“We are up against a very predatory employer who wants nothing more than to drive down further the low wages our members already earn,” said Florry Foster, OPSEU President, Local 137.
Toronto (15 Nov. 2012) - Members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) employed as support staff at St. Clair College, will hold a barbecue lunch to support food service workers, their co-workers on the main college campus. The employer, Compass / Chartwells, refuses to pay these workers wages comparable to those paid at other colleges and universities. The rally is scheduled for November 14 at noon at the main campus of St. Clair College.
“Windsor has the highest unemployment rate in Canada,” said OPSEU President, Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “These workers are fighting for good jobs in their community. And OPSEU/NUPGE stands with them. All working people deserve to live with dignity.”
“Compass / Chartwells like to boast about being named on a list of Top 50 Green Employers and as a proponent of Fair Trade,” said Florry Foster, President of OPSEU/NUPGE Local 137. “If this is so, then why can’t they pay their own employees a fair wage? These workers are all women – adding salt to our wounds!”
The 22 food service staff work for a privatized operation, Compass / Chartwells, not the college itself. The company is one of Canada’s largest food services providers.
In contract negotiations, the company offered to raise the hourly rate by 10-cents an hour. But it then demanded in return a one-dollar increase in the daily food cost paid by staff. The result would have been a net loss of 20-cents per day in wages for these women.
The workers, represented by OPSEU/NUPGE, are demanding wage parity with food service workers at Huron College in London. Some of the Windsor workers earn less than $12 an hour, which is 15 per cent less than similar workers at Huron.
“We are up against a very predatory employer who wants nothing more than to drive down further the low wages our members already earn,” said Foster. “This is intolerable and we are determined to fight back vigorously. Furthermore, it’s outright exploitation of women workers!”