UFCW Canada

UFCW Canada

March 27, 2006 20:52 ET

SEARS CHARGED WITH FIRING WORKERS WHO SUPPORTED UNION DRIVE:

UFCW CANADA ALSO APPLIES TO ONTARIO LABOUR RELATIONS BOARD TO REINSTATE WORKERS Attention: Assignment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, City Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - March 27, 2006) - UFCW Canada (the United Food and Commercial Workers Canada union) has made an interim application to the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) to force Sears Canada to reinstate about 100 workers at a distribution and call centre in Belleville, Ontario who were summarily terminated on March 9, 2006 in an attempt to stop a union organizing drive. The location employs about 1500 workers. A union organizing campaign had commenced there in early 2006 after workers at the Belleville location contacted UFCW Canada.

Monday's interim application by UFCW Canada follows an unfair labour practice charge laid by the union against Sears Canada Inc. last Friday arguing that "the terminations were affected to penalize employees for supporting the unionization of the distribution centre…and as a reprisal for exercising their rights under the Labour Relations Act. The Union specifically asserts that the Employer terminated the Union's key inside organizers and the entire union committee of seven (7) employees. The persons selected for termination were known or believed by management and the employees to be supporters of the unionization of the distribution centre."

The company claims about 100 workers were terminated on March 9 "due to restructuring" but on that same day evidence shows that Sears was actively accepting applications for employment at the Belleville location. Of the approximately 60 employees known to the union who were terminated on March 9, the majority were known as union supporters, including all members of a current employee union organizing committee as well as all employees who were key members of an earlier union drive in 2004.

When asked by those who were dismissed on March 9, Sears management refused to explain to the fired Belleville workers why certain employees rather than others were selected for termination.

Because of Sear's "pre-meditated misconduct", UFCW Canada argues in its charge that "that this is an appropriate case for Section 11 relief to be granted. Specifically, in light of the premeditated misconduct undertaken by the Employer, the Union respectfully submits that nothing short of certifying the Union pursuant to section 11(2) will redress the harm caused."

In advance of hearing Friday's charge and deciding on penalties, the OLRB is first expected to rule on the union's interim application to force Sears to reinstate the affected workers as well as makeup their lost wages. The OLRB hearing on that interim application could be before the end of the month.

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IN: ECONOMY, JUSTICE, LABOUR, RETAIL, TRADE

Contact Information

  • Michael Forman, National Media Relations Coordinator, UFCW CANADA
    Primary Phone: 416-675-1104 ext. 249
    Secondary Phone: 416-579-8330