Karen came to Steel City Solidarity after being fired by her employer. After years of working for them as an employee, the company suddenly wanted to declare her an independent contractor, even though she was doing the exact same job as before. She refused to accept this. For months she was pressured while the company stopped giving her regular pay stubs, T4 slips, and stopped making mandatory deductions such as CPP and EI. When she kept insisting she was an employee and not an independent contractor according to the labour code, she was let go. But not before Karen had carefully documented all of this and filed with Revenue Canada and the Ministry of Labour (MOL).
When Karen joined Steel City Solidarity, we went with Karen and hand delivered a demand letter to the company giving them a week to pay the over $3,700 in unpaid wages that they owed her. When they ignored us, we launched a campaign against the company targeting their customers. Karen was with us every step of the way. We handed out flyers to potential customers in and around Jackson Square for several weeks. We organized a telephone bank and had members of the public call the company and the owner to complain. We informed the other workers of their rights.
When the owner showed up at a Ministry of Labour meeting, we were there in large numbers to greet him and tell him that we were not going away until he paid what he owed Karen. The pressure must have been getting to him because after the MOL ruled in Karen’s favour, the owner didn’t try the usual game of appealing, dragging the process out for years, and playing phone tag with the collection agency. He simply handed over to Karen all the wages that he owed her.