GDC Local 6 Endorses Canadian’s Fight Against Deportation

General Defense Committee Local 6 appeals to all GDC locals and IWW branches to hold fundraisers for the legal defense of Fellow Worker Deepan Budlakoti.

The Canadian government is attempting to strip him of his citizenship, even though he was born in Ottawa, Canada and held a Canadian passport. Both of his parents, immigrants from India, are Canadian citizens.

Deepan ran into some trouble with a break-and-enter in 2009; he was arrested, convicted, served a four-month prison sentence, and released. The next year, the Canadian government decided to deport him as a non-citizen. The police then set an undercover police officer to entrap Deepan for trying to buy two hunting rifles. They also charged him separately with trafficking drugs; lacking the funds to mount a defense, Deepan pled guilty and served nearly 4 years in jail.

Over that time, the government has continually attempted to deport him. After serving his time, he is detained by immigration officials. Only when India refused to issue this Canadian citizen travel documents for deportation did the Canadian government release him on April 10, 2013 under strict conditions.

Since then, the Ottawa-Outaouais GMB has tirelessly sought to win justice for him in two wage theft cases, which have been resolved successfully.

To fight deportation, Deepan has launched a Charter of Rights challenge in the federal government to keep from being deported from his home and native land.

Deepan is on the spearhead of an attempt by the government to use criminal history, even for people that have served their sentences, as cause for stripping them of their citizenship and deporting them. By dehumanizing convicts, immigrants and the children of immigrants in this way, it is then a short step for the government to apply this practice against its critics and political enemies who run afoul of the law during protests, direct action and civil disobedience.

We urge all IWW and GDC members to take the following steps to support Deepan and the fight for all of our freedom:

Please make your presence felt and engage in whatever actions you see as necessary to raise funds and awareness about Deepan’s campaign for justice across Canada and across the world.

Ottawa-Outaouais IWW Rescinds Protest and Boycott of CAA

Following a meeting on September 9, 2014 with representatives of CAA North & East Ontario, the Ottawa-Outaouais General Membership Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) is calling off actions targeting the automotive insurance group. The dispute began when one of CAA NEO’s independently owned and operated contractors, Glen’s Towing, failed to provide overtime and termination pay to former employee Deepan Budlakoti. He was also provided with a fraudulent Record of Employment and T-4 that didn’t account for all the hours that he worked, as it did not include the many overtime hours worked (paid out at the regular non-overtime rate), attributed to a “commission” line on his pay stubs.

Until recently, Glen’s Towing has operated in the Ottawa area as one of CAA’s contractors. The IWW has learned that CAA NEO ceased contracting with Glen’s Towing in July 2014. The IWW is pleased with the outcome of our meeting with CAA NEO representatives.

Picket actions took place at CAA locations in Montreal, Quebec and Ottawa, Ontario. These actions informed the public about this issue; a meeting between CAA NEO and the IWW took place shortly thereafter. The IWW has agreed to end actions targeting CAA NEO given their demonstration of social responsibility in this matter. The IWW is satisfied that CAA NEO has ceased contracting with Glen Comeau, an employer who routinely violates the Employment Standards Act, and with other measures that CAA has taken to remedy the situation and effect a settlement of this dispute.

However, Mr. Budlakoti’s fight continues. The fraudulent Record of Employment that Glen’s Towing provided Mr. Budlakoti, fails to document any of the overtime hours worked. This has caused Mr. Budlakoti’s Employment Insurance application to be denied due to insufficient hours worked, resulting in further financial hardship. I f all hours worked were properly attributed, Mr. Budlakoti’s EI claim would not have been denied for this reason.

Glen Comeau, who also operates multiple towing companies including 514 Towing in Montreal, continues to avoid all contact with the IWW and the Ontario Ministry of Labour. The IWW is continuing to support an employment standards claim against the employer, Glen’s Towing, and continues to seek an outcome that will make Deepan whole with respect to his EI entitlement by providing him with proper documentation of the hours that he worked.

