP about the need for more labour code reform. 2. President Kim Novak with Premier John Horgan in his office at the BC Legislature. 3. UFCW 1518 Meet and Greet! From left: Education Minister Rob Fleming, Minister of Jobs, Trade & Technology Bruce Ralson, Minister of Mental Health & Addiction Judy Darcy, Minister of Labour Harry Bains, President Kim Novak, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills & Training Melanie Mark, Secretary-Treasurer Patrick Johnson and MLA Sheila Malcolmson. 4. Executive Board member Connie Buckner, MLA Ravi Kahlon and Attorney General David Eby. 5. President Kim Novak with MLA Mitzi Dean.


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6. In Education Minister Rob Fleming's office: Ortensia Sama (member), David Gutierrez (Executive Board), Secretary-Treasurer Patrick Johnson, Ash Sigurdson (member), Minister Fleming, Eric Nordal (RAN) and Tyler Harasemow (member)

To have the opportunity to meet with government to discuss our members' issues is an empowering moment for this union.�

7. Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development & Poverty Reduction with member Nelda Navarro. 8. Camie Pohl (member) speaking to Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health & Addiction, together with Yvette Olsen (member) and President Kim Novak. 9. President Kim Novak with Executive Board member Eleanor Smith and Health Minister Adrian Dix. 10. Members Amit Mohindroo and Nelda Navarro with MLA Raj Chouhan, President Kim Novak and member Andrea Chen.

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UFCW 1518 collected about 1500 boxes of menstrual products

Nearly one in four Canadian women has struggled to buy period products.

NEWS

FIGHTING PERIOD POVERTY Union wins Labour United Award for Period Promise activism

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enstrual products will soon be free in all BC schools, in part thanks to the activism of UFCW 1518's Executive Board, stewards, members and staff. Along with other unions and community organizations, UFCW 1518 participated in this year’s Period Promise campaign, which collects menstrual products for people experiencing period poverty. An initiative of the United Way of the Lower Mainland, the campaign also encouraged a shift in the way we think about menstruation, from a shameful women’s problem to a public policy issue. This year, the Period Promise campaign won a major victory when the BC NDP announced that all public schools would provide free menstrual products in school washrooms by the end of 2019, along with $300,000 in startup funding. “Students should never have to miss school, extracurricular, sports or social activities because they can’t afford or don’t have access to menstrual products,” says Education Minister Rob Fleming. A campaign champion, UFCW 1518 signed the Period Promise Policy Agreement and now provides free menstrual products for members, staff and visitors to the union office. "Our union is committed to ending period poverty and the stigma around menstruation. It’s a health issue and it’s an equity issue,” says Secretary-Treasurer Patrick Johnson. “That’s why we called on our stewards to help with the campaign. As workplace leaders, they stepped up to engage members and encourage managers to get involved too." Soon, green boxes began popping up at UFCW 1518 worksites across the province. Union representatives snapped photos and selfies with the Period Promise donations, and shared them on Facebook. "This campaign is about providing access to menstrual products without shame or barriers and that inspired our members to take action," Secretary-Treasurer Johnson explains. S u mme r 2 01 9

All told, the union collected about 1500 boxes of menstrual products from more than two dozen worksites. Union staff gathered the donations—more than two truckloads full— and helped distribute them to organizations across the lower mainland. The union’s participation in Period Promise did not go unnoticed. In April, the United Way honoured UFCW 1518 with the Labour United Award at its annual Community Spirits Awards. "UFCW 1518 has been a huge supporter of the United Way for decades. With the Period Promise campaign, members and staff demonstrated exceptional leadership in helping people understand the burden of menstruation, which is really a social burden," says Neal Adolph, UWLM’s Director of Labour Participation. “Your union continually finds exciting, creative ways to give, not just with dollars but with your time and talent. Your members and leadership are dedicated to fighting for equality and fairness, which is at the heart of what we do at the United Way.” The success of the 2019 Period Promise campaign demonstrates the power and leadership of the labour movement. Says President Kim Novak: “When we work collectively to solve a social problem, workers are powerful and we make a difference!” •

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BARGAINING ROUNDUP New members, new collective agreements, new funding

MOUNTAIN EQUIPMENT CO-OP

JOINED UFCW 1518! DAVID SLOCOMBE, PAUL OLYNEK, JESSY CHANG, KEATS MORTON, LEANNA FAVARO— MEC bargaining committee members—together with Secretary Treasurer Patrick Johnson

About 170 workers employed at Mountain Equipment Co-op are the newest members of UFCW 1518, voting to join the union by an overwhelming majority in April. The YES vote followed a successful organizing drive led by MEC employees at the Broadway location in Vancouver. “We are thrilled to represent MEC employees and work with them to achieve improvements in their workplace and contract,” says President Kim Novak. UFCW 1518 has a long history of working productively with co-ops to ensure they are successful in the communities in which they operate while also providing effective representation for workers, she adds. “The cooperative movement has a lot in common with the labour movement, and that values alignment makes for a good fit with our union.” The union is currently in negotiations with MEC for a first collective agreement.

