Order took effect at noon on Friday, September 8, for firms that failed to extricate themselves as PBC ‘preferred brokers’

Members of CUPE Local 1816 began picketing at noon on Friday September 8, outside some of the 15 businesses identified as “Preferred Travel Insurance Brokers” for Pacific Blue Cross during the benefit provider’s lockout of its more than 600 employees.

Friday’s development is the result of an order by the Labour Relations Board on Wednesday that declared these companies to be “allies” of PBC and thus subject to legal picketing by the union. The preferred brokers were given until noon to extricate themselves from “ally” status to avoid picketing.

Under the order, pickets can be held “at or near the place where each ally performs work, supplies goods or furnishes services for the benefit of the Employer, until such time as the ally extricates itself from its enhanced relationship with the Employer.” The order will expire the moment a collective agreement is reached with Pacific Blue Cross, said CUPE 1816 President Beth Miller.

“Any one of these companies can remove itself from ally status at any time, simply by asking PBC to take it off the list posted on the PBC website,” said Miller. “Until that happens, however, those companies can expect to be picketed.”

Before the lockout, travel plans provided by PBC were sold either over the phone by CUPE 1816 members or online. Since the lockout, customers who cannot buy directly from PBC have been redirected to these brokers, who in effect are doing the work of CUPE 1816 members.

The companies to be picketed are: Canada Loyal Financial Limited, Chambers Olson Ltd, Don Wotherspoon & Associates (Fleetwood) Ltd, Don Wotherspoon & Associates Ltd, Eaton & Starr Insurance Agency, Emsland & Associates Insurance Services Ltd, Godoy & Ververgaert Insurance Brokers Inc, Godoy & Ververgaert Insurance Only Inc, Godoy’s Insurance Only (Langley) Inc, Lynn Valley Insurance Agency Ltd, Morris Insurance Services, Murrick Insurance Services (Downtown) Ltd, Pacific Coast Insurance Brokers Inc, S & S Insurance Services Ltd, and Safe Travels, Travel Insurance Broker.