About Us

The Worker Solidarity Network, formerly known as the Retail Action Network, consists of non-unionized and precarious workers across B.C. that advocate for our rights and interests as workers while taking collective action to improve labour standards for all.

In 2015, a small group of retail and restaurant workers in Victoria, B.C.  joined together to discuss the common trends and experiences they endured in their sectors of work. Upon further research and conversation, and by recognizing the historical power of labour organizing, they began to act together in the spirit of mutual aid, solidarity, and direct action.

The WSN now consists of workers throughout the province that share an invested interest in the well-being of precarious employees that struggle under capitalism. The WSN effectively organizes to: distribute accessible know-your-rights education, close the gap in effective labour rights enforcement, support and empower individuals with complaints, and to campaign for long term improvements.

Through collective action, we are excited and confident about the future of the worker solidarity movement in B.C.

Staff

Interim Executive Director

Pamela

  • Badass worker advocate
  • Fabulous denim
  • Walk the Walk
  • Feminism is my prizm 

Shaking drinks by night and shaking the system by day, Pamela has been a part of the restaurant industry for over a decade. With her experience, she knows that workers often face unfair conditions: from the lack of sexual harassment policies, wage theft, living wage, tip protections and many others.

Pamela joined WSN over 3 years ago because justice for workers is something to fight for. Although she has left her campaign organizer role to transition to the Interim Executive Director role, she is still passionate about collective worker power.

Contact Pamela at
pam@workersolidarity.ca

Solidarity Steward Program Coordinator

Andreea

  • The best voice-overs
  • Dancing queen
  • Will tell you all the laws your boss is breaking

Andreea has worked in retail for over ten years and is familiar with many of the challenges retail workers face. Empowering workers to stand up for themselves and their rights sparks joy for her.

As a Solidarity Steward, Andreea lets workers know their options in whatever situation they’re facing at work, and has their back throughout the process that follows.

Contact Andreea at
andreea@workersolidarity.ca

Membership Solidarity and Engagement Coordinator, Lower Mainland B.C.

Niki

  • Earrings are my passion. The revolution will be accessorized.
  • YA novel aficionado.
  • Committed to building futures that centre care, reciprocity, and relationality.

Niki comes to the WSN with years of experience in the anti-violence sector as well as the restaurant industry. Her fight for worker justice began when she organized alongside her former coworkers to unionize their workplace, when their support services were cut without consultation and nearly all of her coworkers were fired as a result.

As the Worker Solidarity Coordinator for the Lower Mainland, she continues this fight through both frontline support and collective action. As a Solidarity Steward, she supports workers directly in navigating their rights. She couples this by working with members and staff to build WSN’s worker centre movement through outreach and engagement.

Contact Niki at
niki@workersolidarity.ca 

Communications Coordinator

Jiyoon

  • Attentive speedwalker
  • Thoughtful observer of the TikTok franchise
  • Walking encyclopedia of celebrity trivia

Jiyoon comes into her role at WSN with five years of work experience in the service industry. She was emboldened to fight for labour justice after growing up in a working-class community and having worked precarious jobs, where she experienced unfair working conditions that upheld harassment and wage theft, among other things.

As the Communications Coordinator, Jiyoon works towards building worker power by keeping WSN members and the public engaged with WSN’s ongoing work through worker stories, social media, and more.

Contact Jiyoon at comms@workersolidarity.ca

Fundraising & Community Relations

Michael

  • Grant writing wizard and labour organizer
  • Thinks mutual aid is the key to just labour futures
  • Committed tea drinker
  • Worked in the restaurant industry for 10+ years. Knows the ins and outs of this sector in crisis.

Contact Michael at
michael@workersolidarity.ca 

Community Engagement Coordinator

Ismail

  • Always has two coffees on the go
  • Half Mexican, Half Turkish, 100% working class
  • Fights for fair conditions with a ferocious, four-pound feline sidekick
  • Revolution is optimistic, optimism is revolutionary, revolutionary optimism is my hill to die on

Ismail comes to the WSN with close to a decade of experience in a variety of positions in food & beverage as well as in the hospitality industry, alongside a grounding in the student movement, and anti-racist organizing. Having witnessed every form of exploitation from labour violations to wage theft to unsafe working conditions, he brought his two worlds together and embraced radical labour organizing after understanding how change can only come through worker power.

As the Community Engagement Coordinator, he collaborates with the wider community to foster engagement and support to organize campaigns that build worker power and lead to real wins for workers, especially those who experience injustices in the non-unionized retail and hospitality sectors.

Contact Ismail at ismail@workersolidarity.ca

Climate and Labour Project Coordinator

Jen

  • Daydreaming as a feminist praxis
  • Meme virtuosa
  • Can talk at length about dismantling the patriarchy
  • Radical literature and potato chip enthusiast

Jen has worked in the hospitality industry in various capacities. Experiences of normalized mistreatment motivated her interest in researching and advocating for workers in precarious sectors. Her most recent research explored the impact of the pandemic on restaurant workers in particular.

