Janitor's union raises alarm that CAW funded organization conspired with
employer to impose a Magna style sweetheart deal to defeat a legitimate
TORONTO, Jan. 15 /CNW/ - The Canadian Autoworkers' well-publicized deal
with Magna is impacting the organizing environment for Ontario's most
vulnerable workers. In the past two years, the Service Employee's
International Union's (SEIU) Justice for Janitors (J4J) campaign in the
Toronto area has seen more than 1,000 of Canada's most vulnerable workers join
SEIU in its campaign to raise their wages and working conditions. During the
last 6 months SEIU's industry-wide organizing campaign was focused on the
Hallmark Housekeeping Services Inc, a large janitorial company. Hallmark
employees who support joining SEIU were making good headway against determined
resistance from the company until they were seriously undermined by the CAW
funded Canadian Construction Workers Union (CCWU).
The CCWU and Hallmark came together to enter into a voluntary recognition
agreement that tries to block the campaign by Hallmark workers to join the
SEIU. This leaves the workers at $9.00/hour, without benefits, without the
right to choose a bargaining committee and without the right to strike when
the next agreements are negotiated.
The CCWU organization is funded to the tune of $5,000,000.00 by CAW. SEIU
has asked the CAW to disavow and stop funding an organization that colludes
with employers to deny workers their basic rights, including the right to
choose their Union and to negotiate a fair collective agreement freely.
"I'm not surprised that employers would jump at the chance to sign one of
these deals", said Sharleen Stewart, SEIU Canadian International
Vice-President "but I am utterly shocked to watch the CAW and this CAW-funded
accomplice trade fundamental workers' rights for dues dollars".
SEIU has filed several complaints and an application for certification
with the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) and expects that this pact
between Hallmark and the CCWU will be struck down, allowing the workers to
choose SEIU as their union.
"These legal actions will take time and divert resources from the real
and necessary struggle to improve the working lives of Toronto's most
vulnerable workers. For these workers the ability to bargain freely and choose
their own representatives is absolutely vital if they are to escape poverty.
By entering into this tawdry deal with Hallmark the CCWU has attacked those
who need a real union the most" said Cam Nelson, President, SEIU Local 2.
"Rogue organizations funded by CLC affiliated unions like the CAW are now
using its transaction with Magna as a calling card to employers. When these
'company unions' trade on these sorts of regressive deals to block workers
from lifting themselves out of poverty by joining a legitimate union, workers
across the board suffer. This deal with Hallmark represents the spread of
'company unions' and has to be stopped." said Sharleen Stewart.
For further information:
For further information: Media Contacts: Sharleen Stewart, SEIU Canadian
International Vice-President, (416) 209-7741; Cam Nelson, President SEIU Local
2, (416) 801-1273