Unifor members are participating in rallies right across Ontario in support of Tim Hortons workers who are seeing their benefits clawed back, days after the new $14 minimum wage came into effect. These workers do not belong to a union.
More than 15 rallies have been planned across the province outside local Tim Hortons franchises to express solidarity with the workers and protest bullying by employers. The events were organized by local labour councils, the Ontario Federation of Labour and the Fight for $15 and Fairness.
While not all franchisees have opted to roll back benefits, Ontarians are being urged to sign the petition to Daniel Schwartz, CEO Restaurant Brands International (parent company of Tim Hortons), calling on him to take action to end this practice across the restaurant chain.
“The minimum wage increase in effect since January 1 is long overdue and very much deserved. To see wealthy business owners now use that as an excuse for their own greedy desires is outrageous,” said Jerry Dias, National President.
A Tim Hortons outlet in Cobourg, Ontario, owned by heirs to founders of the donut chain, made headlines for its decision to cut benefits and paid breaks for its non-union workers, and claimed the cuts result from an increase in the minimum wage to $14 that came into effect this week.
Since then, instances of additional Tim Hortons outlets and other chain restaurants cutting benefits, and even confiscating worker’s tips, have come to light. This follows complaints from Loblaw Chief Executive Officer Galan Weston last summer about the cost of the wage increase.
“At a time when CEOs are making record multi-million-dollar salaries, it is not too much to ask that workers be able to afford a decent standard of living – and that begins with raising the minimum hourly wage.”
Dias pointed out that there was no shortage of discussion about the minimum wage increase in the months leading up to it, giving businesses plenty of opportunity to prepare without hurting vulnerable staff. As well, small businesses were given a tax break to lessen the impact.
“There is no excuse for these wealthy business people for making these cuts. Workers deserve better and their rights should be respected," said Naureen Rizvi, Ontario Regional Director. Rizvi also pointed out that workers in unionized shops are not seeing such arbitrary measures being taken because the employer can’t take away rights enshrined in a collective agreement.
Please take a moment to send a letter to Restaurant Brands International CEO here in support of Tim Hortons workers.