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Solidarity with HBC workers on strike

June 27, 2022
HBC workers strike and win!
Workers at the HBC e-commerce warehouse in Scarborough have stared down the corporation, blocked scab busses and won significant gains including retroactive pay and raises. 
It's right to STRIKE!

More than 330 workers at the HBC e-commerce warehouse in Scarborough are on strike. The warehouse is the processing facility for online HBC orders and operates much like an Amazon fulfillment centre.  

They are demanding retroactive pay increases that they did not get during the pandemic. The workers continued to work during the worst of the Covid pandemic, putting themselves at risk while HBC’s profits from their e-commerce division grew.
Many workers have years of experience at this facility. With inflation climbing for rent, gas and food, they have fallen far behind the minimum salary required for a living wage in Toronto. Socialist Worker spoke with workers who despite a decade of work, are still only making about $18 an hour. The pre-inflation minimum living wage in Toronto was set at $22.
HBC took money from the federal government through the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) but none of that money actually went to these workers. These pandemic profiteers are nickel-and-diming workers, offering a measly 36 cents for the first year and 18 cents in the second year and refusing to pay the retroactive pay workers are owed since their contract expired in May 2021.
Striker Margaret Henry explains, “We are striking today because we don’t have fair wages, we are underpaid and they are increasing quotas. We need our retroactive pay from years back. We have sacrificed our families to work through the pandemic. They are refusing our retro pay and we need a pay increase to keep in line with the cost of living which is going up every day. If we take what they are offering us which is not good we are just falling back into poverty which we cannot afford.”
Workers on the picket line spoke of being forced to use up their vacation days when they were ill. To add insult to injury, workers can only access an employee discount if they sign up for an HBC credit card – reminiscent of the ‘company store’ model which fleeces workers when they are on the job, and when they are off the job.
The constant drive by managers to speed up the already relentless pace of work, combined with no pay increases in years, has these workers furious.
The corporation is trying to bring in scab buses to keep the operation going. Workers have stood strong and defeated these efforts, and trucks have not been able to enter the facility. Many tradespeople are also respecting the picket line.
The strikers remain defiant and have said that they will put themselves on the line to keep the facility shut.
Henry called for the line to hold fast. “They are trying to get through here, but we are going to make sure that nothing can be done in here. NO in NO out!”
Join the picket line and show your #solidarity at: 100 Metropolitan Rd, Scarborough. The key time to support is early in the morning when the scab buses are being brought in.


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