FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 16, 2018
UBC-Okanagan cleaners overwhelmingly vote yes to join SEIU Local 2 after defeat of boss ‘union’
A 90 percent yes vote sends strong message of cleaners’ commitment to be part of a real union at public post-secondary institutions in BC
KELOWNA, BRITISH COLUMBIA –– Cleaners at the University of British Colombia-Okanagan campus celebrate a massive victory after voting Tuesday to join the Service Employees’ International Union (SEIU) Local 2.
“We have finally liberated ourselves from CLAC,” exclaimed Roshawn Nicholson, a cleaner at UBC-Okanagan and one of the worker witnesses that testified at the BC Labour Relations Board earlier this year. “The most powerful part of this process has been us coming together to demand the respect we deserve. There is power in unity and we are undeniably unified,” said Nicholson.
Their victory comes less than a month after the BC Labour Relations Board declared the ‘union’ contract between the Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC) and the cleaning contractor, Best Service Pros invalid, and only 2 weeks after another major win for the Justice for Janitors movement at the British Colombia Institute of Technology (BCIT).
SEIU Local 2 had challenged the contract, arguing that CLAC colluded with Best Service Pros to force a 10-year backroom deal on workers.
“We were sure it was only a matter of time before we were victorious,” said Nadia Khlafa, another Best cleaner leading the union drive at UBCO. “We as workers face a lot of exploitation and abuse in the cleaning sector and know that by being part of Justice for Janitors, we finally have a voice and our managers will be held more accountable for the decisions they make.”
The UBCO win adds momentum to workers’ ongoing union drive with SEIU at the Vancouver Community College and Langara College, which are the last two campuses under Best Service Pros that fought to get out of CLAC.
With UBCO joining the cleaners at BCIT and Capilano University, over 200 cleaners will continue building a stronger union and keep fighting for better working conditions at BC’s post-secondary institutions.
SEIU’s Justice for Janitors is a movement of workers that has successfully organized to improve wages, benefits, and job security for over 7,000 janitors across Canada. SEIU’s goal is to
organize all janitors in BC, so together, workers can raise standards in the janitorial sector and reverse the race to the bottom.
For more information, please visit www.bestworkersdeservebetter.com
Christine Bro: 778-996-4008, firstname.lastname@example.org