KDLC Calls for Full Panel Review on Ajax


The Kamloops and District Labour Council called on federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna to order a full panel review of the proposed Ajax mine project. The labour organization joined the City of Kamloops, the Thompson Nicola Regional District, and the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation who have also requested a more rigorous review.

KDLC represents over 11,000 unionized public and private sector workers in the Kamloops area voted without dissension to send a letter to the Environment Minister in hopes to encourage the review.

“Our labour organization supports good local, family supporting jobs especially when our unemployment rate is higher than the provincial average,” said President Barb Nederpel. “We also believe that a project of this size and location warrants the best scientific review possible so the results will be received by the public with greater confidence.”

The recent SLR Consulting report on KGHM’s 18,000 page application has left many in Kamloops doubting the completeness of KGHM’s application and wanting more details.

“Given the size of the mine and its proximity to Kamloops, it is baffling that the current federal environment minister wouldn’t immediately order a full panel review” said Nederpel. “We are asking this minister to side with the City of Kamloops, the TNRD, First Nations, and now the KDLC to order the review this project needs.”

KDLC has a proud record of supporting mining and miners in the Kamloops area and across the province.

“Labour will continue to stand with working people and will fight to ensure that mining jobs go first to local workers, British Columbians, and Canadians, who are in strong unions to ensure the best health and safety standards possible, and fair wages and benefits to support families and strengthen the local economy” said Nederpel. “We will not stand by and allow the exploitation of temporary foreign workers.”

Letter to Minister McKenna

Take a closer look at private laundry

DSC_0172The case of the laundry workers in Interior Health goes far beyond the superficial views of those who say this contracting out is a “no-brainer.” The new contract between Interior Health Authority (IHA) and Ecotex, resulting in 93 full time equivalents across the region, is cited to save $35 million over 20 years and that the employer will ease the transition of the workers into new opportunities. This is enough consolation for some people to not give it a second thought.

IHA says that they are going to ensure that they will find alternate employment or retraining for those who are displaced. Truth of the matter is that displacement language is a collective agreement right that was bargained by the Hospital Employees Union (HEU) to help protect members in cases such as these.

A retraining fund exists from what remains after HEU won the settlement of Bill 29 in the Supreme Court of Canada when the BC Liberals contracted out hospital support services in the lower mainland en masse resulting in the largest lay off of women workers in Canadian history. Another education fund came out of bargaining.

It is not the kind heart of the BC Liberals or of IHA that will ensure these workers have any options, but the persistent hard work of their union.

Regardless, when they displace these workers, they in turn displace other workers. At the end of the day, the only jobs created will be in a private facility in an undisclosed location (although expected to be Kelowna) at rock bottom wages, while family supporting jobs here in Kamloops will be lost.

What little we know of this contract is that it is over 20 very long years. It makes sense that this is required so that Ecotex can recuperate any of the costs of building a facility and purchasing the equipment needed. By the way, this is exactly the capital cost outlay that Interior Health references as the reason for contracting out in the first place. Except now, after 20 years, Ecotex will own the equipment, not the taxpayers.

But then one news report states the new contract is $11 million per year (CBC) while another (Nelson Star) states that laundry currently costs $10 million, it is hard to understand where they get $35 million in savings.

Ecotex themselves are trying to lighten the blow by stating that they will provide 90 – 100 full time, unionized jobs with competitive wages and benefits. However, it is believed that these Ecotex workers would be represented by CLAC which is hardly comforting.

CLAC, or the Christian Labour Association of Canada, is not a recognized union by the Canadian Labour Congress because it is often voluntarily organized by the corporation to protect the interests of the business, not the workers.

To demonstrate, language exists in CLAC agreements where grievances are resolved simply because the “decisive word resides with management” and other language ensures that the workers can never go on strike.

To make matters worse, in 2002, the BC Liberals altered the Employment Standards Act to exclude unionized employees from the provisions of the Act. Since then, CLAC “negotiated” agreements are frequently found to be below the Employment Standards floor in wages, overtime pay, annual vacations, and termination pay.

