The Construction of Precarious Work

By Opinion No Comments

A couple of weeks before my fifteenth birthday, I got a job in a restaurant working as a hostess. It was my first experience of paid work. During my training I learned how to greet and seat customers (or “guests” as I had been told many times to call them), polish and roll cutlery, take take-out orders, take reservations, and take a waiting list on a busy Friday night. Along…

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Activism at Work

By Opinion One Comment

At the age of fifteen, I landed my first job at Canadian Tire. That was the start of a career in the service industry where I would spend my next fourteen years working in retail, grocery stores, restaurants, and hotels from Manitoba to Vancouver Island. For me, working in the service industry became the distraction that kept me from doing what I really wanted to do with my time. It…

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November Worker’s Stories

By Opinion No Comments

In November… 1887, the Haymarket Martyrs were executed after being wrongfully convicted of being involved in the bombing of 7 police officers who were trying to break up a rally advocating for an eight-hour workday. 1855 was the birth of Eugene V. Debs – labor leader, socialist, five-time candidate for U.S. president, organizers of one of the first industrial unions in the U.S. (the American Railway Union), and one of…

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Retail Workers Tackle On-Call Scheduling in Court

By Opinion One Comment

This October, two new class action lawsuits were launched against big brand-name retailers in California. BCBG Maxazria and Forever 21 have been accused of “a new form of wage theft” due to their exploitative on-call scheduling practices. Employees are scheduled for on-call shifts, for which they are required to report to work, and then not given work or reporting-time pay as legally required. In addition to violating legal obligations, this…

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Retail Action Network launches Fall of 2015

By Press Release No Comments

The Retail Action Network is a new project that has just launched in Lekwungen Territory, also known as Victoria, BC.  We are bringing together retail workers and labour activists to turn the tide in the relationship between workers and their employers in the service sector. Clearly, retail and service sector work is undervalued in comparison to other industries in our community when we look at the consistently low wages, the…

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