Every year, International Worker’s Day is an opportunity to reflect on our own work and the work of others around us – those working now and those who have come in the years before. Around the world, and over generations, workers have stood up in small acts of solidarity and collective acts of change. In the best of times, it can be a challenge to remember that the rights many of us enjoy under occupational health and safety legislation and labour codes were won through struggle.
This year, in the midst of a global pandemic, it is glaringly evident that we rely on each other’s work. The work that others do every day allows many of us to make choices that protect ourselves and our loved ones. Some of us can work remotely to help flatten the curve because someone else is leaving their home and family in order for telecommunications, grocery stores, utilities, K-12 education, pharmacies and many other industries to remain functional, and so that our healthcare providers can focus on this daunting and overwhelming crisis.
Here, in our BCIT community, we must acknowledge that protections are not uniform across the employees who serve the students and advance public post-secondary education. Part-Time Studies (or adjunct) faculty often do not have access to benefits or sick leave. Not every FSA member has the same ‘working from home’ conditions – many are occupied with their own health issues, caring for family members, and managing their personal mental health.
Additionally, the custodians who have always been central to BCIT’s operations – and are now more critical than ever – continue to work hard to keep the campuses clean and safe, and are still fighting for better working conditions and property safety equipment.
It is important that we work together, as workers have done for decades, during and after this pandemic, to not just return to normal but to ensure that we are part a broader movement that extends rights equitably to all workers.Leave a reply →