The stagnant contract number of $11 million per year becomes particularly alarming when the cost of doing business is not immune to inflation and profit margins are certain to be protected. Will the taxpayers be charged superfluous amounts as they have been in the lower mainland for regular services above the contract? Or will the workers absorb the impact through their wages?

If language exists to cap the contract costs, then it becomes a burden on the backs of the workers.

premieer_p3109287After an SFU economist, Marvin Shaffer concluded there is no business case to support the move and with so many questions around this contract, it is no wonder that the general public is highly suspicious of the over $127,000 in donations given to the BC Liberals by Ecotex.

And this is when the “no-brainers” state that this unskilled work deserves no-more than minimum wage. But these are real people trying to make ends meet for their families, not high school kids making a few extra bucks as the minimum wage argument goes, and at full time hours, would be living $6,000 below the poverty level.

And surely, with hospital laundry resulting in exposure to various bodily fluids, including blood, vomit, C-Difficile infested feces and when the injury rates to wrists, shoulders and backs are high, they deserve more than that. They deserve at least the wages and protections that they get now.

As the Minister of Health proudly walks through the new $89 million Clinical Service Building at Royal Inland Hospital, with the contracted out parking stalls, half of the top floor and other space available for retail and office rentals, and a state of the art amphitheater available to the public for rent, it’s a hard pill to swallow when we say our health care is “public” and only front line care matters.


Parity Now: “Because it’s 2016”

Article Submitted by KDLC executive member, Harmony Ráine, seen here presenting a donation by the KDLC to the Kamloops Women’s Resource Group Society to help them continue on their amazing work protecting and promoting women.

(*The word “women” includes anyone who identifies as a woman)

If you think women have achieved equality with men, you are mistaken. If you think women in Canada, the United States, or other parts of the developed world enjoy a reasonable level of equality with men, you are still wrong. Sadly, even in 2016, gender parity remains very elusive.

The 2015 Global Gender Gap Index ranked 145 countries on measures of health, education, economic, and political equality between men and women; and shockingly, Canada ranks only 30th in gender parity worldwide.

In order to assess equality, we must examine economic equality (or parity), because money provides people with the means to achieve other types of equality (ie: education, health care, and political participation). Highlighting the gendered wage gap makes glaringly apparent just how much inequality still exists between the sexes.

Canada’s low overall equality ranking is largely due to our massive wage gap:average-annual-earnings-gender-equality-gap-women

  • Canadian working women earn about $8,000 less per year than men doing an equivalent job
  • Based on average weekly wages of all Canadian workers (full- and part-time), women earned just 75.3% of men’s income (2014) – a wage gap that is double the global average
  • A gap this wide means that Canadian women must work more than 70 additional days each year to catch up to men, and
  • The average Canadian full-time working woman will lose more than $460,000 over a 40 year period due to pay disparity
  • Worldwide, many more women than men complete university and enter skilled professions; but women tend to be unable to reach the top of their professions in the same ways men do.
  • Canadian women make up half of Canada’s labour force, but comprise only 3 percent of Canadian CEOs and 15.9 percent of board seats in S&P / TSX 60 companies (2013). The political landscape is similar.

Importantly, these are not only well-paying occupations; but are high level, high profile positions that entail decision-making and policy implementation.

Women remain severely underrepresented in higher paying, male-dominated fields as well as STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), senior executive positions, and roles in government. This is NOT because women are disinterested or “not well suited” to these careers, or because they are more interested in raising a family than making money. These are just excuses based on common stereotypes of women. Women have a wide range of interests, talents, and aptitudes and are willing and capable of taking on a variety of challenges.

Research shows that women are not encouraged – or are actively discouraged – from studying in certain fields or entering various trades and occupations by a plethora of family and social pressures, as well as conscious and unconscious biases and overt bullying and discrimination in schools, workplaces, and society. Women also face numerous, persistent structural barriers such as poor economic conditions and labour market prospects, inadequate enforcement of human rights legislation and labour laws, and weak provisions for maternity leaves and child care.
As the primary caregivers for children and other family members, women suffer economic losses that are generally unrecoverable, and that are never experienced or understood by most men. When women spend extended periods of their lives out of the paid workforce for maternity leaves and other family-related obligations, the enormous impact of lost wages is compounded by deficits in education, skills training, upgrading, mentoring, career advancement, and confidence – not to mention the high cost of daycare when they return to work.

