December 29, 2010

Employee Action & Rights Network: Fighting to “Make Work Better”

by Stephen Von Sychowski

Since Spring, young worker volunteers have been hitting the streets, malls, campuses, transit stations, and public events of BC’s lower mainland to build the Employee Action & Rights Network (EARN). The Network, which is supported by the BC Federation of Labour, is the result of months of energetic work by youth who have fought for a higher minimum wage, improvement to workplace safety legislation, and better employment standards. Now, they are taking that fight to those who suffer the most because of the Campbell Liberal governments pro-corporate, anti-worker, and anti-youth policies in these areas; the unorganized.

Under the slogan “Make Work Better,” EARN volunteers have been taking their five question survey on workers’ rights to the public. They aim to educate workers about their rights and entitlements, build the Network by recruiting new members, and encourage members to get active and involved. While most activities have been in the lower mainland so far, plans to expand EARN into Prince George and across the province are in the works.

EARN is gearing up in the coming months to “Blow the Whistle on Bad Bosses,” who are violating the Employment Standards Act. The message to employers is clear; respect the rights of your employees, or risk hearing from EARN. Actions against “bad bosses” could range from simply providing advice and assistance to workers on how to pursue a complaint, to “information lines” (similar in appearance to picket lines), media campaigns, and public shaming, depending on the situation and the wishes of the worker, or workers, making the complaint. The identity of the employee who has contact EARN for assistance will be kept confidential in order to avoid targeting by the employer.

The Employee Action & Rights Network is open to all working people in British Columbia who are not already represented by a labour union. It’s free to join, and confidential. For more information on EARN, check out

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