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Solidarity with Tim Hortons Workers

January 10, 2018

Since the introduction of the new $14 minimum wage on January 1st, workers across the province have been subjected to bullying by their bosses. Workers have had benefits reduced or eliminated and unfair and sometimes illegal roll backs have been common.

Perhaps no business has been more blatant in their attacks on workers than Tim Hortons.

The owners of the Tims franchises in Cobourg told employees that they would be forced to pay for their own uniforms and to have their tiny perks, such as one free drink per shift, eliminated.

The Tims franchises in Cobourg are owned by the heirs to the vast fortune amassed by the company since its founding in 1964. The family patriarch, Ron Joyce is worth $1.4 billion and lives in a mansion in Florida in the winter. His children were the ones who wrote the notice to employ- ees that they were having their benefits reduced.

These people have the ability to both pay a living wage and to provide benefits for their employees. It is shocking that they would be so openly greedy. But they are not alone.

Workers at restaurants such as the Sunset Grill chain are being told that their tips will be taken by management.

These bosses and many others are trying to use the minimum wage increase to take even more from their employees.

Media coverage of the raise has focused on the short term impact on bosses while saying little or nothing about the need for the increase.

Income inequality in Ontario has been growing and the minimum wage has not kept up with rising expenses. A study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives found that the bottom half of wage earners in Ontario account for only 19 percent of the wealth generated in the province.

And most media coverage has ignored the studies that have shown that a minimum wage increase actually improves the economy.

A study done in the US by the National Employment Law Project looking at the impacts of minimum wage increases since 1938 showed that they do not reduce jobs. In fact, in most of the cases studied, a raise in the minimum wage actually increases employment.

This study concludes that “opponents’ perennial predictions of job losses when minimum-wage increases are proposed are rooted in ideology, not evidence.”

Workers earning minimum wage tend to spend their money locally, which stimulates the economy.

While some have called for a boycott of Tim Hortons, we believe that it is better to show our solidarity with the workers by calling on the bosses to end the punitive attacks on workers and, crucially to support union drives that can give power to the people who actually produce the wealth – the workers!

For a list of actions please see the Fight for $15 and Fairness

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