Canadian flags waving in the wind

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 2 is launching a “Unions are Essential” campaign to help non-unionized essential workers in Canada form a union and be heard, announces the chapter in a press release.

SEIU Local 2 represents essential workers in Nova Scotia, Ontario, Alberta, New Brunswick and British Columbia, Canada. Local 2 is affiliated with other SEIU locals and councils across Canada and will be collaborating with them in this unionization effort.

The campaign already has achieved two victories. Essential workers at two sites in North Vancouver, Lonsdale and Tsawwassen Quay Markets in Canada are celebrating after completing a successful union organizing drive and certification vote, says SEIU Local 2. The workers are now negotiating their first contracts with their employer, Dexterra.

SEIU says unions are necessary because they allow essential workers to effectively advocate for their needs. 

“Given what is happening with the pandemic, workers absolutely need to win paid sick day flexibility from their bosses," says John Vogel, a driver and operator at McRae’s Environmental in British Columbia, Canada, according to SEIU 2. "We can’t wait on the government to legislate this stuff. We won six paid sick days at the bargaining table from our company, which we can bank, or take as a cash pay-out at the end of the year. We’d never get that non-union.”

SEIU 2 says the majority of essential workers in Canada do not have a union. The “Unions are Essential” campaign aims to bring these workers into the fold of the labor movement, empowering them to defend themselves effectively against employers and politicians.

The campaign has also launched, a website that will connect workers with on-the-ground SEIU organizers in their region.