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Why we wear orange on Sept. 30

“They were not schools. They were weapons of genocide.”

CW: This article deals with a disturbing and violent subject that may trigger some readers.

Thousands of Indigenous children suffered violence and neglect in the Indian Residential School system, which operated in Canada for more than 100 years. The Canadian Government created these institutions to separate Indigenous children from their families, erase their culture and languages, and forcefully assimilate them into Canadian society. They were not schools. They were weapons of genocide. 

In 2021, the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation announced that they had discovered evidence of 215 unmarked graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. While Indigenous communities knew that many children died in these “schools,” the discovery shocked many Canadians and renewed conversations about the awful impacts of settler colonialism.  

Back in 2013, Esketemc (Alkali Lake) Chief Fred Robbins, a residential school survivor, launched the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) Residential School Commemoration Project and Reunion. This project gave birth to Orange Shirt Day (Sept 30) which was inspired by former student Phyllis (Jack) Webstad’s experience. Below is an excerpt from her story the Orange Shirt Society’s website:

I went to the Mission for one school year in 1973/1974. I had just turned 6 years old. I lived with my grandmother on the Dog Creek reserve. We never had very much money, but somehow my granny managed to buy me a new outfit to go to the Mission school. I remember going to Robinson’s store and picking out a shiny orange shirt. It had string laced up in front, and was so bright and exciting – just like I felt to be going to school!

When I got to the Mission, they stripped me, and took away my clothes, including the orange shirt! I never wore it again. I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t give it back to me, it was mine! The color orange has always reminded me of that and how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and how I felt like I was worth nothing. All of us little children were crying and no one cared.

In August of 2021, the Government of Canada established a National Holiday for Truth & Reconciliation to take place every Sept. 30. BC still does not recognize it with a statutory holiday, despite the efforts of Indigenous groups, who have spoken loud and clear: all workers, including the many Indigenous people who work for private businesses, need a paid day off on Sept. 30. 

Having the day off to remember loved ones, connect with their communities, and share their truth with others is especially important to Indigenous UFCW 1518 members. For non-Indigenous members it would be a day to reach out to First Nations bands and agencies near you and see what you can attend. You will be welcome if you come with good intentions and love in your hearts.

Want to support an Indigenous organization today? Donate to the Residential School Survivors Society.

Bargaining Update: HEABC Talks Stalled

Community Bargaining Association Seeking Fair Deal for Members

Your Community Bargaining Association (CBA) has been hard at work over the last two weeks, bargaining with the Health Employer’s Association of British Columbia (HEABC). More than 2,000 UFCW 1518 members fall under this agreement and stand to gain significant improvements in their contracts once an agreement is reached.

Unfortunately, negotiations have stalled out due to the employer’s resistance to non-monetary improvements and wage increases that would bring home support workers closer in line with what their peers who work in Facilities have.

From the beginning of negotiations with HEABC, your union’s position has been clear: home support workers are a critical part of our healthcare system, and they deserve better wages, premiums, and vacation benefits that recognize their incredible work.

There is some good news, however, as the CBA has come to tentative agreements on improving the language on overtime opportunities and enabling full mobility with health authorities.

What happens next?

Despite these recent difficulties, your union remains committed to negotiating a fair deal that not only provides you with the compensation you deserve but also begins to address the chronic understaffing and retention issues that continue to make your work unsustainable.

You can help your Bargaining Committee and the CBA pressure the employer by helping us mobilize your fellow UFCW 1518 members. Over the next couple of weeks, please take a few moments to check in with your co-workers and ask if they have been receiving our email updates. If they haven’t, have them email our head office at [email protected] or phone us toll-free at 1.800.661.3708. Tell them to provide us with their first and last name, email address, work location name, employee number, and cell phone number. Having updated contact information for all members will be critically important if we need to pull together a demonstration of worker solidarity.

The CBA and HEABC do not have imminent dates scheduled to resume bargaining, and negotiations will likely resume in mid-October. We will update you following the next round of talks and will keep you in the loop if there are any developments in the meantime.

2022 BC Municipal Elections – Labour Votes

bc's MUNICIPAL ELECTIONs are APPROACHING

Here’s who your Labour Councils endorse

Your democratic muscle is strongest at the local level, so don’t waste this opportunity to flex. Oct. 15, 2022 is voting day in BC. If you’re 18 plus, be sure to hit the polls, have your say, and cast a ballot for the the municipal politicians that you support.

