Property Manager present as Cleaning Contractor Threatens Workers

    Janitors file legal complaint at the OLRB after interrogation

    OTTAWA, Jan. 21 /CNW/ - A group of workers say they were interrogated
about support for their union and threatened with job loss in Ottawa last
week. "I cannot believe this could happen in Canada," said Shawafra Aweke, who
works cleaning offices on Tunney's Pasture Driveway.
    Evripos Janitorial Services Limited, the company that will take over the
cleaning contract at the end of the month for sites at which Mr. Aweke works,
invited the current contractor's employees, Ability Janitorial Services, to an
information session. The alleged questioning occurred during the course of the
    Workers say Evripos representatives questioned them about their support
for SEIU Local 2, their union. They were then told that union supporters would
not be retained after the contract switches from Ability to Evripos. Employees
were also told that they would be expected to sign a petition foregoing their
right to a union, presumably as a condition of employment.
    Witnesses say not only were both Evripos and Ability management at the
meeting, property manager SNC-Lavalin Profac was also present. All three
parties are named in the legal complaint filed with the Ontario Labour
Relations Board.
    Typically, after a contractor loses an account, the new cleaning
contractor retains the workforce in order to avoid paying severance. Many
contractors also recognize the advantage of retaining workers familiar with
the site.
    "We won't be intimidated. They can continue threatening and bribing us
but we understand their game and we'll stand up for our rights," said Mr.
    Ironically, the meeting in question occurred a week before a gathering in
Toronto where industry stakeholders are meeting about the issue of responsible
contracting and the drafting of a Responsible Property Services Code.
    More information about the Legal Complaint is available at
    More information about Responsible Contracting is available at:

    The Service Employees International Union is the largest and fastest
growing union in North America, with 100,000 workers in Canada and 2 million
workers across Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico.

For further information:

For further information: Todd Davis, (416) 254-7973

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