The IWW wishes to thank Deepan Budlakoti’s supporters in the Ottawa-Outaouais region, as well as members of the Montreal and Toronto IWW branches for their part in organizing actions.

The IWW is a member-driven organization that is willing and dedicated to achieving justice for working people. For more information about the IWW please visit http://iww.org.

Contacts:
Ottawa-Outaouais IWW Secretary;
Deepan Budlakoti, member,
Ottawa-Outaouais IWW, 613-265-1364

IWW Pickets CAA

Ottawa-Outaouais General Membership Branch
Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)

MEDIA RELEASE

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.”

For more information, please contact the Ottawa-Outaouais
IWW Secretary info@ottawaiww.org, and Deepan Budlakoti, 613-265-1364.

IWW Settles with Vittoria Trattoria

Ottawa-Outaouais General Membership Branch
Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)

MEDIA RELEASE

July 15, 2013

For Immediate Release

IWW SETTLES WITH VITTORIA TRATTORIA

OTTAWA—The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) reached an agreement with the owner of Vittoria Trattoria in the case of Fellow Worker David Wightman. The IWW picketed the restaurant on July 9 and 10.

“The agreement is satisfactory to both parties and we have agreed to not discuss its terms further,” said Ahmed Hertani, an IWW representative.

Arbitrary firings and disrespect for the Employment Standards Act are major problems in Ottawa. Service industry employment standards need to be raised for servers and other staff that depend on gratuities to make a living. Organizing a union is the best way to achieve lasting improvements and defend against management abuse.

“Wage theft is a growing trend among bosses who decide to not pay some or all of the wages, severance pay and other benefits earned by their employees. Workers such as David can win these fights when they unite and take action,” said Hertani.

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For more information, please send an email to info@ottawaiww.org

VITTORIA TRATTORIA FIRING UNFAIR, MUST NEGOTIATE WITH THE IWW OR FACE BOYCOTT

Ottawa-Outaouais General Membership Branch
Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)
MEDIA RELEASE
July 9, 2013
For Immediate Release

VITTORIA TRATTORIA FIRING UNFAIR
MUST NEGOTIATE WITH THE IWW OR FACE BOYCOTT

OTTAWA—The Industrial Workers of the World are picketing Vittoria Trattoria (William Street location) to defend a member unfairly fired on May 18, 2013.

After two years on the job, our member spoke up to demand fair treatment for his co-workers and to improve health and safety standards at the restaurant.

In response, Vittoria Trattoria summarily fired him. The manager did not give our member two weeks notice nor was he paid two weeks’ termination pay as required by the Employment Standards Act. His response to legitimate workplace concerns was to fire the worker and intimidate by example the restaurant’s remaining employees.

The IWW will continue to picket the restaurant to demand fair treatment for our member and for all Vittoria Trattoria employees. Our member is not the only worker who has faced this unacceptable behaviour.

The IWW is calling on Ottawans to not cross our picket line and to respect a boycott of both the William Street and Rivergate Way restaurants until management meets with our union to negotiate in good faith and to respond in a fair and meaningful way to our settlement offer.

Arbitrary firings and disrespect for the Employment Standards Act is rampant in Ottawa. Furthermore, wage theft is a growing trend among bosses who decide to not pay some or all of the wages, severance pay and other benefits earned by their employees. Workers can win these fights when they unite and take action.

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For more information, please contact Heather Bostelaar, IWW Organizer, 613-618-9459

Ottawa Police, City Must Stop Harassing Panhandlers

POLICE, CITY MUST STOP HARASSING PANHANDLERS

MAY DAY NEWS RELEASE

May 1, 2013

Ottawa—The Ottawa Panhandlers Union of the Industrial Workers of the World is calling on the Ottawa Police Service and the politicians at City Hall to stop harassing and intimidating panhandlers.

It is time for Ottawans to stand up for this city’s panhandlers. The police continue to use the Safe Streets Act as a tool to sweep the streets, making it more difficult for panhandlers who are trying to simply get by, day by day.

