Justice for Janitors: SEIU Local 2’s Fight for Job Security in Vancouver

Discover the impactful work of SEIU Local 2, a dynamic private-sector labour union in Vancouver, BC and learn how they empower janitors through the Justice for Janitors campaign. This initiative has transformed the lives of thousands by securing a city-wide collective agreement, advocating for job security, and addressing the precarious nature of work. Gain insights from Alicia Massie, SEIU Local 2’s Research Coordinator, as she shares the union’s efforts to combat job precarity and her excitement about the potential of sectoral bargaining to revolutionize unionization in BC and Canada.

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Canada’s broken promises to migrant care workers

Despite the government’s promise to offer permanent residency to migrant care workers applying to the new pilot programs, there currently remains a large number of unprocessed applications from migrant care workers who will continue to be drawn from the Global South and classified as temporary labour. Canada’s care worker programs have largely drawn from the Philippines in the past two decades. Exacerbated by long PR processing times, these workers face chronic uncertainty, prolonged family separation, continual precarious employment and economic insecurity. Migrant Care Workers Precarity Project’s investigation found that despite the elimination of the live-in requirement in 2014, many migrant care workers who arrived under the 2019 pilot programs are still economically compelled to reside with their employers.

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Trapped in the wage gap

New data obtained by CCPA-BC from Statistics Canada reveals that one third of BC’s paid employees earn less than the living wage in their community—more than 740,000 people. Over 400,000 people earn less than $20 per hour, a wage lower than the lowest living wage calculated in the province. Even with the minimum wage increase, far too many workers will remain trapped in the low wage gap, earning less than it costs to live in our province. These workers face impossible choices—buy groceries or heat the house, keep up with bills or pay the rent on time. The result can be spiraling debt, constant anxiety and long-term health problems. It often means working long hours, sometimes at multiple jobs, just to pay for necessities.

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