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COVID-19 cancellations mean uncertainty for employees at large Vancouver venues

Last Updated Mar 13, 2020 at 11:10 pm PDT

(Source: Riley Phillips/NEWS 1130)

Part-timers, who are largely food and beverage servers at BC Place, will be out of work

Their union is looking into whether there are allowances in the collective agreement to deliver some sort of pay

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Uncertain times are ahead for people who work at Vancouver venues that are effectively shut down, as big-crowd events are banned amid concerns over the novel cornavirus.

That includes the folks who work at BC Place, who work for two different employers: PavCo and Servomation Inc.

Besides the teams of food and beverage servers that you see during games and shows, there are the technical workers who maintain the building. The tradespeople who are full-time will continue to do their jobs.

“Full time employees are going to be assigned to maintenance. But all of the schedules have been cancelled for the events and for the part-timers. That’s going to be problematic, as you can imagine,” says Stephanie Smith, the president of the BCGEU, which represents the roughly 700 unionized BC Place employees.

The Vancouver Whitecaps season is on hold for 30 days and Playdome has been cancelled for this weekend. The Rolling Stones are scheduled to play the stadium in May, so far that has not been cancelled.

Smith says work is underway to scan the collective agreement to see if it provides for any income or compensation for times like these.

“We are currently trying to chase down whether who were scheduled to work those shifts will be paid for those shifts.”

She says now is the time for companies like Servomation to step up and help affected employees.

“We are really asking that employers consider the financial impact to our workers. We’ve heard at other large event stadiums where team owners or employers are paying staff for all cancelled events.”

The BCGEU, meantime, is also calling on all BC companies to waive the need to get a doctor’s note before calling in sick, during the outbreak.