Union campaigns to help Zellers workers
UFCW says its efforts will help staff at Thunder Bay store facing Target takeover
The union representing workers at several Zellers stores is campaigning against Target's hiring policy.
Zellers workers from different store locations are combining their voices to ask Target for fairness. As part of the campaign, the group has worked with friends and labour rights advocates to launch www.targetfairness.ca.
The campaign website calls on supporters to make a stand for fairness by sending a letter to Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel, and by alerting their Facebook friends and Twitter followers to this issue facing Zellers workers and their communities across the country.
"This is an important campaign for everyone who cares about fairness and respect," said Kevin Shimmin, an anti-poverty activist and union organizer for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. "5,000 people could lose their jobs."
Zellers associates at 16 store locations in B.C., Ontario and Quebec are members of the retail workers union.
Target is converting more than 100 Zellers locations in Canada, including the Intercity Mall in Thunder Bay.
The United Food and Commercial Workers Union said employees must re-apply for the same job — but at starting pay.
Spokesperson Kevin Shimmin said he hopes enough pressure will change Target's mind.
"The first step is trying to get enough community support in Thunder Bay and to demand that it does the right thing," Shimmin said.
No Thunder Bay stores are represented by UFCW, however the union said its campaign will help all workers. All workers, it said — regardless of whether they belong to the UFCW or not — are being told to apply at entry-level pay rates.
Shimmin said residents can show their support on a Facebook page called "Ask Target For Fairness", or by going to www.targetfairness.ca.
Target did not return CBC's calls for comment on this story.