Hundreds Picket in Support of Striking Zellers Workers
August 4, 2009, 11:57 AM EST
Hundreds of protestors converged on the Zellers warehouse in Brampton on July 31 for a mass picket and demonstration in support of the over 300 striking CAW Local 1000 members at the company's Scarborough distribution centre.
The protest brought together CAW members from across Southern Ontario as well as other labour union representatives in support of the retail workers' struggle.
The company has relocated most of the products from its Scarborough distribution centre to its Brampton warehouse in an effort to drag out the strike and avoid going back to the bargaining table, said CAW Zellers Warehouse Chairperson Stephen Moses.
"Our objective is to send this company, and U.S.-based private equity firm NRDC pulling the strings behind the scenes, a clear message to get back to the bargaining table so we can settle this dispute," Moses said.
Demonstrators were joined by labour representatives' John Cartwright, President of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council, Adbul Samad, Coordinator of the United Steelworkers (USW) Toronto Area Action Centre and Kevin Shimmin, National Representative of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) in a show of support and solidarity.
Zellers workers were forced out on strike on July 16 in response to a series of extensive company demands for wage and benefit concessions, including an $8 per hour wage rollback for material handlers. The company is also demanding new rules that would increase the use of temporary employment agency workers.
Workers at the Scarborough facility represent a diverse range of cultures and ethnicities, with many workers representing South-East Asian, African, Caribbean and Pilipino communities in Toronto.
The company walked away from the bargaining table two days prior to the strike commencing. Zellers has so far refused to negotiate with the union since the strike began.