"Think about the improvement in our community's quality of life if every employer in the Comox Valley was living wage certified."
Post originally published in the Comox Valley Record, December 13, 2016
Precision Tree Services Ltd. has been named the Comox Valley's first living wage certified business. It's a designation of which owner James Flawith is particularly proud.
"I believe that people should be paid a good wage for good work," said Flawith. "Our guys all work extremely hard for us. Their work is so dangerous, I want them to be thinking about the work they're doing, not stressing about whether they'll make the rent this month."
"For me, paying a living wage is a no-brainer."
"It means employees are focused on what we need done at Precision Tree, not thinking about a second job or stressing about making ends meet at home."
Flawith heard about Living Wage Canada via Twitter.
"I thought it was awesome. Then I looked into it and realized that we are already paying our crews a living wage."
He followed up by submitting the two-page application. A few months later he received notification that Precision Tree Services is the first living wage certified business in the Comox Valley.
Flawith hopes he starts a trend in the community.
"Lots of people think the same way I do. It's just a matter of getting the word out and getting people signed on," he said.
Becoming certified is a simple process, said Flawith. At a time when talent - skilled, trained, valuable employees and staff - is getting harder to find, he believes it's something a business can use to differentiate themselves.
"It's positive advertising," he says. "Hey, we really do care about our employees."
Receiving living wage certification is also about raising the bar in our community.
"I saw it as an awesome way to create positive competition in our community. Imagine, employers one-upping each other to do more for their employees than the rest. Think about the improvement in our community's quality of life if every employer in the Comox Valley was living wage certified."
Precision Tree does well, and Flawith thinks his employees should also do well.
"It's something I feel very strongly about. It's not a good situation when we're just concerned about making money off the back of our employees."
Flawith's employees face dangerous situations on a daily basis, while representing his company, from falling dead trees, to cleaning up hydro lines after storms.
"We don't get a lot of chances to make mistakes. If someone makes a mistake, someone pays, with blood. I'm a big fan of finding the right people, and working with them."
Providing a living wage is part of how Precision Tree retains and supports the talent they've trained to do very dangerous work.
"We're proud to be living wage certified. I challenge every business in the Comox Valley to do the same."
"We have good people. They do good work. Let's reward them."
For more information about Living Wage Canada - and how your company can become living wage certified - visit www.livingwagecanada.ca
For more information about Precision Tree Services see www.precisiontreeservices.ca