Municipalities have jurisdiction over several issues that matter most to working people, including housing, local parks, waterways, roads and parking, libraries and more. If you don’t know about the candidates who are running in your area and their stance on these issues, UFCW 1518 recommends you do some research.

We’re big advocates of informed voting. We know our members are passionate and have opinions, and General Municipal Elections 2022 is an awesome way for you to fight for fairness.

BC’s District Labour Councils –advocacy groups that bring together union members who work in the same regions – have done their research. And with the input of local representatives from a variety of industries and unions in your communities, they’ve made their endorsements for this election. Here is a list, copied from the Canadian Labour Congress’ website, of the candidates that the Labour Councils in your areas support:

Council

Jas Anand

Kelly Chahal

School Trustee

Rupi Kanda-Rajwan

Preet Rai

Mayor

Mike Hurley

Council

Rohini Arora, Burnaby Citizens Association (BCA)

Pietro Calendino, Burnaby Citizens Association (BCA)

Antara Deb, Burnaby Citizens Association (BCA)

Sav Dhaliwal, Burnaby Citizens Association (BCA)

Alison Gu, Burnaby Citizens Association (BCA)

Joe Keithley, Burnaby Green Party

Daniel Tetrault, Burnaby Citizens Association (BCA)

James Wang, Burnaby Citizens Association (BCA)

School Trustee

Bill Brassington, Burnaby Citizens Association (BCA)

Peter Cech, Burnaby Citizens Association (BCA)

Larry Hayes, Burnaby Citizens Association (BCA)

Jen Mezei, Burnaby Citizens Association (BCA)

Mikelle Sasakamoose, Burnaby Citizens Association (BCA)

Kristin Schnider, Burnaby Citizens Association (BCA)

Gary Wong, Burnaby Citizens Association (BCA)

Mayor

Larry Samsom

Council

Gwendolyn Donaldson

Colleen Evans

Tanille Johnston

Sandra Milligan

Council

Sandy Bojeckho

Cherryl MacLeod

Council

Zeb King

Council

Amber Price

Debora Soutar

School Trustee (SD 33 – Chilliwack)

Carin Bondar

Margaret Reid

Willow Reichelt

David Swankey

Teri Westerby

School Trustee

Shannon Aldinger

Michelle Waite

Mayor

Adel Gamar

Council

Matt Djonlic

Craig Hodge

Trish Mandewo

Robert Mazzarolo

Leslie Roosa

School Trustee (SD 42 – Coquitlam)

Jennifer Martin Blatherwick

Craig Woods

Mayor

Bob Wells

Council

Will Cole-Hamilton

Doug Hillian

Evan Jollicoeur

Melanie McCollum

Wendy Morin

Council

Wayne Stetski

School Trustee (SD 8 – Cranbrook)

Trina Ayling

Bev Bellina

Irene Bischler

Chris Johns

Doug McPhee

Wendy Turner

School Trustee (SD 5 – Creston)

Cody Beebe

School Trustee (SD 37 – Delta)

B Bruce Reid, Independents Working for You

Val Windsor, Achieving for Delta

Mayor

Michelle Staples

Council

Tom Duncan

Council

Darlene Rotchford

School Trustee

Angela Carmichael

Karin Kwan

Council

Michie Vidal

Mayor

Sadie Hunter

Council

Dale Bass

Daphane Nelson

Katie Neustaeter

Jesse Ritcey

Taj Sandur

Bill Sarai

Randy Sunderman

School Trustee (SD 73 – Kamloops)

Cole Hickson

Heather Grieve

Jo Kang

Kathleen Karpuk

Council

Davis Kyle

Gordon Lovegrove

Mohini Singh

Loyal Wooldridge

Council

Jeff Virtanen

Council

Mary Wagner, Langford Now

Keith Yacucha, Langford Now

Mayor

Nathan Pachal

Council

Paul Albrecht

Shelley Coburn

Jeff Jacobs

Mike Solyom

School Trustee (SD 35 – Langley)

