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Opinion

Intervening to Protect the Right to a Discrimination-Free Workplace

Workers have a right to a workplace free from harassment and discrimination, regardless of who is behind it. Or so we thought, based on the past twenty years of Canadian human rights law. This March 28, the Supreme Court of Canada will hear an important case concerning human rights protections for workers in BC, and potentially across the country. In Schrenk v. British Columbia (Human Rights Tribunal), 2016 BCCA 146…
Retail Action Network
March 15, 2017
OpinionRights

Gender and Workers’ Rights

In solidarity with International Women's Day (IWD), we are hosting Gender and Power in the Workplace on March 8, 2017 from 7.00 to 9.00 PM. Join us for drink specials, a film screening and facilitated discussions.   The history of the workers’ rights movement can be traced back to the 18th century when the industrial revolution created a “working class” that sold labour to factory owners. At that time, workers faced increasingly…
Opinion

Starbucks’ Pledges to Hire 10,000 Refugees

Starbucks has received much praise for their commitment to hire 10,000 refugees as a response to Donald Trump’s U.S. Immigration Ban. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz demonstrated his opposition to Trump’s actions in a passionate open letter, and pledged to hire refugees that have served with the U.S. military. Given the immense economic, cultural, and political influence of franchises like Starbucks, their role in swaying public discourse and resisting white supremacy…
Retail Action Network
February 5, 2017
Opinion

Workers’ Story Forums in Victoria

On Wednesday, January 11th, the BC Employment Standards Coalition, in collaboration with the Victoria Retail Action Network, will bring its workers’ story forums to Victoria. These bad job story forums began in Vancouver in October last year when a series of six all-day open forms were held at various locations throughout metro Vancouver. At these forums workers are given the opportunity to talk about their bad job experiences to demonstrate…
Retail Action Network
January 5, 2017
Opinion

Buy Nothing Day and Worker Solidarity

November 25th, 2016 is an international day of protest against consumerism known as “Buy Nothing Day”. The event was first celebrated in 1992, and was popularized by Vancouver-based artist Ted Dave. Since then, it has grown to include celebrations and protests in more than 65 nations. Buy Nothing Day deliberately coincides with “Black Friday”, a notorious day of sales which began in the United States but now occurs in other…
Retail Action Network
November 24, 2016
Opinion

Organisations in Cooperation: A Step Towards Making a Difference

It is well known that there is strength in numbers; this is obvious in struggles across the world, from past to present. Sectarianism, however, along with separatism and plain apprehension, often keep us from wielding that collective strength and putting it to good use. How many of us have listened or sung along to the famous IWW song "Solidarity Forever" full of optimism and a sense of camaraderie? Are we…
Robyn Karina
August 7, 2016
Opinion

Workers at Zara Unionize!

On August 2nd over a thousand workers at eight Zara retail stores in New York voted to unionize, and will now be represented by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) Local 1102. This marks the first time that Zara employees have unionized in the United States, and the move comes on the heels of widespread criticism of the company’s unreliable and exploitative scheduling practices. In 2007, Zara employees…
Natalia Sudeyko
August 7, 2016
Opinion

Management Admits: Direct Action Is the Only Way

"The only reason you were payed this money is because your little group kept terrorizing the coffee shop with little mindless protests..." So admitted Shelby Oswald, a manager of Wild Coffee -- the establishment the Retail Action Network had its recently victorious campaign against, where illegal abuse was done to a worker. The keyword, of course, in this eloquent statement is "only" which, oddly enough, brings a slight agreement between…
Robyn Karina
August 7, 2016
OpinionRetail Action

The Wild Coffee Campaign

From the Beginning In early January, organisers from the Retail Action Network met up with Shea, a barista from downtown Victoria’s Wild Coffee. She let us know that she was removed from the schedule, and was unable to get her last paycheque from her employer, Marla Donaldson. Since the Retail Action Network first began, we had heard stories from retail and hospitality workers from across the region that had regularly…
Opinion

The First of May: The World Workers’ Day

Fellow workers! May Day, also known as International Workers' Day, on the 1st of May, celebrates the international working class in solidarity across the world as we all struggling against the exploitation and oppression inherent in capitalism, as we all struggle for a better world of mutual aid, peace, and cooperation. This day, no matter how many class-conscious workers are able to come out into the streets to sing and…
Robyn Karina
April 11, 2016