Equality vs Equity posterEmployment equity programs and other measures intended to level the playing field have unfortunately become a necessary evil for women and other marginalized groups, who have been systematically denied equal opportunities to learn, earn, and survive in our supposed democratic, multicultural society. It is even sadder that already marginalized people who must take advantage of equity programs often experience backlash and resentment in both society and the workplace, accused of trying to “work the system” or “get special treatment.” To these comments, women can only reply that our “special treatment” consists of working longer for less money and recognition than men, while raising families; and likely losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in the wage gap over our working lifetimes

Since about 2002 the global wage gap has remained almost stagnant. Experts suggest that at the present rate, the gap will take at least another 118 years to close completely.

In a seemingly progressive move, Canada’s newly elected Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attempted some partial redress for women’s lack of representation in the federal government by appointing women to 15 of 31 cabinet posts. When asked to explain his rationale for what has been dubbed “Canada’s first gender-balanced cabinet,” Trudeau simply replied, “Because it’s 2015.”

I am cautiously optimistic, but fear that Trudeau’s apparently sincere gesture might lack substance and any real plan to create sustainable equity in the lives, working conditions, and ongoing struggles of average Canadian workers and citizens – especially marginalized members.

Sheila Malcolmson, the NDP’s Status of Women Critic, asserts, “There’s no excuse for the fact that women in Canada continue to make substantially less than men” and is outraged that Canada is “lagging far behind the rest of the developed world when it comes to pay equity.” She states that the NDP will be calling on the Trudeau government to take action on the unacceptable wage gap between Canadian men and women, push the Liberals to “recognize pay equity as a right,” and implement recommendations made by a 2004 pay equity task force.

Because of massive, ongoing, courageous work by women, past and present feminist activists, and our allies, women have made monumental progress toward achieving better equity. These efforts cannot be understated, but we are not ‘there’ yet.

International Women’s Day was created to draw attention to gender inequalities and provide the impetus for consciousness-raising, dialogue, and activism that can lead to meaningful social change for women. The theme for International Women’s Day 2016 is “Pledge for Parity.” Pledging for parity can help women and girls to achieve their ambitions, call for gender-balanced leadership, respect and value difference, develop more inclusive cultures, and eradicate workplace bias, discrimination, resentment, and backlash.

Women’s equality doesn’t take anything away from men. “What’s good for women is good for business, is good for men, is good for families, is good for economies” – Deborah Gillis

Our mothers, daughters, sisters, partners, grandmothers, aunts, friends, co-workers, and fellow union activists deserve real equity and parity with men. Not just because it’s 2016 and it’s about time, but because it’s right.

To learn more about International Women’s Day 2016, visit: International Women’s Day

To Pledge For Parity, go to: Pledge for Parity

It’s Cold in BC


For the first time, affiliates and friends of the Kamloops and District Labour Council came together as a single force for the Kamloops Coldest Night of the Year, an annual event that took place in 80 communities across the country, raising money for the local homeless and hungry.

A tremendous $3,633 was raised by Team KDLC with the top 3 affiliate donors CUPE 4879 ($1,425), HEU ($883) and BCGEU ($655), far surpassing the donations usually raised by our Soup Kitchen.  PLUS, once the numbers are all in, we will be the number 1 team in Kamloops!

But no matter how much money the labour council and other good Kamloops citizens raise, it isn’t going to be enough to alter the dire situation for our most vulnerable residents.

After a decade of waiting, we had hoped that this would be the year that the BC Liberals would finally incorporate a poverty reduction plan into their budget, especially considering how often they are called out by the NDP and anti-poverty groups for being the only province in the country without one.

One would think that a government knowing that once again they had the worst child poverty in the country, 20% to be exact, that they would be compelled to make immediate changes.

The closest they came was the sheepish announcement by Mike de Jong regarding the minuscule increase in disability benefit of $77 per month after a 9 year freeze. But in one of the cruelest moves I’ve seen the Liberals make, they snatched away theirDSC_0068 bus passes of almost equal value.