Candy Ashdown

Mayor

Eric Woodward, Contract with Langley

Council

Tim Baillie, Contract with Langley

Barb Martens, Contract with Langley

Michael Pratt

School Trustee (SD 35 – Langley)

Holly Dickinson, Contract with Langley

Joel Neufeld, Contract with Langley

Suzanne Perrault

Sarb Rai, Contract with Langley

Marnie Wilson

Council

Korleen Carreras, A Better Maple Ridge

Sunny Schiller, A Better Maple Ridge

Jenny Tan, A Better Maple Ridge

School Trustee (SD 42 – Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows)

Gabe Liosis

Elaine Yamamoto

School Trustee (SD 75 – Mission)

Jash Bains

Randy Cairns

Mayor

Leonard Krog

Council

Ken Bennett

Don Bonner

Tyler Brown

Hilary Eastmure

Ben Geselbracht

Erin Hemmens

Zeni Maartman

Ian Thorpe

School Trustee

Naomi Bailey

Tania Brzovic

Greg Keller

Mark Robinson

Tom Rokeby

Director

Jessica Stanley

Mayor

Janice Morrison

Council

Leslie Payne

School Trustee (SD 8 – Kootenay Lake)

Julie Bremner

Mayor

Patrick Johnstone, Community First New West

Council

Ruby Campbell, Community First New West

Chinu Das, Community First New West

Tasha Henderson, Community First New West

Bereket Kebede, Community First New West

Jaimie McEvoy, Community First New West

Nadine Nakagawa, Community First New West

School Trustee (SD 40 – New Westminster)

Marc Andres, Community First New West

Dee Beattie, Community First New West

Gurveen Dhaliwal, Community First New West

Maya Russell, Community First New West

Elliott Slinn, Community First New West

Cheryl Sluis, Community First New West

Mayor

Rob Douglas

Council

Christopher Justice

Kate Marsh

Debra Toporowski

Mayor

Linda Buchanan

Council

Holly Back

Don Bell

Angela Girard

Kathy McGrenera

Jessica McIlroy

School Trustee (SD 44 – North Vancouver)

Lailani Tumaneng

Council

Jordan Back

Harrison Johnston

Ellison Mallin

Council

Carrie Smart

Mayor

Julius Bloomfield

Council

Isaac Gilbert

Council

Alison Evans

School Trustee (SD 42 – Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows)

Hudson Campbell

Mayor

Brad West

Council

Darrell Grant Penner

Sarah Harbord

Nancy McCurrach

Glenn Pollock

Dean Washington

School Trustee (SD 43 – Coquitlam)

Christine Pollock

Michael Thomas

Mayor

Meghan Lahti

Council

Dustin Chelen

Amy Lubik

Haven Lurbiecki

School Trustee (SD 43 – Coquitlam)

Nancy Johnston

Lisa Park

Mayor

Terri McConnanchie

Council

Wesley Mitchell

Cori Ramsay

Susan Scott

Brian Skakun

Mayor

Chrystopher Thompson

Council

Barry Cunningham

Mayor

Malcolm Brodie

Council

Chak Au

Carol Day (RITE)

Andy Hobbs

Alexa Loo

Bill McNulty

Keefer Pelech (RCA)

Jack Trovato (RCA)

Michael Wolfe (RITE)

Mayor

Dean Murdock

Council

Zac De Vries

Basil Langevin

Mark Leiren-Young

Greg Matte

Teale Phelps Bondaroff

Colin Plant

School Trustee

Amanda Amaral

Sue Girard

Maria Hampvent

Mayor

Jinny Sims, Surrey Forward

Council

Philip Aquirre, Surrey Forward

Ramon Bandong, Surrey Forward

June Liu, Surrey Forward

Theresa Pidcock, Surrey Forward

Paramjit Singh Malhi, Surrey Forward

Jody Toor, Surrey Forward

School Trustee (SD 36 – Surrey)

Terry Allen, Surrey First Education

Balbir Gurm, Team Surrey Schools

Laurie Larsen, Surrey First Education

Maryann Pyne, Team Surrey Schools

Tony Rebelo, Team Surrey Schools

Bobbi Taylor, Team Surrey Schools

Mayor

Steve Fairbairn

Council

Sam Raven

Mayor

Kennedy Stewart, Forward Together

Council

Dulcy Anderson, Forward Together

Iona Bonamis, OneCity

Christine Boyle, OneCity

Adriane Carr, Green Party

Ian Cromwell, OneCity

Pete Fry, Green Party

Matthew Norris, OneCity

Alvin Singh, Forward Together 

Jean Swanson, COPE

Michael Wiebe, Green Party

School Trustee (SD 39 – Vancouver)

