More than 300 warehouse workers at the Zellers Distribution Centre in Scarborough (east Toronto) went on strike after their employer handed them a list of take-it-or-leave-it demands and refused to negotiate with their union.
The company's demands included an $8-an-hour wage cut, the increased use of temporary workers, the elimination of severance pay, undermining seniority rights, and several other concessions. Zellers, as Canadians know, is owned by Hudson's Bay Company, which is now owned by US private equity firm NRDC Equity Partners. HBC walked away from the bargaining table on July 14. The workers walked off their jobs two days later.
The striking workers' spokesperson at Canadian Auto Workers Local 1000 said: "Retail workers in this country have suffered from low wages and poor workplace standards for too many years. Our members are taking a stand to maintain the standard of living we have worked so hard to win over the years on behalf of all workers in this sector. And we're not going to back down until the company agrees to bargain with us."
There has been solidarity demonstrations at the company's Brampton warehouse and during the grand opening of a new Zellers Superstore in Toronto.
Please take a moment to join the CAW's online letter-writing campaign. Tell Zellers CEO Mark Foote that you find the company's demands unacceptable, that the company should continue to negotiate in good faith - and that you won't shop at any of the HBC stores - The Bay, Zellers, Home Outfitters, Fields - until they reach an equitable settlement with their warehouse workers.
Go here to show your support.