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Toronto – December 19, 2012 – A delegation of former Zellers workers, community leaders, and labour rights advocates called on the Holiday Spirit as they gathered in front of Target Canada headquarters on December 19 to hand deliver more than 1,000 protest letters from Canadians expressing their displeasure with Target’s Walmart-Scrooge-like treatment of retail workers and former Zellers employees in particular.
“I’m very, very disappointed by the way Target is treating Zellers workers. Not only are these hard working people with families, but they’re also my fellow Canadians,” says Santa Claus, a long-standing resident of Canada’s Northwest Territories, who led the community delegation in presenting Target with the stack of not-so-festive letters.
After taking a quick puff of his pipe, Santa adds that he’s been keeping a stern eye on the American-based retailer ever since it was first announced that every Zellers worker would be fired and forced to reapply for the same job, in the same place, but for starting pay – in spite of more than 30 years of loyalty, retail experience and outstanding service, in some cases.
In addition to helping Santa deliver the letters, the community delegates – representing the Ask Target for Fairness Campaign, Workers Action Centre, Basics Community News Service, UNITE HERE Local 75 and UFCW Canada Local Unions 175 & 633, 1000A and 1993 – debuted their collection of special holiday songs which includes “Target is Coming to Town”, “Bullseye the Red Nosed Pitbull” and "Wreck the Malls."
“Target has chosen to take a path in Canada that is utterly unfair and socially irresponsible when it comes to Zellers workers and their communities, and because of that, more and more Canadians are seeing Target as the Grinch of the retail industry,” says Kevin Shimmin, an anti-poverty activist and retail union organizer for the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW Canada). “This latest rally at Target Canada Headquarters was all about showing Target that a growing number of Canadians are taking notice and they don’t approve of giving 10,000 Zellers workers and their families a pink slip for a holiday gift. Together, we want and need fairness in the retail industry.”
The community action on December 19 follows a mass demonstration at Target Canada Headquarters earlier this year.