Meanwhile, those living on social assistance, who’s rates have also been frozen since 2007, were ignored completely.

A full time worker at minimum wage, which is harder to get than most think, makes $6,000 below the poverty line and BC has the worst income gap in the country. But still, even after the Liberals discovered they made an error calculating a minimum wage increase that will leave BC as the lowest in the country as of April, they still refused to alter it.

Only 280 “affordable housing” units will be built, not sure where, in the first year when the needs are in the thousands across the province.

A scant amount of money was budgeted to increase the number of child care spaces but no change to making any of the spaces remotely affordable.

Heck, de Jong couldn’t even articulate what “affordable” means, demonstrating just how out of touch the Liberals are.

But wait! A few days later, Christie Clark announced they would provide legislative support for, “the most vulnerable members of our society and they depend on all of us to make sure that they’re safe and that they’re looked after.”

Sadly, no, she wasn’tDSC_0055 talking about children. Or the disabled. She was speaking about cats and dogs.

Even though they know that poverty costs BC $8 – 9 BILLION per year in higher public health care and criminal justice costs, and lost productivity, they still choose to do nothing. Well they’re even more cruel than that. In fact they would rather hoard a surplus and create a fantasy slush fund than to help lift people out of poverty.



TPP and Me


Article Submitted by           Doug McArthur               Political action committee  I.B.E.W. Lu993

With the election over and the new Liberal majority taking the big seat, the buzz has been around the TPP deal.  It has been touted as a trade deal, it will stream line the movement of goods and services among its signatories and allow business to be conducted faster and more efficiently, for corporations.

The question comes down to how will it affect the working class?  As an apprentice electrician, with a post-secondary education, I feel like I sit right in the middle of the working class/middle class spectrum, so I’ll quickly explain what the TPP means to me.

As far as I can see the TPP will start a race to the bottom.  First, the TPP will give virtually all power to the corporations.  Once signed into law the TPP will allow corporations to sue governments for anything that affects their bottom line. This will include environmental protections and possibly even labour laws. If they want a pipeline, they get a pipeline; if they want an oil exporting port in protected waters, they get it.

This fact alone makes me wonder why on earth any government would sign such an agreement knowing they will have their hands tied trying to protect their land, citizens and even sovereignty.

The second part, which hits home hardest for me, is the fact that the TPP will blow open the temporary foreign worker program. At the time of writing this I am currently, like many of the tradesmen in this country, sitting on employment insurance. As a union worker I also know that many of my brothers and sisters are also sitting on employment insurance.

The temporary foreign worker program was originally brought in to fill the gaps for the jobs we cannot fill, not for cheaper labour for corporations while we sit at home starving. Under the TPP these new jobs will be offered directly to the cheaper foreign labour before we even see a posting.  It will start a race to the bottom driving down wages, working conditions and quality of life.  Essentially for the working class we can pretty safely assume that the wages and safety standards will fall to the lowest signing authority.

There is hope still though. Write to your MP, flood the media and offices of our elected leaders speaking out against this deal.  At the end of the day the same man who is attempting to sign away our countries rights is only doing a temp job as long as we allow him to do it.

A “Must Read” Essay on Labour’s Role in Democracy and Prosperity


“This essay first appeared in the James Lorimer & Company book Canada After Harper. It would be useful for students and union members as it explains in plain language how unions play a crucial role in industrial democracy, sharing prosperity, and promoting social justice in Canada. It also explains the nature of the attack on the labour movement and considers what it needs to do to survive. It has been updated to reflect recent changes in the political landscape.”

Unions: Their Role in Democracy and Prosperity

See more at: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Team KDLC 2016

Coldest Night Logo (Badge) Color - PNG

Coldest Night of the Year Website

An estimated 150,000 Canadians experience homelessness outside, and hundreds of thousands more face the constant challenge of living right on the edge – adults, youth, families, the elderly – we’re walking for them all on February 20th.

People struggling with:
Living at or below the poverty line
Addictions or substance abuse
Community and social support
Race or gender discrimination
Access to adequate housing
Access to adequate food
Access to employment
Mental health issues

The New Life Community Kamloops, known for their commitment to serving people in need, is once again hosting the WALK in our community. So that’s who we’re walking for. People in our community. Neighbours down your street. Kids you see every day. A family member you love. Maybe even you.

