It’s the end of the line for 50 janitors belonging to Local 2 of the Service Employees International Union.
Today is their last day on the job at Canada Line as the transit system has brought in a new company to deliver cleaning services.
“Tomorrow they have no work,” SEIU lead organizer Christine Bro told the Georgia Straight by phone Monday (September 17).
The cleaners are employed by GDI Integrated Facilities Services, which has maintained Canada Line facilities for the past eight years.
According to an SEIU media advisory, GDI has “consistently received good reviews from Protrans”, the private company and SNC-Lavalin Inc. subsidiary that operates Canada Line.
However, GDI did not get a new contract, and another cleaning company called Tricom was brought in.
On August 20, the 50 janitors received layoff notices from GDI. Tricom refused to hire the unionized workers.
In the interview, Bro said that this situation highlights a loophole in the B.C. Labour Code.
According to Bro, the law lacks successorship provisions such that companies that get new contracts are not obligated to hire current workers on the job.
In its media advisory, SEIU explained that this gap “creates a situation where companies can exploit contract flipping by not hiring the current employees and consequently, circumvent collective bargaining agreements and lower working conditions”.
The same advisory announced that a complaint for unfair labour practice has been filed against Tricom before the B.C. Labour Relations Board.
A solidarity rally will be held today outside the Vancouver City Centre Station starting at 3:45 p.m.