Capilano janitors win right to join union

Cleaners at the North Vancouver university have been awarded the right to join SEIU Local 2

Capilano University in North Vancouver | Image: Google Maps

Cleaners at North Vancouver’s Capilano University have won the right to join the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 2.

On February 20, 2017, the BC Labour Board ordered ballots cast by 27 out of 29 cleaners to be unsealed.

Best Service Pros, the contractor that represents cleaners at Capilano University and many other post secondary-educations, objected the move to unionization.

In June 2016, Best Service Pros was awarded a cleaning contract at Langara College. Upon winning the contract, Best Service Pros contracted the CLAC to negotiate a 10-year agreement with minimal wage increases and no benefits before any worker was hired.

The same contract was delivered to BCIT cleaners in November 2016.

In April, workers at Capilano delivered a petition to their boss, along with letters of support from other unions on campus, asking Best Service Pros to drop legal objections to unionizing and allow ballots to be counted.

Due to Best entering a Voluntary Recognition Agreement with CLAC in 2016, the decision ruled in favour of unionization.

“This is an important victory,” says Cherish Lazo, member of the bargaining committee. “The wait was extremely frustrating but now, all we can think of, is starting to make improvements at work.”

The SEIU Local 2 has been spreading its Justice for Janitors campaign across Metro Vancouver. The union said the movement has improved wages, benefits and job security for over 7,000 janitors across the country.

The SEIU is the largest and fastest growing union in North America, with 100,000 workers in Canada and two million workers across Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico.