In June 2020, janitors employed by Everclean Building Maintenance at Uptown unionized with SEIU Local 2 so they could win improvements at work. After months of attempting to negotiate, Everclean refuses to provide paid sick days and a fair wage to their workers. Janitors have now voted to strike.
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The workers at Uptown — a property managed by Shapes — have been fighting for a first collective agreement for almost a year. Their Employer, however, is refusing to give workers any paid sick days and provide them with wages that meet the rising costs of living in Victoria, BC. This is unacceptable in normal times, but during a global health pandemic is abhorrent. The workers have now voted to go on strike and will engage in a work stoppage if Everclean does not provide a fair offer.
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought increased risks to frontline workers who have been keeping society running throughout this pandemic. Janitors working for Everclean have been essential to protecting the health and safety of the thousands of people in the Victoria and Saanich community who visit Uptown daily to work and for its various services, healthcare providers and retailers. According to Shapes Properties website, there are 23,000 visitors each day and 8.4 million visitors each year at Uptown Shopping Centre.
While Everclean and Shapes Property Management management has emphasized heightened attention to cleaning at Uptown and has shown verbal appreciation for the work of cleaners, this has not translated into better working conditions for the cleaners. Instead Everclean has delayed the bargaining process and offered next to nothing in negotiations.
It’s not right that the cleaners who risk their own health each day to protect the public are not being protected and fairly compensated. Everclean workers at Uptown have had enough and will be meeting soon to discuss the next steps needed to win a fair union contract.
Watch what workers and community supporters have to say about Everclean and Shapes Properties forcing workers to have to strike at Uptown Shopping Centre in the midst of a public health pandemic.
“We are cleaners working in highly trafficked public spaces in the middle of a pandemic, but we’re not being treated like we’re “essential” at all.”
Hannah Clearwater, JANITOR AT UPTOWN
“Months have passed at the bargaining table and Everclean refuses to respect our demands and take us seriously. Now is the time we do something about this. As workers, we have more power than we think and we should not be afraid to use it when we have to.
Lance Szpradowski, Bargaining Committee Member
“We have been working so hard during this pandemic but are not being fairly compensated. As Everclean continues to low ball us at the bargaining table, it’s more important than ever we stand together so we can win a strong union contract that we all deserve.”
Rob Watson, Bargaining Committee Member
Lance Szpradowski speaks with CFAX talk radio in Victoria about working conditions for Everclean janitors at Uptown Mall, and what janitors are asking
Janitors unionized with SEIU Local 2 have voted to strike at Uptown Shopping Centre in Victoria. Everclean janitors have been working with no paid sick