ECYCLE SOLUTIONS

RATIFIED

UFCW 1518 members working at eCycle Solutions ratified a new collective agreement in May. Ecycle is an electronic waste recycler and living wage employer based in Chilliwack, BC. The five-year deal features an 8.25 percent total wage increase as well as stronger rights for shop stewards. The agreement also includes mandatory health and safety training, as well as increased employer RRSP contributions.

SHOPPERS WHOLESALE

RATIFIED

Members working at Shoppers Wholesale ratified a one-year rollover collective agreement in April, featuring a 50 cent raise effective the Sunday after ratification. The employer also agreed to continue its contribution to benefits while members are on maternity leave. About 25 members work at the warehouse operation, which supplies camps and local restaurants in Prince George.

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FRESHCO

OPENED

British Columbia’s first FreshCo opened in Mission in May, with two more openings planned for Richmond in June. FreshCo is the discount banner of Sobeys, which also owns Safeway. Since purchasing Safeway Canada in 2013, Sobeys has closed 15 Safeway locations across the province, and in 2018 announced its intention to reopen 10 of those as FreshCo. UFCW 1518 grieved the company’s reliance on “new banner” language in the collective agreement to convert Safeway stores to FreshCo. Special Officer Vince Ready, who was appointed by the Minister of Labour to intervene in the dispute, ruled against the union, paving the way for conversions to the discount banner. Mr. Ready also ordered a low wage startup agreement, which Secretary-Treasurer Patrick Johnson says is the foundation of future improvements. “We are excited to meet our new members and begin to work together with them over future rounds of bargaining to build upon the existing agreement and gain improvements to their wages and benefits.”

RIVER'S REACH PUB

JOINED UFCW 1518!

UFCW 1518 welcomed about 35 workers at River’s Reach Pub after they voted overwhelmingly in favour of joining the union. A neighbourhood pub in New Westminster, River’s Reach has been serving up burgers and beer since 2000. “For these workers, bringing in the union was about fairness and respect,” says Secretary-Treasurer Patrick Johnson. The hospitality industry is notoriously precarious and largely non-unionized, making it difficult for workers to find stable employment. “When you stand together to fight for better wages and working conditions, you are stronger. It’s that simple,” comments Secretary-Treasurer Johnson. “As we bargain the first collective agreement for River’s Reach, it is as a united group focused on fairness.”

THE SAFEWAY BARGAINING COMMITTEE

COMMUNITY BARGAINING ASSOCIATION COMMITTEE: Linda Wilson, Connie Buckner, Eleanor Smith, Crystal Allen, director Monica Staff and union representative Ashley Campbell.

COMMUNITY BARGAINING FUNDING ALLOCATED ASSOCIATION The allocation of low wage redress funding for community health members working under the CBA-HEABC collective agreement was announced in April. Intended to address wage discrepancies between community health workers and their counterparts who work in facilities (hospitals), $40 million in additional funding was negotiated in the last round of bargaining. A special committee consisting of the employer and Community Bargaining Association representatives, including UFCW 1518, convened after the new collective agreement was ratified in June, 2018, and worked to hammer out how the funding would be allocated. This included assessing all job categories, reclassifying them to reflect their equivalent in the Facilities Bargaining Association and creating a new wage grid. “Because of the low wage redress funding that the bargaining association negotiated, our members’ wages will be within 1.5 percent of their comparable classification in the facilities sub-sector by the end of the agreement in April, 2021,” explains President Kim Novak. The low wage redress funding is in addition to a general wage hike of two percent in each year of the three-year agreement. S u mme r 2 01 9

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WORK PERFORMANCE: MISTAKES & DISCIPLINE Even the best workers can make mistakes from time to time but that doesn’t necessarily mean they have engaged in behaviour that could result in discipline. In the Air Canada and Canadian Airline Employees Association (1981) decision when evaluating actions by an employee that are disciplinary and those that are not disciplinary the arbitrator said: “At the outset it is perhaps advisable to distinguish between actions or conduct by an employee which are non-disciplinary in nature and those that are disciplinary. One cannot expect a standard of perfection from an employee on a daily basis; employees will make mistakes from time to time and there is no basis for disciplining an employee for errors or mistakes as long as there is a reasonable standard of work performance. Usually in this type of situation the employer will speak to the employee but take no formal disciplinary steps. Where errors or mistakes flow from inattentiveness, or attitude or extreme carelessness—factors which are in the control of the employee—the employer may properly discipline the employee.”

