Messages of support cover Tyndall Park Liquor Mart amid renewed calls for emergency summit
Employees feeling empathy, fear, anger after latest robbery: union president
People have posted messages of support on the doors of the Tyndall Park Liquor Mart after the Winnipeg store was temporarily shut down following a violent robbery on Wednesday.
"Get well soon!" reads a note written on bright pink paper and adorned with hearts drawn in black marker. "Your community cares about you."
"Tyndall Park is full of good people," reads another on fluorescent orange paper. "Be one!"
The handful of supportive messages come days after the store was the target of a robbery during which an employee was punched in the head and knocked unconscious.
A video of the incident obtained by CBC News shows a hooded assailant yelling and pushing a security guard, then yelling at an employee behind the counter. The assailant then comes behind the counter, yells at the woman and punches her in the head, knocking her to the floor.
The woman was taken to the hospital in critical condition, and was later upgraded to stable.
After the attack, the Crown corporation announced it was fast-tracking plans to introduce secure entrances — locked doors at which customers will have to show photo ID before they're allowed inside — at all its Winnipeg stores.
The union representing Liquor Mart employees in the province called the messages of support "amazing," and said they're a small gesture that will go a long way for its members.
"I know they would be thrilled to know of the support that's there behind them," said Michelle Gawronsky, president of the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union.
"At that store in particular right now, our members are experiencing a very wide range of feelings all over — concern and empathy for their co-workers, fear for their own safety, anger that more hasn't been done to protect them and to stop these incidents."
Workers losing sleep, throwing up from stress
Gawronsky said she's heard from dozens of liquor store employees who say the stress of the job has become "insurmountable."
"It's really tough on everyone," she said. "Some of them aren't sleeping properly. They're waking up in the middle of the night, worrying about what's going to happen in the morning — some are vomiting, some of them aren't eating, some are overeating."
She added the number of liquor store employees taking stress leave has been on the rise.
Gawronsky said Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries' latest security measures are a step in the right direction, but more still needs to be done.
"Having these secure doorways is another tool in the belt," she said. "But it's not the ultimate solution."
Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries responded to interview requests Friday with a generic statement, saying all the information it can provide about the new security measures was shared on Thursday.
Gawronsky called again for an emergency summit with the provincial government and other union leaders to come up with solutions to escalating violence.
"Our members want to go back to just doing their jobs and serving customers as best they can, [and] do the work that they take great pride in," she said.
"They want to be able to get home safe and sound, mentally and physically, after their shifts are done."