Bee-Clean Janitors in Lower Mainland Make Huge Gains!
In November 2020, Bee-Clean workers unionized with SEIU Local 2 won their first collective bargaining agreement in British Colombia. Through their union, the workers refused to give up and by staying strong and united were able to put enough pressure on Bee-Clean that the company conceded to some of their key demands.
Together, these Bee-Clean workers not only won ground-breaking improvements for themselves and their families but have also created a pathway for non-union Bee-Clean workers to unionize and enjoy these same benefits right away.
Watch the video below to see what Bee-Clean workers have to say about their fight and collective achievements.
Learn how you can have these same benefits!
These are some of the most significant improvements Bee-Clean janitors won through collective bargaining:
- Guaranteed wage increases every year that keep workers significantly above the minimum wage
- Pay premiums for lead hands, project workers and graveyard shifts
- Guarantees that workers getting paid rates at or higher than those on the pay grid will also get raises every year and never suffer a reduction in pay.
- Health and Welfare Benefits that include medical, dental, vision care, short-term disability and more!
- Additional Paid Stat Holiday – Boxing day
- Paid Personal/Sick Days – 3 paid days off per year that can be used for personal emergencies, illness, or non-emergency related absences.
- Better Vacation Pay & Leave of Absence for up to 3 months that can be combined with vacation and protects seniority and the job when a worker returns
- Paid Bereavement Leave – 3 paid days for immediate family, 1 day for in-laws
- Job Security – Grievance Procedure and Protection against unjust terminations or disciplines and any potential contract changes in the future
- Job Vacancy, Lay-off & Recall rights that will protect the seniority of workers for 1 year if there is layoff and give current workers priority to new job postings
- Strong language on Health & Safety, Discrimination & Harassment
- Lay-off & Recall language – Employees will keep seniority for 1 year if they are laid off
Janitors working for Bee-Clean Building Maintenance in British Columbia have been on the frontlines before and during the Covid-19 pandemic, protecting public health and safety. Despite the increased risks brought on by COVID-19, Bee-Clean janitors have continued to work with no health benefits, no paid sick days, no job security and low wages. The company is one of Canada’s largest and fastest growing cleaning contractors.
Low standards are unacceptable during the best of times, but it’s even more objectionable during a pandemic. Responding to these poor working conditions, Bee-Clean workers across B.C.’s Lower Mainland began organizing in late 2019 under the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 2’s Justice for Janitors campaign.
In September 2019, Bee-Clean janitors at two Oxford Properties sites in Vancouver (401 West Georgia and 355 Burrard Street) voted to unionize so they could win job security and better working conditions for their families. Bee-clean subsequently attempted to displace almost all of the newly unionized workforce, arguing that the new successorship provisions instituted in May 2019 by the BC provincial government should not apply to this group of workers. The BC Labour Relations Board held an expediated hearing on this matter and ruled that Bee-Clean is the successor contractor. This meant that the janitors’ jobs were protected and that they would have the opportunity to negotiate much-needed work and safety improvements.
Shortly thereafter, in October 2019, another Oxford Properties site (1055 West Hastings) also voted to join the Union. The newly unionized workers began negotiations in December 2019 for a first collective agreement with the goal of establishing decent working standards for Bee-Clean workers across the province. In response, Bee-Clean used every bureaucratic and legal trick in the book to delay and postpone bargaining and thwart the workers’ momentum. But as Bee-Clean delayed, more and more Bee-Clean workers unionized and joined the fight for better wages, health and safety, and job security.
Here are some of the recently unionized Bee-Clean workplaces:
- February 2021: Bee-Clean workers cleaning 768 Seymour voted to unionize with SEIU Local 2.
- October 2020: Bee-Clean janitors cleaning at Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers building in Burnaby voted to join the Union.
- August 2020: The Telus Gardens Bee-Clean worksite applied to unionize in mid-August.
- June 2020: Workers at Tsawwassen and Lonsdale Quay markets join Bee-Clean unionized worksites.
- February 2020: Bee-Clean workers at 777 Hornby, a property owned by the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI), voted to join SEIU Local 2. BCI is one of Canada’s largest institutional investors.
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Bee-Clean Workers across the Province of New Brunswick have ratified their first collective agreement with SEIU Local 2.
Racism is key to maintaining this unfair and unjust economic system. Racism is used to divide working class people and keep us from uniting to challenge the rich and powerful who benefit from a rigged economy.
In her 37 years working abroad, Loida Ubay has supported her parents and eight nieces and nephews in the Philippines.
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“I do the work because it’s my job,” said Loida. “It makes it possible for other people to work.”