SEIU Local 2 cleaners at Capilano University were set to walk off the job Monday in protest of poverty wages
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA ––Capilano University cleaners reached a tentative deal late Thursday with their Employer, Best Service Pros, as they began mobilizing for strike actions scheduled for Monday.
“We feel very proud and this truly is a victory for us that we all fought hard for,” said Delia Tanza, who is a cleaner and member of the Bargaining Committee. “Today was the first time after months of bargaining that Best started taking us seriously and were able to offer us something more than poverty wages.”
Last Tuesday, the cleaners unanimously voted yes to take strike action and returned to the bargaining table in a legal position to do so.
“The most rewarding part is the power we felt as workers knowing that we have the campus community behind us and that they were ready to stand next to us if we had to walk off the job,” said Analou Espina, another member of the Bargaining Committee.
Early Thursday, faculty and staff unions at Capilano University, including the Capilano Faculty Association, MoveUP and CUPE 1004, committed to standing in solidarity with the cleaners and honouring their picket line during a coordinating meeting set up by the BC Federation of Labour.
“The Capilano Faculty Association stands in solidarity with SEIU Local 2 and calls on university management to implement a policy that supports Living Wages and Benefits for all direct and contracted workers on campus, as a broader ‘Justice for all Campus Workers’ initiative,” said Brent Calvert, President of the Capilano Faculty Association.
The cleaners’ union drive with SEIU Local 2 and commencement of bargaining had also given rise to a larger campus-wide campaign calling for a Living Wage and Benefits for all direct and contracted workers on campus.
The cleaners at Capilano University have been in first contract negotiations with their Employer, Best Service Pros, since September.
“There were definitely times when we felt tired and frustrated, but this all goes to show when workers come together and refuse to give up, we can make real gains for ourselves and our families,” Tanza added.
Last February, despite an anti-union boss fight and fear campaign, the cleaners at Capilano University voted to unionize with SEIU Local 2. Best Service Pros put up numerous legal objections at the Labour Board to prevent workers from joining SEIU, but their ballots were ordered unsealed in June after a positive decision from the BC Labour Board.
SEIU Local 2 is engaged with organizing Best Service Pros workers across the province.
SEIU’s Justice for Janitors is a movement of workers that has successfully organized to improve wages, benefits, and job security for over 7,000 janitors across Canada. SEIU’s goal is to organize all janitors in BC, so together, workers can raise industry standards and reverse the race to the bottom.
For more information, please visit www.justiceforjanitors.ca
The Service Employees International Union is the largest and fastest growing union in North America, with 100,000 workers in Canada and two million workers across Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico.
Christine Bro – 778-996-4008, firstname.lastname@example.org