Message to BC Insulators Union members from Business Manager Neil Munro
Dear Sisters and Brothers:
I want to reach out to you as we all do our best to deal with the COVID19 pandemic that is impacting everyone in our province and indeed the world right now.
We in the construction industry face particular challenges and responsibilities.
First and foremost is health and safety. No job is worth risking your life for.
We want every member to be safe at their job site. Employers have a clear obligation to provide a safe and healthy workplace – no exceptions.
The first part of Section 3.12 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation states:
(1) A person must not carry out or cause to be carried out any work process or operate or cause to be operated any tool, appliance or equipment if that person has reasonable cause to believe that to do so would create an undue hazard to the health and safety of any person.
Any workers feeling their jobsite is unsafe needs to first approach a supervisor or manager to report the unsafe condition and ask that it be immediately be investigated and fixed without delay. If that doesn’t happen, a worker representative of the joint workplace health and safety committee, selected by our union, must attend for an investigation of the unsafe work complaint.
For further information on the steps you need to take please see this WorkSafeBC page and if you have any doubts or questions, call us.
I have also sent an email last week to all our unionized employers outlining clearly their responsibility to ensure they are respecting all the orders of Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and WorkSafeBC regarding the COVID19 situation, as well as following our health and safety standards in our collective agreements.
Our members who continue to work must have absolute safety on the job.
Every worker has the right to refuse unsafe work under WorkSafeBC rules.
Employers are required to maintain safe social distancing for all workers and managers on the jobs site.
Employers must also ensure that adequate hand sanitizing stations are available throughout the workplace – and that any worker who needs to wash their hands to prevent possible COVID19 infection can do so immediately and as often is necessary.
These are not optional situations – they are now provincial laws and can be enforced with serious consequences for any employer who violates them.
If you have any questions or any concerns, please consult our Member Resources bulletins on our website – which will be updated regularly as more information becomes available and circumstances change.
If your questions or concerns are not answered with that information, please contact me directly by email or by text or phone call – I will respond as quickly as possible. Or contact Local 118 Vice President Ashley Duncan.
Some members are already not working; others may face job loss in the near future.
Once again, our union is here to help you and your families.
If needed, the union can help you to receive Employment Insurance, Medical Employment Insurance and financial assistance through your bank or credit union.
We have outlined those on our website under the post “Members Resources Re COVID19” which will be updated regularly. We also sent members an email earlier with much of that information.
Bottom line – we are here for you and will do all we can to keep you at work safely or get you back to work ASAP.
Brothers and sisters, these are truly troubling times for our members – we are in a unique and difficult period for the next weeks and months.
But if we stick together and maintain the solidarity this union local is known for, we will all get through this and brighter days will come.
Thank you for supporting your fellow workers on the job site and stay safe!