Members of the KDLC are walking as team “KDLC 2016” raising money to help the homeless, the hungry and the hurting. Then, on February 20th, we will walk as a team with our coveted Coldest Night Toques and union flags to show that labour in Kamloops cares about our community and everyone in it.

How to get involved:

You or your local can donate directly to Team KDLC 2016 HERE


You can sign up as a KDLC team member and gather donations from your local and/or friends HERE

Be sure to sign up under “KDLC 2016″ by clicking on the “Join a Team” link.


Promotional information about our team:




Record Food Bank Donation by KDLC

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Bernadette Siracky, Executive Director of the Kamloops Food Bank, grateful for the KDLC donation

On December 14th, the Kamloops and District Labour Council has doubled it’s delivery of canned salmon to area food banks from previous years thanks to an even bigger commitment by the affiliates. In total, 144 cases of salmon will be delivered to food banks in Kamloops, Merritt, Chase, Barrier and Clearwater.

Once again the KDLC has participated in the Protein for People program, a BC non-profit society initiated in 2006 and led by labour organizations. By sourcing quality protein from unionized food producers and purchasing in volume, the society is able to maximize purchasing power to feed tens of thousands of people.

Due to the high cost of protein based foods, food banks spend most of their financial donations on protein and regularly experience shortages of this key nutrient.

“With so many children living in poverty in our province, one in five to be exact, we wanted to help ensure their immediate needs for developmental nourishment is addressed,” says KDLC President Barb Nederpel.

Similarly, Kamloops MLAs Todd Stone and Terry Lake attended the Basics For Babies event coordinated by the Kamloops Food Bank and local radio station, B100. According to the Kamloops Food Bank website, this event was to raise money to “ensure the most innocent and vulnerable clients at Kamloops Food Bank will have formula, diapers, jarred foods and cereal year round.”

And the food bank was proudly presented a community gaming grant in the form of a large cheque for $130,000 by the MLA duo.

These are vital sources of income for the food bank and it is apparent that the MLAs feel altruist pride in their participation.”

“But we desperately need our government to take action to address the root causes of poverty, not just apply woefully inadequate bandaids.” says Nederpel. “For the last 13 years, BC has continued to have one of the highest poverty rates in the country. And still, it is the only province without a poverty reduction plan.”

In 2014, nearly 100,000 British Columbians accessed food banks, the highest number in BC history. Many of them are from families where at least one parent is working a full time. And BC has the biggest income gap in the country when over the last 10 years, the household income of the top 1% has grown 36%, while median income has stagnated for the rest of the population.

“People are falling further behind when their income does not keep up with the cost of living. Anti-poverty legislation has been introduced four years in a row intended to reverse this trend, but the BC Liberals refuse to debate it,” says Nederpel.

“Instead of photo ops, let’s see some legislative action by our MLAs to eliminate the pressure on food banks and improve the lives of British Columbians.”

KDLC executive member and organizer for the Protein for People donation, Mogens Jorgensen, thanks the affiliates for their added support this year.  “We put the challenge to union locals at a KDLC meeting to double the donation and the response was overwhelming. It’s heartwarming to be part of an organization so committed to a strong community.”


Don from Chase Hamper Society and Mogens Jorgenson, KDLC executive member at large.


Anton Houben, Barriere Food Bank


Mogens Jorgensen with Judy Jones and Lorraine Brown in Merritt

Ending Violence Against Women


KDLC President, Barb Nederpel, at 8th Annual Shoe Memorial

December 6th marked the anniversary of the 1989 mass murder of 28 people by a single male gunman, at École Polytechnique de Montréal, 14 of which were targeted simply because they were women.

This tragic event is remembered each year as the National Day of Action on Violence Against Women and honours all women who have been murdered, have disappeared, or face violence and harassment.

I was very honoured to be asked to speak at this year’s event, representing the Kamloops and District Labour Council. I used this opportunity to speak publicly for the first time about my own personal history of facing domestic violence and the subsequent journey to overcome and end the cycle of abuse.

