A majority of workers at an H&M store in Mississauga, Ontario have voted "Yes" to UFCW Canada representation. The votes were tallied immediately following a secret ballot certification vote held Thursday, October 6 at the H&M location in the Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga, Ont.
The victory for the workers (called "sales advisors" by the company) will make their store the first of H&M's more than 50 Canadian locations to be unionized. With a certificate expected shortly from the Ontario Labour Relations Board, first-contract negotiations could begin before the end of the year.
The new members are mostly college-age and work as cashiers, merchandisers, and shelf stockers.
"This victory belongs to all of the members at the Square One H&M store who from the start were determined to form a union. They never lost their energy or enthusiasm to stand up for their rights and make their store a better place to work," says national representative Kevin Shimmin — a member of the organizing team, which also included organizers Amy Tran and Mike Mattioli of UFCW Canada Local 175, and national representative Alex Banaag.
The workers were also encouraged by the fact that UFCW/RWDSU had recently organized and negotiated a good first-contract at sixteen of the Swedish company's H&M stores in New York City. The Square One H&M workers' organizing efforts were also buoyed by an internationally coordinated solidarity campaign by UNI Global Union and unionized H&M workers in Sweden and across Europe.
"Good things happen when workers stand together," says UFCW Canada National President Wayne Hanley. "We welcome the new members at H&M, and we congratulate them for opening the door for other Canadian H&M workers to stand in solidarity and organize."
"We also look forward to the same kind of good positive working relationship with H&M that already exists at its other unionized locations in the USA and Europe."