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An important message for BCGEU Stewards and Officers - BCGEU

The BCGEU continues to call for a peaceful resolution to the conflict on Wet’suwet’en territory.

As a trade union committed to supporting the full implementation of the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the recommendations of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples through the framework established by Bill 41 (The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’ Act), the BCGEU is deeply troubled by the escalation of events on Wet’suwet’en territory including the failure of the Wiggus table and the RCMP’s actions such as use of exclusion zones, forceful removal of land defenders, and threats to journalists.

Further escalations threaten to unravel progress towards reconciliation. We urge the RCMP to withdraw and ask for all parties to resume talks to reach a negotiated settlement. As well, we have seen protests in support of the Wet’suwet’en people take place around the province, across the country and around the world. Members have asked about their rights in relationship to these protests, so I wanted to remind everyone about the following:

  • Members who want to participate in protest events.   It’s vital that union members understand these protest events are not considered legal strikes under the BC Labour Code; and, therefore, there is no legal mechanism to protect members who choose to participate during their regular work hours. If you intend to participate in a protest event during regular work hours, please consult your union.  
  • Members whose worksite is picketed as part of protest events. Members who encounter a picket line at their worksite are expected to exercise their collective agreement and Charter rights to respect that picket line. The only exception is picket lines that have been deemed illegal by the Labour Board and are subject to an injunction. Members who encounter picket lines at their worksite should immediately contact their steward or area office for accurate information about how to proceed.

I want to thank all of you who have contacted me, Paul or any other BCGEU member to  seek advice about participation. It’s critical that members are fully informed when deciding how to act and react during these protests and your union is here to help!  

In solidarity,

Stephanie Smith