New agreement averts strike on campus
UNBC’s cafeteria workers represented by UNITE HERE Local 40 have unanimously ratified a new agreement with the university’s food provider, Compass Group. Narrowly averting a strike, the new agreement ends the prolonged labour dispute at the university and addresses workers’ longstanding concerns over pay and job security.
Workers at UNBC’s Agora Dining Hall and Tim Hortons will receive raises of $2/hour at minimum, additional bonus pay, while entry-level wages for new workers will increase substantially to better meet the cost of living in Prince George. The agreement establishes a new pension benefit for workers, significantly improves medical benefits and enshrines stronger anti-harassment and anti-discrimination standards to protect the rights of members engaged in union activity. Cafeteria workers also achieved a path to job security with the new agreement.
“We are very pleased that these issues could be resolved. We feel this agreement addresses our concerns and allows us to continue providing service to the students who rely on us,” said Jeannie Gilbert, a cook at UNBC’s Agora Dining Hall.
The workers have engaged in numerous job actions since the contract expired in April 2017. After a year of little progress in bargaining, the workers issued a 72-hour strike notice earlier this month. Workers have received an outpouring of support from faculty, students, labour and community allies who petitioned the university and participated in demonstrations and other actions.
“We want to acknowledge the support we received from the university community, including students, staff and faculty. Without their support, we may not have been able to avoid a strike,” said Melody Danchuk, a long-term cafeteria worker and member of the union bargaining committee.
For more information, please contact: Octavian Cadabeschi, (604) 813-2105, [email protected]
Prince George – UNITE HERE! Local 40 members who serve food at UNBC have issued a 72 hour strike notice. The union represents workers at UNBC’s Agora Dining Hall and at Tim Hortons.
The workers are employees of Chartwells, UNBC’s food service contractor. The union and the contractor have been engaged in contract negotiations for over a year. Many of the workers earn low wages and have poor benefits – issues that must be resolved in order to avoid a strike. Additionally, workers lack even basic job security in case the university changes food service contractors. Cafeteria workers are committed to transforming food service jobs at UNBC into stable, living wage jobs. The next round of bargaining is scheduled for Tuesday, October 9.
Check back here for updates on a possible strike.
Local 40 is building a progressive alliance of workers, students and community activists by training, agitating, and inspiring people to fight for justice. We place a lot of emphasis on training and fieldwork. People learn by doing, whether it’s hearing about the real situations of working people in a house visit, doing research on a corporation, speaking truth to power on a delegation, or recruiting friends, family, or coworkers to an action. UNITE HERE is committed to inspiring people of all ages and backgrounds to join our movement.
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(For Chinese language version, see below)
April 20, 2018 (Vancouver, BC) – “This is a historical moment for many Chinese Canadians and especially for family like me who are descendants of Head Tax payers and Canadian railway workers.
“It is important for Vancouverites to understand and acknowledge the history of Chinese segregation and racism in Vancouver. Fairness is essential and that’s what drives my service with the union.
“Many hospitality workers of UNITE HERE Local 40 are immigrants and many of them are from China. They work under challenging and precarious conditions like long hours, heavy workloads and risk of injury yet they earn only minimum pay with no job security. They have endured much hardship to build a life here, and their contribution to the success of Vancouver’s hospitality industry is often unrecognized.
“An apology would only be meaningful if there are actions to bring changes. I long to see changes in the working and living condition of workers in the City. I want to empower them to fight for equitable jobs and respect, not only in our workplaces but also in our communities.”
April 20, 2018 (卑詩省・溫哥華) – 「對於許多華裔加人及尤其像我的家人那樣，作為人頭稅和加拿大鐵路工人的後人，這是一個歷史性時候。
不少UNITE HERE 40 分會會員是移民，當中不少來自中國。他們經常在有挑戰性及危險的環境下長時間辛勞工作，卻只有最低時薪，也沒有就業保障。
For media availability, please contact: Michelle Travis, 778-960-9785
(Prince George, BC) On Thursday, April 19, hotel and food service workers from across the city converged outside the Ramada Prince George Hotel for a demonstration organized by members of UNITE HERE! Local 40. The workers were joined by several Prince George unions, campus groups, and community allies.
Ramada workers, who have been in bargaining for almost a year, protested working conditions at the hotel. They currently earn less than other unionized hotel workers in Prince George. Workers want management to address serious contract violations, a lack of adequate staffing and supplies during busy periods at the hotel, and to resolve basic issues that staff bring forward.
Unite Here Local 40 represents hundreds of workers across Prince George. In addition to the Ramada, Local 40 members are fighting for better working conditions at UNBC and Travelodge and will soon begin bargaining at Coast Inn of the North. As the cost of living continues to increase, hotel and food service workers across Prince George are joining together to build a higher standard of living in their city, one workplace at a time.
“We all face a lot of the same problems where we work, regardless of that being UNBC or the Ramada. All of us need wages that we can live on, respect in the workplace, adequate staffing levels and safe working conditions. This is why we are working together to build a movement of workers standing up for one another. This action is only the beginning of that,” said Stacey Moen, a cook at the Ramada.
Members of several area Prince George unions and local community groups joined today’s demonstration.
“Hotel and hospitality workers add real economic value to our community by providing vital services. They deserve our full support in their struggle for decent wages and benefits, and better working conditions,” said Paul Ewert from Stand Up for the North Committee.
For more information, please contact: Octavian Cadabeschi at 604-813-2105 or [email protected]