The local constituency office of the B.C. mining minister was the first protest site for the United Steelworkers union as it fights the use of Chinese workers being brought in to work a Tumbler Ridge mine.
"We're going to be in front of constituency offices throughout B.C.," USW Local 2009 president Manjit Sidhu said.
The focus will be on MLAs offices in mining communities and the USW plans to keep up the presence over several weeks to keep the issue in the public eye because there is no other option to hold politicians accountable right now.
"We don't have a legislature," he said. "We've got to take the debate out to the public."
Premier Christy Clark opted not to have a fall sitting and the legislature is not expected to return to work until February.
"It just seems like so much of this issue is behind closed doors," he said.
Sidhu said this is a manufactured issue with the government allowing foreign workers in after saying there were no Canadians willing to take the jobs but the union argues that there are Canadians wanting these well paying jobs.
He added that the company has advertised for Chinese mine workers to come to Canada.
The company gets the advantage of paying them less and foreign workers aren't often aware of labour standards and workers rights, he said.
The Chinese mining industry has some of the worst and most unsafe conditions in the world, Sidhu noted.
He said the concern is that Canadian standards will be lowered.
"They should be coming in under our standards, our wages, our rights and our working conditions," he said.
The jobs pay $10-$17 per hour less and are not open to Canadian union members.
Two Canadian unions have gone to federal court over the issues and the case resumes Tuesday.
Some 17 temporary workers are at the site, and another 60 are supposed to arrive in mid-December.
B.C. is looking into allegations recruiters in China asked potential applicants for fees, which is illegal under provincial law.
The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 115 and the Construction and Specialized Workers Union Local 1611 are seeking an injunction against any further permits for HD Mining, a Canadian/Chinese mining project. The federal government is arguing that the unions should not have standing in this case.
Last week Human Resources Minister Diane Finley has said there may be problems in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program process and the federal government is conducting a review of the entire program.
- With files from the Vancouver Sun and Province.