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Warehouse Workers Commission Report and Launch

An evening of food, culture and testimonials

Saturday, November 23, 2019, 4 pm – 6 pm

Immigrant Workers Centre, 4755 Ave Van Horne Suite 110, Montréal

https://www.facebook.com/events/2678167875566768/
 

The Immigrant Workers Centre would like to invite you to participate in the launch of our report which was based on a two-year investigation on the conditions faced by warehouse workers in Montreal. There will be an event on Saturday, November 23rd at 4 pm. This event will feature the testimonial of temporary agency workers in warehouses that are active in organizing, because of the conditions they face; from low-wages, job insecurity, health and safety, and for status. The event will also be a chance to celebrate and come together with cultural performances and a community dinner provided by the Guinean community.

 

This was a project that was led by a core group of 5 temporary agency workers, who conducted group interviews and surveys with 50 workers in Montreal warehouses and distribution centres which have become “the new factories” in Montreal. As e-commerce and just in time distribution plays a crucial role in neoliberalism from the rise of Amazon, and other retail giants focusing more on online sales. Warehouse workers become critical in the economy. These workers as highlighted in the report are mainly temporary agency workers without job security, without access to basic rights, and are often racialized workers from Africa, Haiti, the Philippines, Egypt and other places.

 

The report itself is not just an opportunity to discuss the conditions faced by these workers but a chance to come together in solidarity to find ways to organize for justice for these warehouse workers to defend their basic labour rights.

Placement Agency Organizing at the IWC in 2018-2019

Over the past year, ATTAP has had three main priorities. Here, we will provide an overview of organizing activity which has taken place to advance those priorities.

 

Over the past year, the Immigrant Workers Centre has continued its efforts to organize workers who are employed via placement agency. The main organizing body that does this work is the Association des travailleuses-eurs temporaires et d’agences de placement (ATTAP), a branch of the IWC.


 Reform of the Labor Standards Act


This year, the amendment to the Labor Standards Act, Law 176, was adopted on June 12, 2018. The main reforms that concern us are those regarding the supervision of employment agencies and the conditions of temporary foreign workers. While the law has been passed, the regulations—which will stipulate how it is enforced—are still pending. During the consultation period, the IWC, alongside allied groups, organized two discussion meetings on Bill 176, and extended invitations to (im)migrant workers. Following these discussions, the ITC made proposals and presented a brief to the National Assembly Committee. The changes which occurred can be taken as a victory for us and our demands.


Since the adoption of the law, the IWC has been pursuing two types of activities:


1) Dissemination of information on new labor standards to (im)migrant workers;

2) Sending proposals for regulations to the Government.


Warehouse Work Survey


In October 2017, the IWC and ATTAP launched an research-action project based around working conditions in warehouses in the greater Montreal area. This project has multiple objectives:


1) Document working conditions in warehouses;

2) Formulate proposals for improving working conditions based on the experiences of workers;

3) Recruit warehouse workers to create a support network;

4) Create a network of solidarity aroundthese issues.


In this context, a commission of inquiry was created, composed of workers who are currently working or who worked in one or more warehouses, in collaboration with volunteers. The project is conducted in the following stages:


1) recruitment of participants;

2) semi-structured surveys and interviews;

3) data analysis;

4) publication of the results.


Thanks to a grant from the Beati Foundation, six workers participated in three training sessions and they recruited and interviewed nearly 50 others. Questions and discussions during interviews highlighted the working conditions in the warehouses. The final report will be published in November 2019 and will include recommendations to improve conditions for warehouse workers


Creation of the ATTAP Women’s Committee


A group of women from ATTAP organized a campaign to raise issues of sexual and psychological harassment in the workplace. The objectives of the campaign include bringing women workers, who face similar issues, together to discuss and evaluate their situations, as well as to create a workplace awareness campaign for people in similar situations, and to challenge these situations using laws and policies applied by CNESST. This campaign was prepared and launched in 2018-2019 and will be extended in 2019-2020.


