Zellers Workers Picket Brampton Distribution Facility as Efforts to Restart Contract Talks Fail

August 18, 2009, 9:56 AM EST


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Hundreds of striking Zellers warehouse workers will set up picket lines for the second time at the company's Brampton distribution centre today (August 18) as efforts to restart contract talks at the Scarborough facility have failed.

Mass picket and demonstration in support of striking Zellers workers
When: Today (August 18, 2009) @ 9:30 a.m.
Where: Demonstrations will take place at the rear entrance gate of the Brampton
distribution centre
8875 Torbram Road
 Brampton, Ontario
(At the corner of Summerlea Rd. and Gateway Blvd.)

The over 300 warehouse workers, employed at the Zellers distribution centre in Scarborough and represented by CAW Local 1000, were forced out on strike July 16 after the company refused to negotiate beyond a series of extensive contract concessions. Concessions include wage cuts of $8 per hour, the elimination of seniority rights for job postings, a new two-tiered system for vacation entitlements, the elimination of severance pay language and the increased use of temporary agency workers, among other demands.

"Many of the products our members in Scarborough handle have been relocated to the Brampton facility," said Bob Orr, CAW Assistant to National President Ken Lewenza. "Our picket lines will be set up indefinitely, until the company agrees to get back to bargaining with our committee."

A series of CAW-led public demonstrations over the past four weeks brought the company back to the bargaining table on Monday August 17, although Zellers refused to move away from its take-it-or-leave-it offer for major concessions. Talks have since broken off, with no future dates scheduled. 

This is the first round of collective bargaining for the Zellers warehouse workers since HBC was purchased by U.S.-based private equity firm NRDC Equity Partners in 2008. In the 25 years prior to that, labour relations between the company and its workers at the Scarborough facility were relatively stable, with only one minor labour dispute in 1986.

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.

 

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