Under the weight of crushing Conservative cuts, the need for direct actions against employers that break the law went up in 2019! With the Ministry of Labour funding cut and important worker protections scrapped by the Ford government, bad bosses thought they could easily cheat us out of our rights. But they were wrong. At the Workers’ Action Centre, we support workers in organizing workplace actions to get justice. Read on to get a glimpse of worker power in action and why it needs your support (click here to make a financial contribution now).
Earlier this year when a server at a downtown Toronto restaurant called our Hotline for help, he was owed hundreds of dollars in unpaid wages, overtime pay, and vacation pay. Milan, a Workers’ Action Centre organizer, helped him determine the full amount of his stolen wages, and then sat down with him to plan the next steps to get his money.
The first step was delivering a demand letter with a payment deadline to the employer. “When the deadline passed and no response came, the worker was ready to take direct action at the restaurant,” said Milan. So we put up posters asking local residents to call the restaurant and tell them to pay the worker. Then we paid a visit to the restaurant at the busiest lunch hour of the week and leafleted the customers outside. “We had a great response from the customers, who were surprised and angry about the wage theft.” That same day, the owner put Milan in touch with the payroll department.
The worker was finally paid.
Please send your financial support to fund more direct actions.
Increasingly, direct actions like this are necessary for workers to access their rights. Just last week, we visited the owner of a temporary agency to demand that he pay four of his workers. Their assignments at a bakery had ended, and this bad boss had no intention of paying them what they’d earned. With the workers willing to take further action supported by the Workers’ Action Centre, the temp agency owner reluctantly paid most of what was owed – over $4,000 in unpaid wages!
It takes a lot of time, effort and confidence-building in workers to make these creative and courageous actions happen. And we know there is an incredible need in our communities for more training to help workers defend their own rights, but that takes resources. Will you take a moment now to fund worker power with a financial contribution of any amount? No contribution is too small or large.
From organizing direct actions at workplaces, to occupying Premier Ford’s office to demand urgent action to stop temp worker deaths (you can sign the petition here), we are committed to the fight for decent work for all. Thanks to your ongoing support; we know we will win! Happy holidays!