Rory Brown, OneCity

Steve Cardwell, Vision Vancouver

Kyla Epstein, OneCity

Suzie Mah, COPE

Jennifer Ready, OneCity

Krista Sigurdson, OneCity

Gavin Somers, OneCity

Rocco Trigueros, COPE

Allan Wong, Vision Vancouver

Park Board

Gwen Giesbrecht, COPE

Maira Hassan, COPE

John Irwin, Vision Vancouver

Serena Jackson, OneCity

Chris Livingstone, COPE

Kristin Rivers, OneCity

Caitlin Stockwell, OneCity

Council

Kelly Fehr

School Trustee (SD 22 – Vernon)

Mark Olsen

Mayor

Marianne Alto

Council

Jeremy Caradonna

Matt Dell

Ben Isitt

Susan Kim

Krista Loughton

Dave Thompson

Mayor

Mary-Ann Booth

Council

Alexis Chicoine

Nora Gambioli

Mayor

Darryl Walker

Council

Stephen Crozier

Welcome Sephora Kamloops Workers!

The color trend is blue, red, and yellow at Sephora Kamloops today, after staff received the exciting news that their grassroots organizing drive paid off, and they’ll be the first cosmetics retail staff to unionize with UFCW 1518!

But that’s not all – they’re the first Sephora staff to unionize in Canada….ever! And if you also work at a Sephora in BC, your worksite could be the next to join the movement.

One beauty advisor says that the organizing drive was nerve-wracking but exhilarating, and they’re excited to keep the momentum going.

“Sephora touts ‘teamwork, initiative, innovation, and passion’…we’re showing them how powerful those values are when we use them together.”

Across North America, passionate people in retail are vying for a say in the companies that profit from their labour – many are coming to UFCW 1518 to build better jobs that afford them a living and respect their expertise.

Staff at Kamloops Sephora say there are many things that they value and enjoy about their jobs that they want to keep. Now their mission is to build more equity into the workplace and ensure everyone is compensated fairly.

Congratulations and a huge welcome to the Sephora Kamloops Staff. You’re joining a family of 25,000 workers who are standing by your side. Your union can’t wait to hear from you as we approach bargaining: what improvements do you want to bring to the store? What will benefit the most vulnerable members on your team? This is your union now.

First Sephora in Canada Applies to Join UFCW 1518

Employees at Sephora in Kamloops today applied to join the United Food & Commercial Workers Union Local 1518 (UFCW 1518), which will make them the first unionized Sephora beauty advisors and sales staff in Canada.

UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak says this win highlights a growing movement of retail workers who are standing together to build better workplaces. “It goes to show that no matter what the job, workers need a voice, and we’re so excited for the opportunity to represent the hardworking staff at Sephora. This is especially exciting just days before Labour Day!”

One beauty advisor says that speaking up has been nerve-wracking but exhilarating, and they’re excited to keep the momentum going. “Sephora touts ‘teamwork, initiative, innovation, and passion’…we’re showing them how powerful those values are when we use them together,” they said.

Staff at the Kamloops Sephora are standing together to win wage and benefit improvements, so they can nurture their health while enjoying flexible schedules.

“The workers at Sephora are ready to build an even stronger workplace with great jobs that pay the bills and provide them work-life balance,” says Novak. “We look forward to working with them to make it happen!”

UFCW 1518 represents over 26,000 British Columbians in many sectors who are pushing for fairness in the workplace.

Workers’ Rights In B.C

You have rights. Here’s how to use them.

You have the right to join a union in BC. And if your employer tries to sway your support for a union, you can challenge them at the Labour Relations Board (LRB) with the union at your side.

You are protected by the Labour Code the moment a union organizing drive starts. The Code is your legal shield. It allows your union to lodge complaints on your behalf, even before a union vote and before you pay dues. When they receive a complaint, the Labour Board often assigns a third-party Special Investigation Officer to help the union and employer resolve the dispute informally. If the complaint cannot be resolved informally, it moves to a hearing.

