Ottawa-Outaouais General Membership Branch
Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)
August 29, 2014
For Immediate Release
IWW TO PICKET CAA IN SUPPORT OF DEEPAN BUDLAKOTI
OTTAWA – Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) members and supporters of Deepan Budlakoti, a member of the Ottawa-Outaouais General Membership Branch, will hold an information picket on August 29 at 12pm, at the CAA Travel office located at 1224-1226 Wellington St. West. This picket will inform the public about CAA’s role in an ongoing wage theft case.
Mr. Budlakoti was employed by CAA subcontractor Glen’s Towing, owned by Glen Comeau, which was established in Ottawa at CAA’s behest. Although he had seven months of successful service, Glen’s Towing terminated Mr. Budlakoti after CAA demanded a criminal record check. Glen Comeau systematically defrauded Mr. Budlakoti and other employees by failing to pay overtime and requiring his drivers to work beyond the maximum allowable hours per day. Furthermore, Mr. Budlakoti’s Record of Employment was issued with falsified information, failing to accurately report his hours of service in order to hide the illegal nonpayment of overtime. As a result, Mr. Budlakoti is further penalized by appearing not to meet the minimum hours of service to qualify for Employment Insurance benefits.
Glen Comeau has been the subject of past Employment Standards violations, a fact that doesn’t seem to concern the CAA North and East Ontario President, Christina Hlusko, who refuses to meet with IWW representatives regarding this matter. The IWW intends to bring this to the attention of the public as CAA is the primary customer of Glen’s Towing. Users of CAA services deserve to know about their complicity in this issue. The IWW is asking people to voice their concerns to both Glen’s Towing and CAA North and East Ontario and boycott both organizations until Mr. Budlakoti is paid what he is owed and receives accurate paperwork. IWW branches across Canada support Mr. Budlakoti. Montréal members picketed CAA-Québec on Thursday, August 21st. More actions in these and other cities across the country are pending, should CAA continue to refuse to meet with the IWW to discuss what concrete actions they can take to remedy the situation.
Ottawa-born Mr. Budlakoti is no stranger to combating injustice. He is known for being targeted for deportation by the Canadian government despite being born in Canada and not holding any other citizenship, making him functionally stateless. His case is before federal courts and has received extensive media coverage. Further information is available at www.justicefordeepan.org.
Wage theft is a growing problem. “This case has affected me financially based on the fact that I can’t get Employment Insurance because my ex-employer falsified my Record of Employment and shorted me on hours,” states Mr. Budlakoti, who adds “CAA is supposed to be a reputable business yet they did not attempt to rectify the situation. They are not doing due diligence on their side. They are choosing which policies to enforce and not enforce.”