SEIU Local 2

SEIU Local 2

February 17, 2011 15:30 ET

SEIU Local 2: Entire Scarborough Town Centre Cleaning Staff Stand to Lose Their Jobs

How Union Pension Fund Money Could Be Throwing 37 Scarborough Town Centre Cleaners Out of Work and Eroding Working Conditions for Cleaners in Toronto


TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 17, 2011) - The entire cleaning staff at the Scarborough Town Centre Mall (STC) stand to lose their jobs as a new company takes over the cleaning contract on March 1st, 2011.

Daniel Barr is one of those thirty-seven cleaners who may find themselves on the street when Marquise Facilities Group takes over the cleaning contract from Hurley Group on March 1st. "I've dedicated myself, worked hard, put in overtime when asked; I've done everything asked of me," says Barr, who has worked at the mall for 21 years. "And now they're going to throw us out like trash?"

Barr has a wife and four school-aged kids at home. His children have health concerns like asthma and severe allergies. He spends over $3,500 a year on health care related costs. It's manageable today because he has benefits, but that could all change very soon.

With over $750 million in sales, the STC is a very financially lucrative mall. With a size of more than 1.3 million sq. ft., an annual visitor count of close to 22 million and average sales above $573 per sq. ft., this multi-level prime shopping destination dominates the eastern region of Toronto. There is no excuse for the STC to switch to a cleaning company that may profoundly disrupt the lives of the thirty-seven cleaners and their families, potentially putting them out on the streets.

"The mall is making lots of money in this community," says Shane Guy, who has been working at the mall for 18 years. "They have a responsibility to provide good jobs in the community as well." Guy has a wife and two school-aged children at home. He says if he loses his job he'll lose his house.

The workers have been able to win benefits for their families over the years and the majority make $13.45 per hour; however Marquise has made it clear that they have no intention of maintaining wages and standards for the workers. In fact they have made it clear they may not even retain the staff at all.

The situation becomes particularly disturbing when one considers the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) owns the Scarborough Town Centre and Oxford Properties Group, the real estate firm that manages the property. OMERS is one of Canada's leading pension funds with over $48 billion in net investment assets at December 31, 2009.

A website has been set-up to help educate the public and OMERS members which include municipal workers, Children's Aid Society workers, firefighters, emergency services staff, police, non-teaching school board staff, transit workers and Hydro workers; about what is happening to the cleaners. Supporters are being encouraged to contact the presidents and CEOs of OMERS and Oxford Properties.


The Cleaners are planning an action at the Scarborough Town Centre for this Saturday around noon. Workers and their supporters will be gathering at the Scarborough YMCA.

WHAT: Rally to Protect Good Jobs
WHERE: Gather outside Scarborough YMCA by STC
WHEN: Saturday February 19 @ 11:30 AM
Scarborough YMCA
230 Town Centre Court
Toronto, ON
M1P 4Y7



  • About Scarborough Town Centre
  • About OMERS
  • About Oxford Properties Group
  • Making Connections (Diagram mapping relationship between OMERS, the workers who contribute to the fund, Oxford, the STC, Marquise Facilities Group, and the 37 workers.
  • Meet Your STC Cleaners (Three brief worker profiles)

For more information, please visit *

* Please note site may not be 'live' until Friday February 18, 2011.

The Service Employees International Union is the largest and fastest growing union in North America, with 100,000 workers in Canada and two million workers across Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico.

Contact Information

  • SEIU Local 2
    Diego Mendez
    National Communications Coordinator