“This is a substantial victory for workers who have experienced a campaign of fear and intimidation by the employer,” says one of the union’s organizers, Rabia Syed.
The labour relations board issued a consent order granting a discretionary certification to the union after the Tim Hortons franchise’s managers admitted they engaged in several violations against workers’ rights to unionize. These included threats to employees that the franchisor would close down any location that unionized.
An employee was also fired in February after management discovered she was talking to union organizers. The employee had been with the franchise for approximately five years. The labour relations board reinstated the employee to her position and she was awarded $1,500 in damages for mental anguish.
The franchise will soon begin the process of negotiating a first collective agreement.
“This is a significant victory for the labour movement,” says Barry Fowlie, director of Workers United. “It sends a clear message employers cannot walk over workers’ rights. The real work will now begin with negotiations and we will keep a close eye on this Tim Hortons to make sure they bargain a first contract fairly.”
Workers United, whose members work in the textile and garment, food-service, hospitality, social services, manufacturing and distribution industries, represents 10,000 workers across Canada and 150,000 overall across North America.