Central Bargaining Updates

June 7, 2023

On Saturday June 3, hundreds of SEIU members voted 99% YES in favour of a strike.

This vote had more than double the participation of our last bargaining meeting and sends a strong message to Employers that SEIU members are ready to fight for improvements and to win wages that keep up with the rising cost of living.

The Bargaining Committee is set to go back to the table on June 14. 

Before then, we need to start preparing for a strike action in the case that the Employers continue to take a hard stance towards our key issues:

  • cost of living wage increases
  • a pension plan,
  • job security language that protects us from subcontracting.

How will we prepare for what comes next?

1) Sign Pledge cards at your worksites

Over the next couple of weeks, members will start signing pledge cards at their worksites as we start planning and building towards escalating waves of strikes at some of the key properties of the eight Employers at the central table.

2) Educate yourself on how strikes work in BC

Review our strike flyer which goes over four key questions about how strikes function in British Columbia and the legal rights and power you have during a strike. Also, it was announced at the June 3 meeting that the SEIU Executive Board has agreed to supplemental strike pay and has increased the amount to $500/week.

3) Attend the J4J Picnic June 18 from 12pm to 5pm at Burnaby Central Park

As part of the picnic festivities, the Bargaining Committee will also give a quick report back on how bargaining went on June 14. At the picnic, we may be in a position where we are voting on a contract or planning for strike actions to begin on the week of June 26.

**Note that the picnic will go on in rain or shine and we will have a large tent set up at the event. 

Elsa Paulino, SEIU Local 2 member working at Bee Clean

“I’m all in and have signed my pledge card to strike! Together, we must be ready to take action if that’s necessary to winning the fair Union contract we deserve.”

– Elsa Paulino, Bee-Clean

May 31, 2023

June 3: Strike Vote Meeting!

Our Bargaining Committee has gone through six days of bargaining with eight Employers at the central table. We have made some progress at the negotiating table, however, Employers have not yet committed to some of our key issues and priorities.

For that reason, the Bargaining Committee is seeking a strike mandate from the membership before returning to the table on June 14 in order to show the Employers how serious and resolved the membership is about winning a fair Union contract.

The meeting will be held between 10:30am-12:30pm.

500 Granville St, Vancouver
SFU Vancouver Segal Building
Room 1200-1500 | Main Floor

Note to members in Kelowna and Victoria: A meeting location has also been set up for members in in Victoria and Kelowna to be able to join the meeting by Zoom and cast their strike ballot in person. Members living in these locations should have received separate messages about the location.

May 23, 2023

June 3: Important Membership Meeting! (UPDATED – SEE MAY 31!)

Our Bargaining Committee has gone through four days of bargaining with eight Employers at the central table.

We will be back at the negotiating table on May 30 & 31 to present our monetary proposals to these Employers and expect they will take the same hardline approach they did with non-monetary issues.

The June 3 meeting will be an update on where we are in the bargaining process and/or whether we need to take a strike vote that day.

The meeting will be held between 10:30am-12:30pm.

500 Granville St, Vancouver
SFU Vancouver Segal Building
Room 1200-1500 | Main Floor

May 15, 2023

As you are all aware, we have started bargaining with eight Employers at the same central table. Our Bargaining Committee has now gone through two days of negotiations that principally dealt with non-monetary issues. We went into bargaining with the idea that we would protect nonmonetary language that we had won in past bargaining so we could quickly move to discussing the monetary issues, which is our key priority.

Employers are attempting to get concessions on some important non-monetary issues we fought hard to win over the years. Below are the three key outstanding issues we will continue fighting to protect.

1) Language that protects our jobs against subcontracting.

In our proposals, we chose to have strong language against subcontracting because we know companies often bring
in subcontractors to cut labour costs and take work away from Bargaining Unit members. We cannot accept this, as it’s a matter of our job security and must be protected.

“Job security was one of the most important issues in our surveys. The use of subcontractors is something that we have been fighting against at my worksite. Employers should not be allowed to replace our work with subcontractors.”
— Mahesh Raju, C&W Services

2) No medical note until 3 days of paid sick leave.

In some of our contracts, we already have language that says a company can only ask for a sick note if you are sick for 3 or more days and that they have to reimburse you for the cost of the note. The contractors are attempting to remove this language and asking for a sick note even if it’s only one day! This is an attempt to create barriers for workers needing to use paid sick days and will put further drain on our healthcare system, which is already in crisis.

“Management wants to force us to provide a doctor’s note when we are sick for just one day to get paid. This just makes it difficult for us to use our paid sick days, and in some cases will result in members going to work sick, which is not good for anyone.”
— Elsa Paulino, Bee-Clean

3) Protecting existing privileges and working conditions.

We have language that prevents an Employer from cancelling any existing privileges and special working conditions a member may have in the workplace. While this language does not cost Employers anything extra, they are trying to remove it. They want the freedom to remove
any existing privileges unilaterally and subsequently blame the “Union’s Collective

“We have had this protection in our contract for years and will not accept having it removed now. This would give Employers the green light to eliminate advantages that may have not been captured in bargaining. We need to make sure that as workers we are always moving forward, not backwards.”
— Emyll Garcia, GDI Integrated Facility Services

As your committee, we will never support or recommend any proposals with these concessions. Together, we must be ready to fight not only for all the improvements we deserve, but also to defend the significant gains we already won in bargaining over the years!

Our next bargaining dates are set for May 17 & 18.

April 21, 2023

To prepare for bargaining, our 50-member action committee met on April 21st and elected the Bargaining Committee who will be at the negotiating table. Survey results and next steps were discussed with the membership the following day at a General Membership meeting. We are currently in the process of finalizing our proposals for when we start bargaining on May 3.

Meet your Bargaining Committee!

From left to right: Rizalina Gallardo (Best-Post-Secondary), Ariel Dela Riarte (GDI), Roland Gonzalez (Alpine), Agnes Estimo (Best), Baljinder Khangura (Hallmark), Elsa Paulino (Bee-Clean), Rekha Chander (Ultra-tech), Emyll Garcia (GDI), Zenaida Pineda (BGIS), Catherine Bussey  (Bee-Clean-Skytrain), Mahesh Raju (C&W)