Promoting Work-Life Balance for Retail Workers

September 19, 2012, 2:30 PM EST

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CAW Local 414 is spearheading a city-wide campaign in Toronto to ensure the rights of retail and hospitality workers are protected as the city considers lifting a ban on holiday shopping.

CAW Local 414 President Christine Connor said the city is acting on the request of the local business community, who want to open their doors to the public 365 days a year, and that spells trouble for thousands of vulnerable workers.

"Retail workers are already among the most hard-pressed in this economy, with below average wages, constant uncertainty and insecure work schedules," Connor said. "Stripping them of guaranteed time off the job on statutory holidays will be a huge blow to their quality of life and undermine work-life balance."  

Over the past months, local organizers have been raising awareness among the nearly 5000 CAW members working in supermarkets and retail shops across the city.

Connor said members have participated in the City's online petition and have attended public town hall meetings to voice their concerns. The local has also published information material, including a detailed 'Q&A'-style leaflet that's being circulated across workplaces.

Connor worries that retail workers will be intimidated into taking shifts on statutory holidays for fear of employer reprisal even though proponents of the change claim holiday scheduling would remain voluntary. 

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