October 23, 2020

Demand action for decent work as COVID-19 cases spike 

With COVID-19 infections on the rise, it is increasingly clear that workers cannot simply wait for governments to protect us - we must act now, organize now, and support each other every step of the way.

Here are three crucial fights that you can support right now:

Pay up Hotel X
Hotel X owes a staggering $1.4 million to workers it let go during the pandemic. Sign and share this petition, and scroll below for more info  https://www.15andfairness.org/payuphotelx 

Demand decency for Loblaws workers
In Newfoundland and Labrador, grocery store workers at a chain owned by Galen Weston’s Loblaws have been on strike since August to make the pandemic pay permanent, to win paid sick days, and job security. Sign and share this petition (click here), and read on about upcoming actions.

Full immigration status for migrant workers
From farms to food processing, and from health care to education, migrant workers are essential workers. Without full immigration status, these workers face deportation whenever they speak out for decent work. Sign and share this statement, and scroll for more info: www.StatusforAll.ca

While the pandemic worsens, it is shocking that not a single government in Canada has legislated adequate, permanent, and universally accessible paid sick days for workers - despite public health officials calling on workers to stay home when they are not feeling well. This advice has been standard for decades, especially during flu season. But it is absolutely crucial right now. 

Just last May, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rightly said: "If you are risking your health to keep this country moving and you’re making minimum wage, you deserve a raise.” [1] Yet the federal government has failed to implement its own promise to deliver "a federal minimum wage of at least $15 per hour, starting in 2020 and rising with inflation, with provisions to ensure that where provincial or territorial minimum wages are higher, that wage will prevail.” [2]  

Across Canada, minimum wage earners have been essential to keep the economy in motion. Yet corporations like Loblaws and Sobey’s cancelled the meagre $2.00/hour pandemic pay they briefly granted to their employees, even as corporate profit rates sky-rocketed. [3] 

Fortunately, workers are fighting back. 

Pay up Hotel X!

As we recently reported, Hotel X in Toronto is one of several luxury hotels around the world owned by Henry Kallan. To maximize profit, Hotel X relies on third party contractors for its staff. When Hotel X switched to a different sub-contractor, 200 workers were let go in the middle of the pandemic and now the employer is refusing to pay the $1.4 million in termination pay these workers are owed.   

Phone zap: #payuphotelxShare on Facebook - on Twitter - on Instagram

The good news is workers at Hotel X are fighting back. Let’s not let them fight alone. Here’s what you can do:

  • Sign the email petition to tell Hotel X owner Henry Kallan to do the right thing! 
  • Call Hotel X by dialling General Manager Fariyal Hasham: 647-475-9269, and tell them to pay up. 
  • Come to the socially-distanced action on Friday, October 30 (4:00 pm) at the corner of Lakeshore Blvd & Ontario Place Blvd in Toronto, to show your support: click here to sign up and click here to spread the word on Facebook. 
  • Warn Hotel X patrons on social media by tagging @HotelXToronto on social media using the hashtag #PayUpHotelX or leaving a review at Google or Trip Advisor

Tell Loblaws: Make pandemic pay permanent

In Newfoundland and Labrador, grocery store workers at Dominion - a chain owned by Galen Weston’s Loblaws - have been on strike since August 22. These workers are on strike to make pandemic pay permanent (the minimum wage in Newfoundland and Labrador was just adjusted from $11.65 to $12.15 on October 1); for paid sick days; and for job security. As Loblaws rakes in record profits, these demands are more than reasonable - and should be extended to all workers in the sector. Let’s help these workers win their fight: Click here to sign the petition, watch and share this fantastic video, and spread the word. 

Legislate the federal minimum wage NOW! 

Prime Minister Trudeau promised to deliver a federal minimum wage of at least $15, and indexed to inflation in 2020 [2]. With only 10 weeks remaining, time is running out. Let’s not let the Prime Minister get away with ignoring the workers who are counting on this wage increase.

  • Call the Prime Minister 613 992-4211 to demand action.
  • Organize a phone zap in your riding. Email the details to [email protected], and we’ll help spread the word. 

We need to call every Member of Parliament across Canada to let them know we want the federal government to honour its promise to enact a $15 federal minimum wage in 2020. 

And if you live in York Centre or Toronto Centre where two federal by-elections are taking place on October 26, be sure to vote for candidates who will fight for a decent federal minimum wage, for legislated paid sick days, and for full immigration status for all of us. For more information about candidates and how to vote, click here. 

Nov 1: Raise the call! Full immigration status for ALL!

COVID-19 continues to spread, but support and services for essential migrants are missing. Migrant workers, students, refugees, undocumented people, sex workers and others are being turned away from healthcare, emergency income supports, decent work, and other basic services at a time when we need it the most. Fees for education and other services are incredibly high. We need to build a fair society with equal rights and that means FULL & PERMANENT IMMIGRATION STATUS FOR ALL. 

Join actions on November 1 and share on Facebook:

For more information visit www.MigrantRights.ca/Nov1 

Nov 10: Join our next online meeting 

There is growing momentum for safe and healthy workplaces for all of us. Join us and the Ontario Federation of Labour for our monthly organizing meeting on Tuesday, November 10 at 7:00 pm to help us plan next steps. Please click here to sign up and get emailed the Zoom Link for the online meeting. You can also help us spread the word on Facebook by clicking here.

**Sources mentioned

[1] "If you are risking your health to keep this country moving and you’re making minimum wage, you deserve a raise.” -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, May 7, 2020. See here. 

[2] See page 12 of the federal Liberal Party platform document. 

[3] See the Canadian Centre for Policy Report (click here) exposing how Canada's top billionaires became $37 billion richer since start of the pandemic