I did this, not because I wanted to experience the fear of vulnerability to judgement and shame, nor did I want to stir up old ghosts who would rather stay shrouded in denial.

But I wanted to share my personal story of how investing in women facing domestic violence can change and benefit society.

After 10 years of living through domestic abuse, I had made the final commitment to leave when I seen how deeply it was impacting my infant daughter.

It wasn’t easy to leave by any means.  At this point I was completely isolated from friends and family both emotionally and geographically. I lived in a small town with no secrets and no where to hide. My career had imploded and I was deathly afraid to take the steps to put myself back into the workforce. I had no way to afford a move let alone have a job to support my daughter and myself whenever I got to wherever I was going.

It was only through social safety nets that existed at that time that I was able to leave my situation.

I carefully stashed away money in the pocket of a winter coat in the back of a closet, until I had enough to make it just one month.

I accessed social assistance, entered into an intensive job integration program for women just like me, found a community subsidized child care space, and subsidized housing. Eventually I was able to upgrade with adult basic education and then went back to school to become a nurse.

I didn’t get a hand out. I got a hand up. And I wouldn’t be thriving personally and independently, contributing back into the economy, and be the activist within my community if I didn’t have those opportunities.

And now, it is my turn to give back and be an advocate for a just, safe and equal society. I am proud to be part of the labour movement which has allowed me the opportunity to do exactly that.

For the past two years, the Canadian Labour Congress has been spearheading an initiative to address the impact of domestic violence in the workplace.

The CLC, in collaboration with the University of Western Ontario, surveyed over 8,000 workers across Canada. This was the first effort of its kind in Canadian history.

What they found:

  • One in three workers said they had experienced domestic violence
  • Over 80 percent of these victims reported that their performance was negatively impacted, and more than half said the abuse occurred at or near their workplace
  • 38% indicated it impacted their ability to get to work
  • Often abusers will try and prevent victims from getting to work, causing them to be late or to have to miss work.  Abusers also may excessively contact or even stalk victims while they are at work.  This leads to absenteeism and poor work performance which can leave victims vulnerable to discipline.
  • Including being fired. In total, 8.5% of victims indicated they had lost their job because of domestic violence.

Abusers also feel the impacts of their behaviour at the workplace.

  • They may use work time or equipment to send abusive messages or otherwise plan and carry out violent acts.
  • They may be preoccupied or distracted, affecting their work performance and leaving them vulnerable to discipline or job loss – which then puts their victim at greater risk as unemployment is a risk factor for serious injury or death.

Co-workers can also experience the negative effects of domestic violence through increased workloads, stress, calls or visits from their co-worker’s abuser, and other potential safety risks.

The overall effect of domestic violence costs employers $77.9 million annually and the Canadian economy $7.4 billion a year.

If we invested just a small fraction of that into protecting and supporting women, we could be well on the way to ending violence completely.

We need to invest in making work safer for women by providing protection, intervention and support services.

We need workplace violence legislation requiring employers to develop policies and programs preventing workplace violence and harassment.

We need swift action on the government’s commitments to hold a national public inquiry into the deaths and disappearances of indigenous women and girls, and to implement a national strategy on violence against women.

And we need an anti-poverty strategy in BC, once and for all. This includes raising social assistance rates, increasing minimum wage, and provide for quality, affordable childcare and housing so that women have the opportunity to escape and endeavour to stand on their own two feet.  What I was able to access when I needed it most, no longer exists or it is even further limited, and I can only imagine how much more difficult it is for women now.

We must continue to remember all of the women who have faced violence, but we must also take significant actions at all levels of government and in our communities until women’s safety and equality are woven into the very fabric of our society. It is a very worthwhile investment.

A great deal of gratitude to Lynn Chasse for organizing the event every year and to everyone who shared their heartbreaking stories.

For CFJCTV coverage
For CLC survey results and references




By-Law Amendments

KDLC logo

The by-law review has been completed, changes were announced at the last KDLC regular meeting, and the notice of motion was passed.  The amendments consists of updated contradictory language and are clearly indicated by the strike throughs. We will be making a single motion on the amendments at our next meeting, December 1st, and once passed, it will be submitted to the CLC for approval.

Amended KDLC By-Laws