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B.C. government liquor and cannabis workers rally for essential pay outside employer’s head office, September 1 - BCGEU

B.C. government liquor and cannabis workers rally for essential pay outside employer's head office, September 1

BURNABY, COAST SALISH TERRITORIES – After five months without response from the Minister of Finance, B.C. General Employees' Union (BCGEU) members working for the BC Liquor Distribution Branch (BCLDB) will rally outside the BCLDB's head office to call for their employer's support in receiving the Minister of Finance's authorization to provide essential pay for workers' government-deemed essential work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

BCGEU members have invited BCLDB CEO/GM Blain Lawson to join them for the rally.

Who: BCLDB workers from government liquor and cannabis stores and warehouses, union representatives including BCGEU Treasurer Paul Finch, Vice President Kusam Doal, and Executive Vice Presidents Judy Phipps, Kari Michaels, Doug Kinna and James Coccola

What: Public rally outside BCLDB head office

When: 10:00 am Wednesday September 1

Where: BCLDB head office: 3383 Gilmore Way, Burnaby

Visuals: Crowd of workers with flags, t-shirts and balloons; representatives addressing the crowd


On March 26, 2020, the provincial government declared BCLDB workers at government liquor and cannabis stores and warehouses to be essential. Despite their essential designation, serving the public safely and enduring health risks throughout the pandemic, and generating record revenues for the province, these workers were excluded from the province's Temporary Pandemic Pay (TPP) program.

In September 2020, workers began calling on their employer, BCLDB CEO and General Manager Blain Lawson, to use pandemic-generated record BCLDB revenues to provide workers with essential pay – as encouraged by former Minister of Finance Carole James.

In March 2021, Lawson deferred the decision to provide essential pay from BCLDB revenues to the Minister of Finance who oversees the BCLDB.

On April 14, 2021, workers began – with rallies in Coquitlam and Victoria – to call on Minister of Finance Selina Robinson to authorize Lawson to use BCLDB funds for their essential pay. Supporters from the public have since sent thousands of emails to Minister Robinson, with no response.

The rally on September 1st, which will be celebratory in nature, comes just months before BCLDB workers begin bargaining for a new collective agreement with their employer, the B.C. government.

The BCGEU is B.C.'s most dynamic, diverse, and fastest growing union -- representing more than 82,000 members who work in every sector of the economy and live in every community across the province including approximately 3,500 staff at BC Liquor and Cannabis Stores and BCLDB warehouses.

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