The British Columbia Government Employees Union (“BCGEU”) has announced that this coming Wednesday, September 5, approximately 27,000 direct government employees will stage a one-day strike. The striking employees are members of the BCGEU, the Professional Employees Association ("PEA"), and Canadian Office & Professional Employees Union ("COPE"), Local 378.
This strike may affect non-unionized government workers and non-government employers who are common tenants at the picketed locations. It is important for everyone to understand which picketing activities are lawful and unlawful, and to be prepared to deal with any problems that may arise.
Striking employees can legally picket outside of common tenant sites, although other, non-struck employers can seek relief from such picketing under the Labour Relations Code.
Picketers are permitted to communicate their strike messages and to hand out literature to passers-by. However, it is unlawful for picketers to physically obstruct access to workplaces, even briefly. Picketers must allow people and vehicles to enter and leave the struck locations, unimpeded. Picketers are also prohibited from engaging in any tortious or criminal activity, such as threats of harm or violent acts. If you are concerned about this activity having an effect of your workplace, please feel free to give one of our lawyers a call for advice on how to be prepared to deal with these issues.