BC Chamber of Commerce Statement on BCGEU Labour Action and Contract Negotiations

VANCOUVER, B.C., August 24, 2022 — Further to the open letter signed by 18 hospitality and business associations in response to the British Columbia General Employees’ Union’s (BCGEU) labour action and contract negotiations with the Government of B.C., Fiona Famulak, President and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce, released the following statement:

“The labour action that the BCGEU is taking at liquor and cannabis distribution centres across the province is yet another blow to the tourism, hospitality, accommodation and cannabis industries, which are still trying to recover from the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions. We understand the BCGEU is trying to put the best interests of its own members first, however, their labour action is putting thousands of private sector workers within the industries referenced above at risk.  Our members are already reporting closures and reductions in hours due to the shortage of product and many more are precariously close to the same result.

Further, it has only been three and a half years since the legalization of cannabis in British Columbia. Job action impacting our legal growers and retailers of cannabis is going to drive consumers back to the illegal and unregulated market. This would be an extremely disappointing outcome for our burgeoning cannabis industry.

We are pleased the parties have agreed to return to the bargaining table and encourage them to stay at the table until an agreement is reached. As a demonstration of good faith, we also encourage the removal of picket lines while negotiations are underway. At minimum, we want to see a de-escalation of job action at the liquor and cannabis distribution centres to allow our private sector businesses to maintain their operations.”