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Component 5: Our fight for essential pay must continue - BCGEU

As a BCGEU member working at a BCLDB warehouse or retail store, you are receiving this communication from the Component 5 Campaigns Committee to let you know that our campaign to receive essential pay for essential work continues. 

In December, as the second wave of the pandemic intensified and British Columbians headed into the holiday season, our Vice President, Kusam Doal, explained the next steps of our campaign. Here's a summary of what's happened since then:

  • We sent a letter to BCLDB CEO & GM Blain Lawson requesting he wear a button and meet with us in January. He neither responded nor acknowledged these requests.
  • Our union's president, Stephanie Smith, requested a meeting with new Minister of Finance Selina Robinson to discuss our needs (amongst other topics). That request has not yet been fulfilled.
  • We used social media to amplify our campaign on December 8, December 10, December 18, December 21.
  • We told the media about our needs and actions. In an interview with CFAX, our union's treasurer Paul Finch explained the reasons for our campaign and in another interview with CBC, Paul also expressed hope that the province will reconsider including many frontline BCGEU members in the Temporary Pandemic Pay program.
  • We initiated a job action survey amongst ourselves, to figure out what we're willing to do next. 
  • We launched a website dedicated to telling our story, which we continue to update with media hits and members' stories.

In short: We have not yet achieved our goal, but we have made some progress, and there is still opportunity. Here's what we encourage you to do next:

  1. Complete the job action survey here ASAP. 

  2. Continue wearing a button. Read these FAQs to inform yourself about how to talk to management, customers and friends about them. And if you don't have a button, request one by responding to this email.

  3. Continue sharing your concerns:
    a. Join the campaign's working group. Contact BCGEU Organizer Scott Drake, 604-789-9355, [email protected].
    b. Answer your phone when a comrade calls to chat about the job action survey or to check we have your correct contact details.
    c. Share your experience and photos wearing buttons on social media. Be sure your photos adhere to health protocols (wear a mask, keep physical distance) and use the campaign hashtags #essentialBCLDB and #thankmewithessentialpay and tag @bcgeu. Or submit your photos to [email protected] with your name, store/warehouse name and union local number and we'll share for you.

Finally, you should know that, while pursuing cooperation from Blain, we are not at a dead end – we will now be directly targeting Minister of Finance, Selina Robinson, to release the necessary funds to provide the recognition we deserve.

We know this is a marathon we're running, not a sprint. It's been two months since we solidified our campaign, 10 months since we were excluded from the province's Temporary Pandemic Pay program and 12 months since we were deemed essential, but it's been years of fighting our employer and government to better our working conditions. It is critical that we continue to channel our anger into solidarity and courageous action. We commend you for what you've done so far, and we are right beside you as we move forward together.

If you have any questions about this campaign or other issues, please respond to this email.

In solidarity,
Component 5 Campaigns Committee