Janitors standing outside the BC Hydro building
BC Hydro cleaners had the support of BC Federation of Labour, represnting over 500,000 workers in BC. Workers stand with President of BC Federation of Labour Laird Cronk and Secretary-Treasurer Sussanne Skidmore.

BC Hydro Janitors fight back contract flip … and win!

Posted by J4J@L2 on February 22, 2019

Janitors at BC Hydro are celebrating a huge win after averting a contract flip that could have cost them their jobs and union.

This victory has a massive impact on the lives of these workers and their families. It means that their union contract and its guarantees are now protected.

For the past two months, the BC Hydro janitors at Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey worksites have been appealing to BC Hydro, the property manager, BGIS, and the government to find a fair solution to their precarious situation.

Janitors meet with MLAs at the BC Legislature
Janitors at BC Hydro meet with Minister of Energy Michelle Mungall and Minister of Labour Harry Bains in Victoria just ahead of Throne Speech – February 12, 2019

Last week, a delegation of five janitors from the BC Hydro worksites attended a meeting with Energy Minister Michelle Mungall and Labour Minister Harry Bains in Victoria.

Conception Hipona, a janitor at BC Hydro and member of the delegation explained to both Ministers that “we understand that successorship rights will be legislated later this year but before that happens, we need guarantees right now. The government should be setting the standard higher, not bringing it down.”

The BC Legislature

Just one day after their visit to Victoria, the janitors received news that BC Hydro would allow the current cleaning contractor GDI Integrated Facilities to keep the cleaning contract.

All this goes to show that when workers unite, stand up for our rights and fight back, we win.

This victory is in no small part due to the support they felt from the larger labour community and more directly, the employees of BC Hydro, represented by both MoveUp and IBEW Local 258. Both unions showed deep solidarity at a time when these workers were in need and we are extremely grateful.