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We’re rallying at Minister Robinson’s office for essential pay - 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.

Since March 30 when we last wrote to you, over 1,700 emails have been sent to Finance Minister Selina Robinson asking her to authorize the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch (BCLDB) and BCLDB CEO & GM Blain Lawson to provide essential pay. You, your fellow members and our community supporters are responsible for this show of solidarity. Be proud – together we are acting on Blain's message that government has the power to make essential pay for BCLDB workers happen. 

Despite this effort, Selina hasn't yet done what we're asking for. We must continue calling on her. We need to ensure that government – and Blain – know that we're not backing down. So, we're going to rally outside her offices on Wednesday, April 14. 

Will you join us at one of the following rallies? Let us know by responding to this email. 

Rally at Minister Robinson's Offices

When:Wednesday, April 14, 2021 at 9 a.m.

Selina Robinson's Constituency Office, 102-1108 Austin Avenue, Coquitlam (map) and Legislative Assembly of B.C., 501 Belleville Street, Victoria (map - back steps near the fountain on the southside of the building)

These rallies will be friendly, respectful and peaceful. 
The goal is to ensure that Selina and Blain see us in collective action for our collective demand (essential pay), and to invite our fellow workers and citizens (i.e., the public) to join us. Remember: Robinson's office is staffed by BCGEU members and surrounded by small businesses and residents – all of whom are our allies. We will be notifying the media about the rallies in hopes they will amplify our call.

These rallies will adhere to COVID-19 health protocols. 
Wear your mask. Use hand sanitizer. Keep your distance from others. Don't attend if you have any cold symptoms. We have been following these protocols at work throughout the entire pandemic to keep ourselves and the public as safe as possible; let's continue doing so at the rallies. 
Ways to participate in the rallies:

If you can attend in person:

  • Make your own sign – e.g., "Essential Pay for Essential Work" or "essentialBCLDB"
  • Bring something that makes noise.
  • Wear your BCGEU mask (or any mask).
  • Wear your "Essential Pay for Essential Work" button and review the FAQs to talk effectively about it. (Don't have a button? Request one by responding to this email.)
  • Download the rally posters (for Coquitlam and for Victoria) and the flyer we'll be distributing at the event
  • Post to social media about your live experience – follow our social media "do's and don'ts", make sure your photos of people show that they're following COVID-19 protocols (spaced out, wearing masks), and tag @selinarobinson and #essentialBCLDB

If you can't attend in person:

  • Send Selina an email using our tool
  • Use social media (while following our social media "do's and don'ts"):
    • Tweet that the rally is happening
    • Share the button or a photo of yourself at work wearing your button
    • Tweet your support for essential pay
    • Make or share a meme
    • Tag @selinarobinson and #essentialBCLDB

Remember: Although we're showing up at Selina's, we're not easing up on Blain. No matter how many times he claims that he can't provide essential pay, we believe he could be doing more to advocate for us. Our call for essential pay for essential work is reasonable and absolutely possible. 

Finally, the provincial government made its Throne Speech today, and although the Lieutenant Governor acknowledged front line workers, there was no mention of financially compensating those who weren't included in the former Temporary Pandemic Pay program. And on April 9, our BCGEU Component Vice President, Kusam Doal, met with Selina's Ministerial Assistant to ask for the authorization we seek, but we didn't receive any concrete assurance. We must not allow government – our employer – to forget us. We must keep taking action.

If you have any questions, please respond to this email.
In solidarity,
Component 5 Campaigns Committee