BC Place workers may picket through night: union
BC Government Employees Union workers strike outside of BC Place Stadium Monday, Jan. 28, 2013. (CTV)
CTV British Columbia
Published Monday, January 28, 2013 7:45AM PST
Last Updated Monday, January 28, 2013 3:47PM PST
Nearly 500 striking BC Place employees will keep picketing until further notice, a union spokeswoman said Monday.
“We will have members on the line into the evening and possibly beyond,” said Karen Tankard, BC Government Employees Union spokeswoman.
The 38 full-time workers and 460 part-time employees who are members of the BCGEU set up three picket lines around BC Place stadium early Monday to oppose current job security and wages.
Tankard said the union is also contesting management outsourcing work to contractors, something she said happened Saturday at a monster truck event.
"There was work going on to set up that event that was being done by contractors that our members feel should have been done by them,” she said.
“Our hope is this [strike] will convince management to come back to the bargaining table with a fair proposal,” she said. “We have offered management informal mediation and we’re just waiting for a call back.”
The union said the strike comes after three days of bargaining last week failed to produce a deal.
The affected employees work in the areas of trades, security, first aid, equipment and event setup, and housekeeping, though they don't include food service workers.
Upcoming events at BC Place include the Year of the Snake Expo, which promotes Asian arts and culture, the Vancouver International Boat Show, and the B.C. Home and Garden show.
Meanwhile, a director for the boat show said she expected the event to go ahead as planned on Feb. 7.
“Our understanding is that the parties involved will have a resolution in time for the start of our move-in,” Linda Waddell said.
Waddell said the strike has not impacted ticket sales for the five-day event, which features 250 exhibitors and thousands of attendees.
The boat show was previously delayed in 2005 when a labour dispute disrupted the start of the event.
“Having a labour disruption is not ideal for any event producer,” Waddell said. “Our industry really relies on this event for sales and for economic driver in the province. The show is very key for us for ensuring we have strong sales in the future.”
The BCGEU’s last contract expired at the end of May 2012. Members aren't entitled to any raises before May 31, 2013, Tankard said.
The union has not announced strike plans beyond Monday.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Lisa Rossington