Union says arrows and gasoline tossed at striking B.C. assisted living workers

BCGEU president Stephanie Smith says arrows and gasoline were thrown at the picketers early last week

Assisted living workers will be “beefing up” their Courtenay picket line after picketers were allegedly attacked early in the week.

Casa Loma Seniors Village and Comox Valley Seniors Village workers have been taking targeted job action at the two assisted living facilities since Sunday, Dec. 2, including manning a picket line along Headquarters Road.

READ MORE: Assisted living workers go on strike for fair wages

According to BC Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) president Stephanie Smith, workers were out on the picket lines during an evening shift last week when arrows were shot at the line and gasoline was thrown in their direction. She says the RCMP were called.

“Picket lines can be places of heightened emotion for sure,” said Smith. “We’ve had incidents of cars trying to run through our lines… there’s often verbal assaults, that sort of thing, but certainly never like this.”

The picketers have resumed their rotating strikes and the BCGEU has put out the call for more members to come out and support the picketing workers.

“Immediately, we sent an email out to all our members in the area asking them to come and support the line, particularly on the evening shifts. We’ve asked that we are closely monitoring to ensure the safety of our picketers,” she said, adding that there is safety in numbers.

Smith could not give an update on the status of the negotiations between the BCGEU and the employer, Pacific Reach Seniors Housing Management. However, she hopes that Comox Valley residents will remember these workers are taking job action in order to offer better support to the people in their care.

“These workers are striking to improve the working conditions there, but also to improve the quality of care that these residents receive by ensuring that they have proper staffing levels and that they are able to recruit and retain workers at these centres,” said Smith. “I can’t even begin to try and understand the mindset of people who would do this – risk the lives and safety of workers who are exercising the constitutional right to run a picket line in support of their bargaining.”

A request for comment has been sent to the Comox Valley RCMP. The story will be updated when more information is available.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pacific Coastal won’t open until community is ready

The company has suspended operations until further notice

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Celebrations continue for Tsilhqot’in Nation after court victory against Taskeo Mines Ltd.

Supreme Court of Canada upholds 2014 decision rejecting New Prosperity mine on May 14, 2020

BC Ferries losing up to $1.5 million each day as pandemic tanks ridership

The company does not qualify for the wage subsidy

Chilliwack school board censures trustee Barry Neufeld after controversial Facebook post

Board chair issues statement on censure but little else regarding Facebook post controversy

Twenty-nine of Canada’s 48 national parks to reopen to day-use visitors June 1

All national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas have been closed for weeks

JK Rowling publishes first chapters of new story online

Book will be a fairy tale for kids and benefit those particularly affected by the pandemic

BC Corrections to expand list of eligible offenders for early release during pandemic

Non-violent offenders are being considered for early release through risk assessment process

Fraser Valley driver featured on ‘Highway Thru Hell’ TV show dies

Monkhouse died Sunday night of a heartattack, Jamie Davis towing confirmed

B.C. visitor centres get help with COVID-19 prevention measures

Destination B.C. gearing up for local, in-province tourism

Most Read