1,550 BCGEU members launch job action against LifeLabs

B.C. General Employees’ Union (BCGEU) members working at LifeLabs across B.C. will commence job action at 7 p.m. on Friday, October 22. The union served 72 hours’ strike notice on Wednesday, October 19 after several months of negotiations failed to secure a new collective agreement.
“By putting profits ahead of people, LifeLabs created a staffing crisis across their organization that was causing problems for their employees and their patients long before the pandemic,” said BCGEU President Stephanie Smith. “They’ve refused to work with our members to address the underlying issues at the bargaining table so, unfortunately, job action is the next step.”
The first phase of job action will begin with a rally on Saturday October 23 at the LifeLabs Burnaby Reference Lab followed by immediate implementation of an overtime ban—in which workers will refuse voluntary overtime hours offered by the employer—and a work-to-rule campaign—which will see workers performing their jobs precisely as outlined in their job descriptions and their last collective agreement. The overtime ban and work-to-rule campaign will be in effect at all 94 LifeLabs locations where the BCGEU represents workers.
The BCGEU said that workers are prepared to escalate to the next phase of job action, which would include picket lines at specific locations, if their employer fails to offer a fair deal by Monday, November 1.
“Job action doesn’t just mean strikes and picket lines,” said Smith. “By taking a strategic approach like escalating tactics, our members are giving LifeLabs the opportunity to avoid more serious service disruptions by coming forward with an offer that gives these healthcare professionals the wages and working conditions they deserve. On behalf of our members and the patients they serve, I urge LifeLabs to make the most of this opportunity.”