Hamilton, Ont. – January 21, 2013 – Dozens of Swiss Chalet workers in Southern Ontario are now members of UFCW Canada Local 206 following a winning unionization campaign in Hamilton and a rare Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) ruling against the company's attempt to prevent its employees from joining the union in Paris, a community about 100 kilometres from Toronto.
The new Swiss Chalet members in Hamilton decided to join Local 206 after a change in franchisee ownership saw management reduce pay and revoke vacation hours for long-time staff, while ignoring employee complaints regarding persistent scheduling conflicts.
Workers voted overwhelmingly in favour of unionizing in November 2012 and the newly organized workers are now part of Swiss Chalet's master collective agreement. Local 206 organizer Joe Blythe noted that even though management primarily discriminated against senior staff, young workers were just as enthusiastic about joining the union as their older colleagues.
Local 206 is also in the process of negotiating a first contract for Swiss Chalet workers in the town of Paris after the OLRB ruled that the company wrongfully interfered in its employees' effort to unionize by firing one of the workers who initiated the organizing campaign. The Board decided that the dismissal was an attempt to punish the employee for their involvement in the unionization drive, and reinstated the worker while certifying Local 206 as the official bargaining agent for the restaurant.
"A decision like this is exceedingly rare and we are elated to represent the new members at both locations," says UFCW Canada Local 206 President John Hurley. "Restaurant employees face some of the most abusive and volatile working conditions in the country, so it makes sense that Swiss Chalet workers have chosen a strong advocate to defend their interests in the workplace," Brother Hurley adds.
To find out more about UFCW Canada Local 206, visit their website at ufcw206.com.