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Taking on Tim Horton’s

Peter Hogarth

February 25, 2018

On Tuesday February 13, a day before Valentine’s Day, people from across Ontario showed their love for Tim Horton’s workers and spread the word about the new laws for workers in the province.

The Valentine’s event, set for the 13th to respect the annual February 14 Strawberry Ceremony for missing and murdered indigenous women, took place in more than 250 Tim Horton’s locations in 30 cities. Fighters for $15 and Fairness and union members showed up to deliver Valentine’s cards, chocolates and gifts to Tim Horton’s workers with posters advertising the new laws governing workplaces in Ontario since the passing of Bill 148.

Since January, many Tim Horton’s franchises have been exposed for cutting benefits and perks, taking away paid breaks and generally trying to punish workers for the increased minimum wage and other labour law improvements. The $15 and Fairness campaign and the Ontario Federation of Labour have been organizing actions to draw attention to Tim Horton’s and its parent company Restaurant Brands International. The goal is to shame them into reversing the cuts, show employers around the province that you can’t bully your workers and get away with it, while simultaneously reaching out to workers at Tim Horton’s and elsewhere; showing them solidarity and informing them of their rights.

The passing of Bill 148 and the business backlash demonstrate that the movement for $15 and Fairness is not over. The passing of the Bill represented a huge victory for workers across the province who hit the streets, hounded MPPs, petitioned, protested, occupied and went on strike for $15 and Fairness. We have to defend the gains of the bill and fight for more.

The actions in support of Tim Horton’s workers are a part of that fight, pressing businesses looking to punish workers and putting pressure on the Liberals, NDP, Tories or anyone who would hope to govern the province after June, 2018.

While tarnishing the brand’s reputation and consumer threats have shown the power and popularity of the decent work message, the real power to enforce these labour laws will come from inside these restaurants. Tim Horton’s workers and others facing employer backlash are the source of their bosses’ profits. Collectively organized and uniting together, they can face down their employers and demand much more. Spreading the word to people in workplaces across the province about what has been won, what is under attack and how we can defend and extend those gains is an important step towards building that power. 

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