Workers at two buildings cleaned by National Building Maintenance Ltd. joined SEIU Local 2 this month, making them the first group of cleaners to work at unionized NBM worksites in Vancouver. They join thousands of unionized janitors across the Lower Mainland in the fight for better working conditions in British Columbia’s janitorial industry.
“We knew it was time to form a union at work,” said Maribel Armas. “It was clear that we were getting left behind as workers doing the same job as us are getting paid more and have access to health and dental benefits because they have a union.” Maribel has worked with NBM at the 900 Howe sites for five years on minimum wage and no health benefits.
Workers at 900 Howe were the first group to apply for their union at the BC Labour Relations Board on October 7, 2022. The day they received their union certification from the Labour Board, a second group of workers servicing another downtown Vancouver building, 605 Robson Street (Vancouver Block), filed a variance application at the Labour Board to join the first group.
“This is really a big win for us as workers because we came together and overcame any fears we had so we can have a better future,” exclaimed Azeb Legalese, who has worked with NBM for four years. “We are hoping workers at other buildings will also join us so we can be stronger when we bring our collective demands forward.”
National Building Maintenance Ltd is a janitorial company that services multiple sites in the Lower Mainland.