Below are typical scenarios, pulled from the B.C. LRB’s website, that can be challenged with a union complaint:

Your boss claims they can’t provide the raise that they planned to give you a month ago because of the union drive.
Your boss asks you if you signed a union card.
An employer encourages staff to form a committee or join their staff association instead of the union.
A supervisor telling staff that the plant would be closed and their work outsourced to another country if the union was certified.
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Some red flags

Your manager starts calling you and your coworkers at home.

Your employer pulls you into one-on-one meetings.

When your employer does either of these and starts asking you about the organizing drive, or how you plan to vote, or bashing the union, be wary. Talk to the union you're working with about potentially filing a complaint.

Young Cineplex workers in B.C. are fighting for their rights and joining UFCW 1518

The Code bans employers from firing, threatening to fire, suspending, transferring, laying off, refusing to hire or discriminating against workers for wanting to participate in, promote, support, or form a union.

If your manager or supervisor is singling you out and changing your working conditions shortly after you’ve started talking about unionizing, or around the time you signed a petition, talk to us about filing a complaint at [email protected]

UFCW 1518 has won many workers their jobs back after they were unfairly fired. Read the success stories here.

 

Talk to a union organizer about filing a complaint. Your boss cannot offer you benefits, bonuses, pizza parties or any perks in exchange for voting against a union. Bribes like this are not only in violation of Section 6 of The Code, but they’re also a weak attempt to try and make you accept less than you are worth.

But who wants small perks in place of permanent protections anyways? Without a union, it’s harder to negotiate a good contract, and without a good written contract, you have no say over your pay, benefits, health & safety and more – the boss can go back on a promise or cut your pay and benefits whenever they like.

If you and your coworkers vote to join a union, your employer is legally obligated to negotiate a contract with you, which gives you the power to get what you deserve.

The Code protects you when your union files a complaint on your behalf or when you participate in other activities at the Labour Board, including:

  • A Board proceeding
  • Acting as a witness in a Board proceeding
  • Making a disclosure that is required by a Board proceeding

What are employers not allowed to do in response to your participation in the above?

  • Dismiss you
  • Refuse to employ you
  • Discriminate against you in terms of your working conditions
  • Intimidate or coerce you
  • Threaten to do any of these things

Unions have your back

While all workers do have rights, remember that until you are a union member and you have a contract, you are still vulnerable.

During an organizing drive, it’s critical that you only “talk union” and participate in union activities, such as petition signing, rallies and more, on your unpaid breaks or before and after your shift. That way your boss doesn’t have an excuse to punish you.

While employers can get emotional when their employees start the process to join a union, they only rarely stoop to illegal behaviour that violates the labour code. That’s because the penalties and legal costs are very high – they’re designed to be so that employers are discouraged from violating workers’ rights.

If you decide that you want to fight for fairness at work by joining a union, know that we will stand with you and help you every step of the way. All you need to do is hold your head up high, stick to your values, and pull together with your coworkers to create a better workplace.

New Contract at Sointula Co-Op!

Workers at Sointula Co-Op sent in a ringing endorsement of a new collective agreement that will bring major improvements to their workplace.

Workers celebrate the new contract at Sointula Co-Op!
Workers celebrate the new contract at Sointula Co-Op!

100% of voters said “yes” to the new contract. These retail workers came together and bargained hard for important contract gains, including:

  • Wage increases between 8.3% and 30% over the life of the 4-year agreement
  • For the first year, wage increases range as high as $4.25. The majority of the members will be earning at least $2/hr above the living wage for the area
  • Retroactive pay on all wage increases to May 31, 2021
  • Minimum wage adjustment so that no member ever falls to a minimum wage again
  • Increased hours restriction, up to twice per year
  • Easier access to educational leave (down to 2 years)
  • New Shop Steward Orientation on paid employer time

“The bargaining committee at Sointula worked hard to get major improvements that will help with the increasing cost of living,” said UFCW 1518 Negotiator Stephen Portman. “They showed what workers are capable of achieving when they stand together and demand better.”

Congratulations to workers at Sointula on their new contract and a big thank you to Bargaining Committee members Janet Pohto and Monty Hals.

