BC Camp Workers’ Union on the Rise
Valemount, BC — ATCO camp workers in Valemount have voted by nearly 90% to join UNITE HERE Local 40. Workers at Valemount Camp voted in late July to join the union despite the employer’s efforts to block the vote. The Labour Board dismissed the employer’s challenges and ordered the votes to be unsealed and counted. This final decision sends a strong message that during the middle of the pandemic, camp workers are standing up to improve their working conditions.
ATCO Valemount Camp, which consists of around 60 hospitality and culinary staff such as chefs and housekeepers, is one of the first groups of camp hospitality workers to vote to unionize on the Trans Mountain pipeline, and the first unionized ATCO camp on the Trans Mountain pipeline.
“This 90% vote for the union goes to show that us ATCO workers were really united and wanted a change in our lives. I’m very proud and pleased that we got together and made it happen as a team. I feel there’s more stability now. With what my pay rate is now, being able to negotiate for what we deserve is exciting. I support myself and my brother, and it feels good knowing that I can bargain to raise my wages to help him and save money for the future,” said Levi Gerlib, a General Helper at ATCO Valemount Camp.
UNITE HERE Local 40 welcomes ATCO Valemount workers, who will join nearly 330 other camp members. BC’s camp workers’ union is growing; in 2019, 130 Civeo and Horizon North Kitimat camp workers joined UNITE HERE Local 40. Kitimat LNG janitors and Parsnip camp workers joined the union in 2020. Living costs have risen dramatically in communities across BC. Better wages and benefits will be life-changing for many workers at Valemount, who intend to begin negotiations as soon as possible.
Stephanie Fung, 604-928-7356, [email protected]
UNITE HERE Local 40 is the hospitality workers’ union and represents members in the hotel, food service and airport industries throughout British Columbia. Learn more at UniteHereLocal40.org.