Subject: Salvation Army--The Struggle Continues
It's the fourth week of the Salvation Army workers' strike.
These workers have been offered, in some cases, a one-cent (not per cent) per hour raise after two years of negotiations. In addition, a reign of terror has existed in the workplace since the workers unionized--harassment, firings, suspensions and reprimands. All of this is the subject of an unfair labour practices complaint before the Ontario Labour Relations Board.
A second complaint has been filed this week. Managers have been harassing the workers, insulting them and attempting to provoke them.
Meanwhile, we are looking into an Employment Standards complaint as well. We now have letters from clients comp,aining tat they are being forced to do the work of the strikers. In one case, the choice was simple--be evicted from the hostel or work. Payment is in cigarettes or movie passes.
The public, who contribute to the Salvation Army's Red Shield Appeal, should ask where their money is going. The Army has the money to increase managers' salaries by 18%. They have the money to carry out extensive renovations at the Booth Centre, not in the actual areas where their clients take shelter, but in the business office section on the ground floor. They have the money to hire security guards. They have the money for expensive video surveillance equipment. They have the money to pay "replacement workers" more than the workers they are replacing. But they don't have the money, they claim, to pay their workers more than a dollar or so above the minimum wage.
The public may wish to reflect on the ethics of using vulnerable clients to do the strikers' work--clients who are in no position to refuse. They may wish to question the payment of clients in cigarettes--when the Salvation Army is officially opposed to the use of tobacco. They may wish to direct their charitable doantions to the Shepherds of Good Hope or to the Union Mission. They may wish to let the Salvation Army national headquarters in Toronto know that they are concerned.
Individual Salvation Army officers have expressed sympathy and even joined the picket line. One minister has refused to read from the pulpit a request for people to cross the picket line. The Army is now engaged in an aggressive recruiting campaign, putting up ads in Employment Centres and at Carleton University asking for replacement workers. Those who telephone the number are asked what they think of unions and whether they would be prepared to cross the picket line.
Support on the line (at George and Cumberland in the By-Ward market) and financial donations to the Local (the workers were cut off their medical insurance last Friday by the Army) would be warmly appreciated. The Manager of the Booth Centre, Ms. Connie Woloschuck, has stated her intention to keep the workers out at least until Christmas. Let's make the strike shorter!
[Declaration of interest:As most of the readers of the ng know, I am a vice-president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada.] -- Cheers, "Si hic legere scis, nimium eruditionem habes." John
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