Uniting labour in our community

President's Blog

The Liberals are Throwing Injured Workers Under the Bus (Again)

The Liberals are Throwing Injured Workers Under the Bus (Again) – Article by Sarah O’Leary of Rush Crane & Guenther 

You may have heard that Christy Clark has proposed new legislation that promises employers they will receive millions of dollars earmarked for injured workers. http://www.pressreader.com/canada/timescolonist/20170402/281595240376219

The way the compensation system works is that employers pay an assessment per $100 of payroll into an “Accident Fund”. In return for this, workers give up the right to sue their employers but are supposed to be guaranteed benefits if they are injured on the job. Employers like this system; it keeps them safe from multimillion dollar lawsuits for negligent operation or dangerous workplaces.

After the Liberals came to power in 2001, they immediately attacked the Workers Compensation system. They took away many rights for injured workers and saved the employers hundreds of millions of dollars by reducing injured worker benefits. They even renamed it WorkSafeBC (rather than SafeworkBC) to shift the emphasis for safety to workers and away from employers.

Just a few of the changes that Christy Clark and the Liberals made:
 No more pensions for life, just to age 65.
 Benefits changed from 75% of gross to 90% of net!
 Those most seriously disabled and living on their WCB pensions had the cost of living increase limited to 1% BELOW the cost of living and never more than 4% no matter how high inflation goes.
 Canada Pension Plan-Disability is now clawed back by 50%
 Loss of earnings pensions were made very difficult to get, again for those who are so disabled by injury or occupational disease that they have to live on their WCB pensions, and a loss of income of 25% or less is deemed too insignificant to compensate!

Under the Liberals they even made a policy that employers who won their appeals would get interest on their awards but injured workers who had been living in poverty for years while they fought their appeals would get no interest at all when they finally won!

Now they have done it again. In blatant pandering to the business community Christy Clark and the Liberals have promised that if re-elected they will give even more to employers. The WCB has created surpluses by denying benefits to workers and reducing the benefits that they do get even if accepted. Now there is no room improving those benefits.

Stan Guenther of our office put it this way in a recent povnet post:
The WCB can manage the Accident Fund, including any surplus, in a way that might directly benefit injured workers, i.e. by easing some of the more draconian policies, by paying interest on retroactive entitlements, etc. etc. However, since 2002, the goal has been to ease the burden on employers, a goal well-achieved by the WCB. By forcing the WCB to refund surplus to employers, that power to revise policy to the benefit of injured workers will be limited, and in that regard, clearly the amendment will affect the benefits payable to injured workers. Again.

In 1986 the Socred government of Bill Bennett made a one-time payout to the employers of $99 million from the Accident Fund. There was such a huge uproar from the Labour Community and the NDP that the premier had to set up a Commission of Enquiry about the WCB. The result of this commission was a complete restructuring of the WCB so that it was fairer to workers.

Now they are proposing not a “one-time” payback, but a payback every year! We should all be screaming bloody murder about this outrageous transfer of wealth from workers to employers as a result of whittling down the compensation system.

We all need to remember this: only a change in provincial government will carry with it the possibility of the broad and significant steps required to protect injured workers.

Labour Canvasses – Starts TONIGHT!!

The BC Fed is coordinating Labour Canvassing for the 2017 Provincial Election!  The attached file lists all scheduled canvassing events to date – Labour Canvasses – 2017 Provincial Election Lower Mainland (see linked page for details)

April 19 – Wednesday

  • Burnaby Lougheed (Katrina Chen candidate) – 5:30 to 8:30 pm
  • Vancouver Mt. Pleasant & Vancouver Hastings (Melanie Mark & Shane Simpson candidates) – Young Worker training & canvassing – 6:00 to 8:00 pm

April 22 – Saturday

  • North Vancouver Lonsdale (Bowinn Ma candidate) – 10:00 am to 1:00 pm

April 29 – Saturday

  • Surrey Green Timbers (Rachna Singh candidate) – 10:00 am to 1:00 pm

May 4 – Thursday

  • Surrey Panorama (Jinny Sims candidate) – 5:00 to 8:00 pm

May 6 – Saturday

  • Vancouver Fairview (George Heyman candidate) – 10:00 am to 1:00 pm
    • With Joey Hartman – VDLC President – RSVP to VDLC office

 

Labour Canvasses – Starting April 8… this Saturday

Saturday, April 8  – 10:30 am to 1 pm

Please sign up and commit a few hours of your time to electing progressive candidates. Your time and commitment will make the difference in bringing about an NDP victory.  For more information and to RSVP, please contact Lynn Bueckert at the BCFED – lbueckert@bcfed.ca or 604 446 8303.