She is now focused on exploring the inextricable link between climate justice and worker justice. Jen comes into her role with WSN from an intersectional standpoint and recognition of structural change needed to secure all precarious workers’ health, safety, and future.

Contact Jen at jen@workersolidarity.ca

Administrative Coordinator

Jade

  • Behind-the-scenes boss
  • Acupuncturist extraordinaire
  • Mutual aid and community care or bust!
Jade has been doing administrative work with radical non-profits for a decade and delights in having a role that supports the workers who are supporting the workers. Using her organizational expertise to make sure all the boring but crucial boxes are checked, Jade is proud to be the bridge between the systems that exist and the dream-world we are building.
As the Administrative Coordinator, Jade keeps the wheels turning and the staff paid so WSN can keep fighting for your rights and building worker power across the province.
Contact Jade at jade@workersolidarity.ca

Board

President

Spencer Lachmanec

Spencer Lachmanec has volunteered for WSN since its early days and has served on the board of directors for three years, most recently as president. Spencer is excited to contribute to WSN’s continued growth and evolution. He would be honoured to serve another term as the board’s president. The struggle to build worker power feels more urgent than ever.

Vice President

Sartaj Birring

Sartaj is a labour organizer and activist who works closely with workers who are experiencing unfair working conditions, such as wage theft, sexual harassment, and discrimination. Her start in the labour rights movement began during her over 5 years of retail experience in unionized and non-unionized workplaces and has continued in her work organizing retail, restaurant, cannabis, and industrial sectors, among others. She is passionate about worker empowerment, labour education, and climate reform.

Treasurer

Patrick Johnson

Patrick was a founding member of Retail Action Network in 2015 and has been involved in Worker Solidarity Network  (WSN) since that time. As WSN continues evolving to best support workers building structural change, Patrick seeks support to continue on the Board of Directors. Patrick brings his experience as a union organizer and elected leader of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1518, and believes that every worker is an organizer. With skills development and support from WSN, we can continue engaging workers and create a positive sustainable change for all workers. Drawing on a broad network, Patrick hopes to bring fundraising opportunities to help continue developing the work of WSN.

Patrick is a settler living on the traditional and unceded territory of the shíshálh First Nation. Patrick lives with his person family, Lulu the dog, and three very curious chickens (Willow, Pumpkin, and Heart).

Secretary

Anelyse Weiler

Anelyse Weiler has been happily contributing to the Worker Solidarity Network since she moved to Victoria in 2020. This has included meeting with multiple politicians and helping to coordinate a fun rally as part of the Justice Denied campaign, outreach to low-wage workers, facilitating UVic student volunteer placements, completing the Organizing for Power Core Fundamentals training program, and serving as a WSN Board Member since 2022. She is also a director with the BC Employment Standards Coalition and a member of the Migrant Worker Health Expert Working Group.

Member at Large

Cassidy Crowe

Cassidy (she/her) is a trade unionist, vegan, and socialist, gratefully living on Lkwungen territories. Graduating from UVic after studying Sociology, she now works as a Program Coordinator for Mental Health and Substance Use at IBEW’s western training branch. Before this role, Cassidy has worked in IBEW’s apprenticeship training programs, external labour organizing for SEIU, and immigration and refugee law. Cassidy is active in the local anti-imperialist peace movement, and also serves on the board of directors at Dogwood. She enjoys spending the rest of her time with her twin rescue dogs Doogy and Naya.

Member at Large

Austen Adams

Austen’s been a member of the WSN since 2022 and was on the Board of Governors this past year.  He’s contributed to outreach, socials and the climate and labour project taking all opportunities of his membership. He’s an Ecosystem Management Technician running his own small landscaping business with a background in farming, food security and has had various jobs in the world of retail and food service.

He aims to rejoin the board of governors for another year to continue to contribute to the WSN and to help the direction of the organization forward with a voice for low income workers and precarious workers

Member at Large

Hiroshi Tse

Hiroshi is a non-binary musician hailing from Australia. He is a composer and producer with interests in gaming, theater, and has recently started skateboarding. Emerging from an upbringing marked by challenges with abusive authority figures, Hiroshi is fervently dedicated to fostering worker solidarity and championing social issues. Hiroshi’s diverse background reflects a commitment to challenging injustice, with international experience. With a heart tuned to the struggles of fellow workers, they aspire to contribute to the collective triumph over unjust workplaces and management. They have experience fighting employers for fair pay, standing up against the violation of their coworkers rights, and homophobia at work.

Member at Large

German Ocampo

German Ocampo was born in Quindio, the coffee region of Colombia. He brings experience in community organizing, advocacy, education, as well as community-based action projects. In the past few years, he has been working on projects based in Tofino (unceded Nuu-Chah-Nulth territory) concerning environmental stewardship, indigenous sovereignty issues, decolonization of the cultural landscape as well as education as a social justice and anti-poverty issue.