More than three dozen Unifor activists presented policy proposals on workplace health and safety reforms, economic security for women, and progressive labour law amendments during meetings with the British Columbia government on March 6 and 7.
“Last spring, British Columbians voted for change,” said Jerry Dias, National President. “There is no time to waste when it comes to making workplaces safer and restoring workers’ basic rights.”
Unifor says the former provincial government stripped B.C.’s most vulnerable workers of rights that left exploitation and wage theft virtually unchecked. Re-establishing clear labour standards with swift enforcement will be a priority for the union in the months ahead.
“Unethical employers thrive when workers’ rights are weak,” said Joie Warnock, Western Regional Director. “We will be seeking reforms to employment standards that ensure that every employer who breaks the rules are held accountable.”
As part of the union’s campaign to advocate for supports and legislative changes for those experiencing gender-based violence, Unifor members also pressed the government to enact paid domestic violence leave, which the NDP proposed while it was in opposition (Bill M 220). The paid leave will help to provide survivors of domestic violence with both the income security and the time required to secure a safe environment and much needed support systems.
Activists also presented policy ideas for the economic sectors that the union has significant membership, such as forestry, transportation, and hospitality.
Unifor led a comprehensive campaign during the 2017 provincial election that included book-offs, paid advertising, and extensive activist training. With the NDP now in government for the first time in 16 years, the B.C. Regional Council is increasing its mobilizing inside the legislature to ensure that election promises are kept and Unifor’s voice continues to be heard.