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We rallied for essential pay – this is just another step in our fight! - BCGEU

The following is an update from the BCGEU Component 5 Campaigns Committee, an appointed group of BCGEU members working at BCLDB warehouses and retail stores around the province.
The Finance Minister is starting to get the message that we’re not backing down on essential pay, thanks to 70 of us who rallied outside her offices in Coquitlam and Victoria this week!
Accompanied by some supportive sunshine, both rallies were a strong show of solidarity. Watch the video!
In Victoria: Twenty people rallied at the backsteps of the legislative building, including allies from CUPE and CUPW. Members brought impressive homemade signs and BCGEU Executive Vice President James Coccola and Component 5 Campaigns Committee Chair Matt Robinson addressed the safely-distanced crowd, then passed the mic around for everyone to share their experiences working during the pandemic and how it felt to be excluded from the Temporary Pandemic Pay program.
In Coquitlam: Outside Selina’s constituency office, 50 people rallied and represented 15 worksites. The crowd chanted and displayed meaningful signs, while BCGEU Treasurer Paul Finch, Component 5 Vice President Kusam Doal, and Component 5 Campaigns Committee Interim Chair Erica Cardarelli kept everyone motivated and informed.
We acknowledge that, although the BCGEU members who work in Selina’s office were informed of the rally in Coquitlam and of our health and safety measures, some of our fellow BCGEU members working in other BCNDP constituency offices had concerns. We are talking with these comrades directly and inviting them to join our campaign, as we are all one!
Kudos to everyone for showing up with short notice, on your way to or from work and, for some of you, on your day off! And also, well done adhering to COVID-19 health protocols. (It’s almost as if we’ve been doing it for a while…!)
For those who were unable to be there but were there in spirit – and on social media – your tweets and solidarity statements were critical to the pressure we’re building on Selina and Blain.
From the public, both rallies received honks of support from passing drivers and cheers from pedestrians.
The rallies also received some media coverage from Radio NL and BCGEU President Stephanie Smith’s interview (starts at 06:48) and from Tricity News, though Selina’s statement (and the article’s sub-headline) doesn’t accurately reflect our ask – to be clear, we’re not seeking essential pay from the now-ended federal-provincial Temporary Pandemic Pay program; we’re seeking essential pay from BCLDB pandemic revenues. Correct this where you can!
Overall, spirits were high and energizing at both rallies and much discussion was had about what’s next to keep the pressure building on Minister Robinson and the BCLDB, especially as we approach B.C. Budget Day tomorrow.
Do you have ideas about what we can do? Respond to this email and we’ll include you in the next campaigns planning meeting!
Until our next big action, here’s what we suggest:

  1. Email Selina Robinson and ask your community to do the same.
  2. Talk to your colleagues and fellow BCGEU members in other components about our fight for essential pay and how it benefits them.
  3. Wear your button. And read these FAQs to inform yourself how to talk about them with management, customers and your community. Don’t have a button? Request one by responding to this email.
  4. Post your support for #essentialBCLDB on social media, while following these “do’s and don’ts”. Or use this suggested tweet. Or share a meme. Or create one of your own!
  5. Add our button graphic to your social media profile or posts.

These rallies, and all our actions, are collectively generating much needed attention for our call for essential pay. When we all add our voice, time and energy, nothing can stop us in our fight for essential pay and fair treatment. Let’s keep it up!
In solidarity,
Component 5 Campaigns Committee