VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Oct. 29, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Janitors at multiple buildings across the Lower Mainland have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a strike. Janitors will be launching pickets the week of November 2nd. The pickets will expand and escalate to dozens of Bee Clean sites throughout the Vancouver area.
Bee-Clean janitors have worked throughout the pandemic, helping to keep workplace and community spaces safe and sanitary. While the government and public has voiced their gratitude towards janitors for this essential work, Bee-Clean management continues to refuse to provide a fair wage, health benefits for all of its employees, and adequate paid sick days. Janitors have been coming to the bargaining table for well over a year to negotiate a fairer deal. Exasperated with Bee-Clean’s intransigence, janitors voted this week to strike.
Andrew Tsui, Bee-Clean janitor working at Lonsdale Quay, is frustrated with Bee-Clean’s unfairness. Tsui says: “My wages are so low that I feel that I have to come into work even when sick. I hate doing it because I don’t want to spread illness, but it's either that or paying rent.” He continues: “Bee-Clean has left us with no other option but to strike. We are going into this strike with strong support from our families and community members.”
Bee-Clean’s current proposal is unacceptable to janitors. It would incentivize the employer to cut full-time jobs and deny many Bee-Clean employee’s access to paid benefits. Furthermore, the proposal offers a wage increase that fails to keep pace with cost-of-living and rising janitorial wage standards in the Vancouver area. Bee-Clean’s offer would mean that front-line janitors would continue to have to work multiple jobs to make ends meet.
Janitors will be launching pickets starting the week of November 2nd in front of 6 buildings where Bee-Clean has been contracted, and are set to drastically increase this number as the strike goes on. Janitors are also launching buzzonbeeclean.ca to inform property owners and the public-at-large on the reality of Bee-Clean’s employment practices. A rally bringing together community members, politicians, janitors, workers’ allies and the public will be held later that week, with details to be announced.
SEIU Local 2 represents workers in Nova Scotia, Ontario, Alberta, New Brunswick and British Columbia.