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Principles established in this case and other case law suggests the following for addressing nonculpable work performance issue: 1. The employer may establish reasonable standards of performance and require employees to meet these standards. 2. The standards of performance must be one against which the “average worker” can be measured and its existence must be well known to employees. 3. The employer must properly instruct the employee as to duties and responsibilities. 4. The employee must be given a “reasonable opportunity” to demonstrate an ability to perform duties as assigned. 5. If job performance is unsatisfactory, the employer must advise the employee and afford him/her an opportunity to respond. 6. The employer must demonstrate that performance was assessed objectively, fairly, properly and without discrimination. 7. Where an employee is found incapable of performing the duties of a particular position, the employer must give every consideration to the assignment of other duties.


NOTICE OF NOMINATION AND ELECTION OF UFCW 1518 OFFICERS The UFCW International Constitution and local union by-laws (Article XII Section A) require that Officers of the local union be elected every four years. The current term of office expires on December 31, 2019. Nominations for President, Secretary-Treasurer, Recorder and 25 Vice-Presidents for the term of office commencing January 1, 2020, and ending December 31, 2023 will be conducted in the coming weeks. Pursuant to the local union bylaws, the President, Secretary-Treasurer, Recorder and Vice-Presidents will be nominated by signature petition (Article XII Section E). To be eligible to run for office, one must be an active member of UFCW 1518 who has either continuous active membership in the local since June 2018 or continuous active membership in the UFCW International Union since June 2017 (Article XII Section D). Nominations for Position of President or Secretary-Treasurer Nominations for positions of President and Secretary-Treasurer will be established by signature petition. To be eligible for election, the required number of nominating signatures from active members is 438 (Article XII Section E). Nominations for Position of Recorder and Vice-Presidents Nominations for position of Recorder and Vice-Presidents will be established by signature petition. To be eligible for election, the required number of nominating signatures from active members is 25 (twenty-five) (Article XII Section E). How to Acquire Candidate Election Material A nomination package, including official nomination petition forms, will be available to any active member running for an elected position by contacting the Election Chairperson Pablo Godoy at 1-403-542-2366. For general inquiries, contact the election office at 604.526.1518 or 1.800.661.3708 on or after Wednesday, July 10, 2019 until Thursday, July 25, 2019. Election Office Hours From Wednesday, July 10, 2019 until Thursday, July 25, 2019 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. On Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. On Saturday, July 20, 2019, and Sunday, July 21, 2019, from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Nomination Petition Forms Nominations will only be accepted when completed on the original petition forms issued by the Election Chairperson. To be eligible, all petition nomination signatures must be made by an active member of UFCW 1518. Each petition shall be completed in full, be orderly and legible and also contain the following information from each active member signing the petition: full name (printed), employer name and location, and signature of member (Article XII Section E. 2). Properly completed nomination forms must be received at UFCW 1518 head office to the attention of the Election Chairperson by the close of nominations at 12:00 noon on Thursday, July 25, 2019. Petitions shall be filed at the local union office by mail or in person. The original signatures are required to be filed, and transmission by facsimile, computer or other form of electronic submission shall not be valid. (Article XII Section E. 3). Election Procedure If an active member running for an elected position is challenged by another active member for the same position, a mail referendum election will take place to have the membership decide who the successful candidate will be (Article XII Section I.1). Should a mail referendum take place, a ballot containing the names of the candidates and election positions(s) being challenged will be sent to all members on Friday, August 9, 2019. The ballot will be provided along with a secret ballot envelope and a postage paid self-addressed return envelope. The ballot must be placed into the secret ballot envelope and then placed into the post paid self-addressed envelope and returned by Monday, August 26, 2019, for post office pick up at 12:00 noon. The ballots will then be transported by the Election Committee to UFCW 1518 head office where they will be counted (Article XII Section I. 2. a.b.c.). In solidarity, Pablo Godoy Election Chairperson NOTE: In the event of a significant disruption to the mail service as a result of a Canada Post labour dispute, the dates noted for the election (mailing of ballots) may have to be moved to a later date. Members will be advised should this become necessary.


Celebrate Labour Day with

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 2 12pm-5pm @ Jack Poole Plaza, Vancouver Come celebrate working people! L i ve E nte rt ai nm e nt • F re e !

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

Profile for UFCW 1518

UFCW 1518 UPDATE Summer 2019  

UFCW 1518 UPDATE Summer 2019  

Profile for ufcw1518

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