If you work in retail and are interested in improving your workplace, learn more at ufcw1518.com/join-us.

BC & Yukon To Engage the Public on Truth & Reconciliation Day

UFCW 1518 is pleased to hear that the BC government will be engaging Indigenous partners and communities about the most meaningful and appropriate way to mark September 30, the National Day for Truth & Reconciliation Day.

This comes after the UFCW 1518 Indigenous Committee called on the provincial and federal governments to mandate Truth and Reconciliation Day as a paid statutory holiday for all workers.

BC Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, Murray Rankin, explained that in addition to engaging Indigenous communities, they will also engage businesses, workers, unions, and labour representatives in the months ahead on the ways in which employers can participate and meaningfully contribute.

BC’s approach is similar to what has been promised in the Yukon. Premier Sandy Silver wrote that the Yukon government will be reaching out to Yukon First Nations governments and the public for comments on whether the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation should become a general holiday for all Yukon employees.

The union hopes that these engagements will result in the provincial governments mandating September 30 as a statutory holiday for all workers, so big businesses operating on unceded Indigenous lands understand the importance of this day and provide the opportunity for their workers to reflect, heal and honour residential school survivors, their families, and communities.

As she wrote in her letter, Indigenous Committee member, Christine Holowka, remarked that “making Truth and Reconciliation Day a provincial statutory holiday will be a huge step forward in the many steps that need to be taken on the road to truth and reconciliation.”

UFCW 1518 hopes that this will be the year that the governments show their commitment to reconciliation and support the healing of those impacted by Canada’s colonial past by instituting a mandatory paid holiday on September 30.

If you haven’t signed the petition to the provincial governments, you can add your voice now.

First Private-Sector Cannabis Retail Workers on Mainland Unionize

B.C. Bud Union Crops Up in Vancouver as Eggs Canna Staff Seek Fairness

VANCOUVER – Workers at an East Hastings cannabis shop are venturing into green territory after a union vote last week. Together, staff decided to join the BC Budtenders Union – a division of the UFCW 1518 – making them the first private-sector retail workers in the cannabis industry to unionize on the mainland.

UFCW 1518 currently represents growers at the Potanicals greenhouse in Peachland, but Eggs Canna marks the progressive union’s first organizing drive at a mainland dispensary.

UFCW 1518 Secretary-Treasurer Patrick Johnson sees this latest grassroots achievement as proof that workers can be the loudest voice in the room and guide a whole industry, even one as coveted as cannabis.

“To put it into perspective, recreational cannabis was only legalized in 2018,” he says. “Profiteers obviously jumped to stake their claim and capitalize on this new market. But they weren’t the only ones to move quick. From the moment the first shops started opening in Victoria, frontline staff looked for ways to improve their working conditions and to have a say in how the industry was run.”

Fast forward four years and 70% of the for-profit cannabis shops in the capital city have unionized. Today, we’re excited to get behind the Budtenders at Eggs Canna and start to organize around Vancouver. Workers have been at the forefront of this industry from its inception, shapeshifting cannabis to benefit their communities, and their influence is only growing. These folks are unstoppable.”

Like so many British Columbians hired to sell cannabis products in the ever-expanding boutique bud industry, staff at Eggs Canna are incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about cannabis. They care about the product, the customer experience, and the community they serve. The Eggs Canna website proudly states “We don’t hire budtenders, we train Cannaseurs.”

The workers want their pay, benefits, respect, and overall working conditions to reflect this high-level training. Ultimately, they want fairness. With UFCW 1518, Eggs Canna employees and their fellow BC Bud members are poised to raise industry standards.

Unionized Budtender Movement Expanding Across BC

Johnson also sees Eggs Canna staff’s success as an opening for more workers to join the movement, especially in large-scale private growing operations.

“At every point along the cannabis supply chain, workers deserve a voice,” he says. “Everyone that works with cannabis plays an integral role in its production process. From its growth to its distribution, sale, delivery, and eventually consumption, pot must serve everyday people. Workers can ensure it does by unionizing.”

UFCW 1518 represents 26,000+ workers in retail, grocery, food production, home care and more. The union continues to grow and represents some of the youngest and most diverse workers in B.C. If you are interested in joining the BC Budtenders Union, check out our website.