Vancouver, B.C.

WORKERS PRAISE BCGEU FOR SUCCESSFUL FIGHT

Teodoro Alcuitas
Editor, PhilippineCanadianNews.Com

Over 200 workers in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland Society for Community Living (LMSCL) won approximately $2.6 million in unpaid overtime and holiday pay.

The settlement came about as a result of a complaint by four workers filed at the Employment Standards Service Branch (ESB) in May 2019, according to a press release by the BC Government Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU).

BCGEU’s Andrea Duncan

BCGEU’s Andrea Duncan.

“This is a high victory for these community living workers,” said Andrea Duncan, vice-president of BCGEU’s social service component.Most of the 200 workers are Filipino-Canadians, according to the release.

Community Living BC is a provincial crown agency, that funds supports and services for adults with developmental disabilities and their families in B.C.

Workers provide care to clients 24 hours a day, according to the release.

“After years of unfairness, I wanted to make sure that it stopped for me and my coworkers,” said one of the complainants who did not want to be identified.

She said the union has given her a “bright hope” and she is looking for better days ahead, knowing that “I will be supported all the way through.”

“If I don’t have a union to support me, I might just keep silent even though I’m hurting inside and just go with what my company is doing to me. Sometimes you get so numb in the process of everyday abuse,” adds the worker who said this is her first experience joining a union.

The employer argued that the workers were live-in home support workers and they (employer) were exempted from paying overtime and statutory pay under the Employment Standards Act.

The employer appealed the initial decision of the ESB but lost after an investigation found they owed the workers over $2.6 million in unpaid wages.

“I’m so proud of these BCGEU members and the work they have done to get fairness at their workplace,” said Duncan.

Duncan praised the workers as “an inspiration and a powerful example of what workers can achieve when they work together to stand up against their employer.”