BCGEU members at the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) bookstore in New Westminster have voted to accept a new collective agreement with their employer, JM Project Management. After five weeks on the picket line, they went back to work on March 6th.
The agreement features wage increases of 5.0%, 3.5%, and 3.5% over a three-year term and is retroactive back to July 1st, 2016 when the previous agreement expired. It also includes a new 4th step in the wage grid and a $250 signing bonus.
Members at the bookstore recognize that the agreement represents progress. However, it still falls short of the standard established by other post-secondary bookstores, and they will continue work to achieve parity in future agreements.
The small staff of five women extend their thanks and gratitude for the support and encouragement from BCGEU members as well as the BC Federation of Labour and the broader labour movement during the strike. With such a small group of workers it can be difficult to sustain momentum. However, through their determination and with the support of their union – respect, dignity, and fairer wages were won for these women.