We are urging our members and the public to watch out for police officers who are pulling the following tricks:

Threatening Tickets Citing Irrelevant Bylaws

Police officers are telling panhandlers in the Market area that they are going to issue them tickets using Byward Market Bylaw 2008-449. We’ve read the bylaw and it only applies to vendors; not panhandlers who do not sell anything.

Pressuring business staff and owners to complain about panhandlers

Police are entering businesses in order to solicit complaints from owners and staff about panhandlers on the street nearby. Fortunately, many business owners and staff resist the police pressure to file a complaint. We thank them for their efforts. Police should stop this tactic immediately; it’s not their job to make up complaints so they can harass our members and people on the street.

The Ottawa Panhandlers Union finds these tactics of misinformation and harassment unacceptable. The police should know better.

We urge Ottawans to write their city councillors and the Ottawa Police Service to let them know what they think of this behaviour.

***

The Ottawa Panhandlers Union was formed in 2004 as a way for people on the street to unite, help each other and defend against police, municipal and provincial attacks. For more information or to get involved with the Ottawa Panhandlers Union, email opu@ottawaiww.org.

Industrial Worker – Issue #1754, April 2013

Headlines:

* Wobblies Organize, Strike At Nonprofit In Minneapolis

* Grand Rapids Call Center Workers Win Union Election

* 100 Million Workers Go On General Strike In India

Features:

* When Child Care Workers Fought Back

* Special: Requiem For A Campaign

* OBU & Horizontal Worker Cooperatives In Texas

Available for just $2 at the following Ottawa stores:

Britton’s Westboro
352 Richmond Road
Ottawa, ON K2A 0E8, Canada
(613) 729-0551

Globe Mags & Cigars
57 William St
Ottawa, ON K1N 6Z9
(613) 241-7274

Mags & Fags
254 Elgin St
Ottawa, ON K2P 1L9 Canada
(613) 233 9651

Want back issues? Email ott-out@iww.org if you need others or check www.iww.org/projects/IW for PDF versions.

Industrial Worker – Issue #1753, March 2013

Headlines:
* Solidarity Greetings for International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month
* IWW Workers Fight Wage Theft, Abuse At Portland Restaurant
* Grand Rapids Call Center Goes Wobbly
* Factory In Greece Under Workers’ Control

Features:
* How Can Your IWW Branch Fight Patriarchy?
* Special: Women’s Struggles Celebrated Through Song
* Analysis: Anti-Assimilation, Radical Queer Tendencies & Class Struggle

Available for just $2 at the following stores:

Britton’s Westboro
352 Richmond Road
Ottawa, ON K2A 0E8, Canada
(613) 729-0551

Globe Mags & Cigars
57 William St
Ottawa, ON K1N 6Z9
(613) 241-7274

Mags & Fags
254 Elgin St
Ottawa, ON K2P 1L9 Canada
(613) 233 9651

Want back issues? Email ott-out@iww.org if you need others or check www.iww.org/projects/IW for PDF versions.

Ministry Issues Cheques For Unpaid Wages Case

Ottawa-Outaouais General Membership Branch
Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)
MEDIA RELEASE

February 20, 2013
For Immediate Release

OTTAWA—Fifteen months is a long time for workers depending on minimum wage to wait for justice.

The Ontario Ministry of Labour has issued cheques to IWW members Stephen Toth and Brandon Wallans, owed unpaid wages, in response to a long and arduous battle with a holdout employer.

“This satisfactory settlement is a message to other Ottawa employers that respecting their workers and paying them their wages is not optional,” said Ahmed, an IWW spokesperson.
Stephen and Brandon are very happy with the result and look forward to helping other workers defend their rights on the job and fight wage theft.

Wage theft is a growing trend among bosses who decide not to pay some or all of the wages earned by their employees. These thefts can be fought by workers most effectively when they unite and take action, not just through formal legal channels but also by hitting the picket lines.

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For more information, please send an email to info@ottawaiww.org