About 35 workers at River’s Reach Pub voted overwhelmingly in favour of joining UFCW 1518 last month. 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. They got in touch with us because they knew we could help,” said Secretary-Treasurer Patrick Johnson. The hospitality industry is notoriously precarious and largely non-unionized, making it difficult for workers to find stable employment.
“Without the strength of a union behind them, restaurant workers are on their own. There are basic protections under the Employment Standards Act, but its up tho them to file and pursue a complaint if an employer breaks the law. With a union, we’ve got your back.”
Last week, the BC NDP announced amendments to employment standards that strengthen protection for workers, including a ban on employer theft of tips. Still, the standard of legal protection is lower for non-unionized workers. “When you stand together to fight for better wages and working conditions, you are stronger. It’s that simple,” Secretary-Treasurer Johnson stated. “When we bargain the first collective agreement for River’s Reach, it will be as a united group focused on fairness.”
President Kim Novak welcomed UFCW 1518’s newest members: “We are thrilled to represent the workers of River’s Reach Pub and to help them achieve the fair compensation and respectful working conditions that all workers deserve.”