Activities


Beyond these broad campaigns, ATTAP has also organized a series of specific activities. These include:


  • A demonstration in May 2018 against precarious work at the National Assembly in Quebec City
  • Continuation of the campaign of solidarity with Sandra Cordero against police brutality and political repression – Dinner / Projection in May, rallies at the courthouse and court with our allies.
  • March 2019- ATTAP presence at the 2019 international women’s march
  • Continuation of the awareness campaign on deportations to Guinea
  • June 2019-Ministry of Labor search against placement agencies- awareness campaign around Parc metro
  • Two ATTAP members, Lucy, and Sophie, whose cases have been followed for a long time, have received confirmation of the acceptance of their humanitarian requests.
  • Outreach at Parc-Ex to develop links with a group of Punjabi workers

Agency Workers Have the Right to Holiday Pay. Did you get yours?

Agency Workers Have the Right to Holiday Pay.
Did you get yours?

If you didn’t receive your holiday pay on May 21st, June 24th, or July 1st, bring your pay stubs to 4755 Van Horne, Suite 110 (near Metro Plamondon), on July 6th at 3:30pm. The Temporary Agency Worker’s Association can help you claim it.

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Les travailleuses domestiques veulent être protégées par la CSST – 10 Avril 2011

Radio-Canada.ca: Les travailleuses domestiques veulent être protégées par la CSST – 10 Avril 2011

Launch of the Temporary Agency Worker Association!

This past December 14th, A group of Temporary Placement Agency Workers raging from undocumented workers, from agency workers in hotels, day laborers working in greenhouses, to factory workers in distribution centres, to other where-house workers, and low wage workers In the health care sector came together to launch the Temporary Agency Worker Association.

 

The association aims to create a framework to campaign for the labour rights of agency workers. To end the situation of workers who do not even have same basic rights as many other workers. Temporary workers are no longer “temp” but becoming “temporarily” permanent.

 

Most of these workers are no longer on the margins of the economy, but are central to the functioning of the economy. In most where house work, day-labor in the agricultural sector, food processing, and in the healthcare sector, agency workers are becoming the Norm. In fact, these agencies are part of one of the fast growing industries in Québec; according to Statistics Canada, in 2008 there were approximately 1200 placement agencies across the province, and the industry had an estimated value of $1 billion.

 

Unfortunately, many immigrants who work for these agencies experience poor working conditions. Beyond the fact that the rights of these are often not respected as those of other Quebec workers, im/migrant workers sometimes do not report labour standard violations because they have concerns about their own status.

 

Employers are well aware of this fact and use them to avoid the application of even the most basic labor standards let alone decent and fair work conditions. Many workers work beyond the 40 hour work week without over time pay. Many agency workers do not have access to vacation pay, health and safety. Also agency workers have become victims of wage theft, or paid below minimum wage.

 

The association is aimed at bringing together these non unionized workers, to challenge the individual work place issues, as well as work towards improving working conditions for temporary placement agency workers regardless of their immigration status, through basic solidarity, and uniting agency workers, to build their organization to defend their rights, to fight for better and decent labor standards that protect all agency workers as workers, regardless of the immigration status, and to build services and a community union that meets the real needs of low wage immigrant workers. The group also intends to continue to raise awareness of this issue, in order to pressure the government to take these important steps to respect agency workers’ rights. Also to support migrant justice movements for Regularization of all non-status people.

 

In October 2011, the Temporary Workers Campaign (which included the Immigrant Workers Centre as well as other Montreal organizations such as Au Bas de L’Echelle), presented a petition to the Minister of Labour stating these demands. In November 2011, the IWC with Dignidad Migrante, formed the Temporary Agency Workers Association, and since that time we’ve been doing our best to support workers and move forward with our demands.

 

The Workers, during the campaign, called on the Ministry of Labour to implement the following measures:

 

Regulate the placement agency industry by requiring agencies to obtain a permit that must be renewed each year upon proving their solvency, in order to eliminate the problem of fly-by-night operations. As it stands, some workers lose out on their pay or benefits like employment insurance when precarious agencies suddenly shut down. Some companies have been known to close shop unexpectedly, and then open up again under a different guise in order to shirk their obligations.

 

Make the placement agency and the company who is contracting out the work jointly responsible for respecting the workers’ rights. Currently, employers contract out agencies so that they can bypass the standards outlined by Quebec’s Labour Standard Commission. We believe they must be held accountable.

For more information about the Temporary Agency Worker Association and to download our leaflets or if you are an temporary agency worker and want to become a member

 

=>tawa.mtl@gmail.com

 

To support our demands and campaign for changes to Labor Standards in Quebec you can download a copy of the petition at the following=>

 

If you wish to support financially the worker of the organizing of Temporary agency workers you can support the Immigrant Worker Centre and make a donation at the following