UFCW Canada

UFCW Canada

November 18, 2009 13:12 ET

Immigrant Workers Set Protest Rally for Thursday at Toronto "Sweatshop" Employer

Workers at Lincare Ltd. in Toronto charge safety and employment laws are disregarded at commercial laundry supplier to major Toronto hotels. Allegations to be detailed at Toronto media conference and rally on Thursday, November 19/09.

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 18, 2009) -

ATTN: Toronto-GTA Assignment and News Editors for Thursday, November 19/09

Recently fired long-term workers at Lincare Limited, a commercial laundry facility in Toronto will detail their allegations of unsafe working conditions and exploitation, at a Toronto press conference on Thursday, November 19 at 11:00 a.m.

A Thursday rally outside the gates of Lincare Limited will also be held at 3:00 p.m.

WHAT: Media conference and rally by immigrant workers to detail allegations of safety and employment violations at Lincare Limited — a Toronto commercial laundry and supplier to major GTA hotel facilities.
   
WHERE and WHEN: MEDIA CONFERENCE at Workers' Action Centre
  Thursday, November 19 at 11:00 a.m.
  720 Spadina Avenue, Suite 223
  Toronto ON M5S 2T9
   
RALLY at Lincare Limited (the employer) Thursday, November 19 at 3:00 p.m.
 332 Nantucket Blvd
  SCARBOROUGH, Ontario
  M1P 2P4
   
SPEAKERS AT THE MEDIA CONFERENCE WILL INCLUDE: Parvathy Thamboo: fired Lincare worker
 Kumanan Thurairajah - fired Lincare worker
  Kevin Shimmin - National Representative, UFCW Canada
  Milan Nadarajah - Community Organizer, Workers' Action Centre
  Speaker TBA - UNITE HERE - Local 75

BACKGROUND:

Lincare Limited, a Toronto commercial laundry facility that holds contracts with numerous GTA hotel chains, has been subjecting its over one hundred employees to working conditions akin to a sweatshop, according to workers at Lincare. The workers, many who are new immigrants, allege they regularly fail to get paid, and face dangerous, life-threatening working conditions. 

Last week the company fired six workers who organized a union drive with UFCW Canada United Food and Commercial Workers Canada).

"Working in Lincare is like working in a sweatshop," states Parvathy Thamboo, one of the workers recently fired from the Lincare laundry after spearheading the union drive. She had worked at Lincare for more than five years, where she says, "the working conditions are very dangerous. There is no safety equipment and the machines don't have proper safety guards."

"Many of us have been seriously injured on the job. Some women have had their hair caught in machines, other have injured their limbs after being stuck in between heavy equipment," recounts Thamboo.

Safety is one issue. Getting paid is another. "Lincare routinely issues cheques that bounce," explains Kumanan Thurairajah, a nine-year veteran at Lincare who was also recently fired for being involved in the union drive. "The company owes most of us workers thousands of dollars in back-pay."

"It is outrageous that workers at a company in our backyard can be subjected to these kinds of sweatshop conditions, says Kevin Shimmin, a UFCW Canada national representative and organizer.

"Many of the workers at Lincare are new immigrants who came here for a better way of life — not to be exploited and treated as second class citizens. Lincare is a very successful company that holds contracts at a number of major hotels in the Toronto area. It is totally unacceptable that Lincare refuses to pay their employees their salaries, not to mention overtime and vacation pay."

Lincare supplies services to a number of major hotel properties and chains in the GTA including Marriot, Best Western, Novotel, the Westin Prince, and the Fairmont Royal York.

UFCW Canada is the largest private sector union in Canada representing more than 250,000 workers from coast to coast.  

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