These will be happening regularly leading up to the election.  Join labour leaders in the following canvasses:

 Join BCFED President, Irene Lanzinger and Burnaby Teachers’ Association

Campaign: Janet Routledge – Burnaby North NDP Campaign

Place: Burnaby North NDP campaign office,  109 – 3701 East Hastings St (corner of Hastings and Boundary), Burnaby  Phone: 604 299 7374

  • or

Join BCGEU President, Stephanie Smith and the Burnaby Teachers’ Association

Campaign: Katrina Chen – Burnaby-Lougheed NDP Campaign

Place: Burnaby-Lougheed NDP campaign office, 242-9855 Austin Ave ( inside Lougheed Mall)  Phone: 604 421 1297

  • or

Join PSAC Alternate Regional Vice President, Jamey Mills

Campaign: Bowinn Ma – North Vancouver-Lonsdale NDP Campaign

Place: North Vancouver – Lonsdale NDP campaign office, 1309 Lonsdale, North Vancouver  Phone: 604 880 4053

  • or

Join CUPE BC Treasurer, Trevor Davies

Campaign: Lisa Beare – Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadow  &  Bob D’Eith, Maple Ridge-Mission

Place: Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge-Mission campaign office, 22335 Lougheed Hwy, Maple Ridge  Phone: 778 893 6244

 

10 Things Unions are Looking for in Budget 2017

The CLC has posted a new article on the 2017 Federal Budget:  http://canadianlabour.ca/news/news-archive/10-things-unions-are-looking-budget-2017 

After the Trudeau government introduced its first budget last year, Canada’s unions were optimistic, but knew that much more would be needed to really build a fairer and more prosperous Canada. Infrastructure funding, and improvements to EI and the Guaranteed Income Supplement for seniors emerged as highlights in the 2016 budget.

But working Canadians and their families were left waiting for sustained funding for health care and child care, and action on other key campaign commitments.

Here are the top 10 things Canada’s unions are looking for in the 2017 federal budget:  (details in link above)

  1. Education & Training
  2. Pharmacare and Sustained, Fair Funding for Health Care
  3. Infrastructure
  4. Child Care
  5. Fairer, More Accessible Employment Insurance
  6. Green Job Creation
  7. Refugee Resettlement Services
  8. Support for Good Jobs
  9. Indigenous Justice and Reconciliation
  10. Fairness for Mirgrant Workers

Expression of Interest to Work Key Campaign for Provincial Election Campaign

The VDLC invites expressions of interest for an opportunity to be assigned to a key NDP provincial election campaign for approximately one month, ending the day after E-Day, May 9, 2017.

The specific constituency will be determined by the VDLC and will be within the labour council’s regional jurisdiction.

The intention is to bring skills and commitment to the campaign and to coordinate activities with the VDLC, combined with an opportunity to gain campaign experience and build leadership skills.

Responsibilities:

  • To work under the direction of the campaign manager to contribute to the successful election of the candidate
  • To coordinate VDLC participation in activities such as labour volunteer door knocking blitz nights and other events for both the specific campaign and additional campaigns

Selection Criteria:

  • The successful candidate will be a VDLC delegate (preferred) or other labour activist with demonstrated ability and energy to effectively contribute to an NDP campaign during the provincial election.

Terms:

  • The VDLC will cover the book-off costs for approximately one calendar month with an end date to include May 10, 2017 (the day after the May 9 E-day)
  • Securing book-off is the responsibility of the successful applicant and their local union, and can then be invoiced to the VDLC for the amount charged by the employer
  • The actual number of days will be determined by the cost per day of wage and benefit replacement to a maximum of $5,000.00
  • Extended and irregular hours, including weekends and evenings, is expected
  • This opportunity is subject to funding approval.

Application Deadline:   5:00 pm, Monday, March 6, 2017

Forward letters of applications and a resume detailing applicable labour movement and political campaign skills and experience, with the subject line “Expression of Interest” to:

Joey Hartman, President – 111 – 170 Victoria Drive, Vancouver, BC V5L 4C4

Ph:       604-254-0703              Email:  president@vdlc.ca

Provincial Election Campaign – Together for BC

BC Provincial Election – May 9 is coming fast!

The campaign brings affiliates together to talk about the issues that are important to them and bring those issues that resonate back to their memberships and the public to talk about why they need to get out and vote May 9.  The campaign came about through the work being done on the Fight for $15 campaign, the mobilization and its success reaching people.  The umbrella campaign brings in issues of public education, healthcare, transit, childcare, family services, and more.  The BC Fed has hired 10 organizers across the province working to train volunteers to go out and talk to people about the election and have them pledge to vote on May 9.  Anyone interested in having someone come to meetings or events can go to the website – www.togetherforbc.ca, or contact the BC Fed.  Delegates were asked to bring the information on the campaign back to their locals.

better can happen here

Jan 21 – Women’s March on Washington IN VANCOUVER

On Saturday, January 21 at 10 am at Jack Poole Plaza, the Vancouver and District Labour Council will join the BC Fed in a march with women from around the world.  March’s are being organized around the world on January 21st, the day Donald Trump is being inaugurated as US President.  The BC Federation of Labour is assisting to organize the Vancouver Women’s March with a group of community and union women to mobilizing as women and supporters of women to protect our rights and civil liberties.  

Marches are being organized in major cities in the United States and throughout the world.  We stand in solidarity with other women’s marches being held on January 21st. We want our international solidarity to be seen and heard by the new administration.

TAKE A STAND AND SUPPORT THE RIGHTS OF ALL WOMEN

Open to people of all genders, races, abilities, religious communities, political affiliations, and sexual orientations.

Gather at Jack Poole Plaza and march to the American Consulate, the Trump Tower, and back to Jack Poole Plaza.  Bring your banners, bring your friends, bring your family.

Check out the event on Facebook- Women’s March – Vancouver & help spread the word.

You can also help the organizers and RSVP YOUR ATTENDANCE:
https://actionnetwork.org/events/womens-march-vancouver?source=twitter

We look forward to seeing you on January 21st at 10:00 am.

 

TELL US WHY YOU MARCH – AT – #WHYIMARCH

VDLC Honours Ellen Woodsworth with Syd Thompson Community Service Award

This year’s award will be presented Thursday, December 8 at the United Way’s Labour Appreciation Dinner at the Hilton Metrotown Hotel.

The Syd Thompson Community Service Award honours an individual who has made a significant contribution to the labour movement and our broader community.  The award is named for Brother Syd Thompson who served as VDLC President in the 1970s and exemplified the spirit of community and labour activism.

This year the VDLC is proud to present the award to Ellen Woodsworth, who’s lifelong contribution to political, social justice, and equity seeking work deserves to be acknowledged.

Please join us December 8th when we present the award to Ellen and enjoy an evening celebrating labour.

For event & ticket information – http://www.uwlm.ca/events/labour-appreciation-dinner/

City of Vancouver – Votes “YES” to Living Wage

City of Vancouver becomes a Living Wage employer!  The campaign to persuade Vancouver City Council to be a living wage employer began in 2008.  On September 21, 2016 council voted “yes” to this important initiative setting the standard for a modest living for a family of 2 adults supporting 2 children.  The 2016 amount is calculated at $20.64 per hour for both adults working 40 hours each week.  Any non-mandatory benefits paid by employers are counted towards the rate.

See opinion article from the Vancouver Sun – http://vdlc.ca/about-us/vdlc-in-the-media/