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

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

LABOUR MINISTRY ORDERS CAMEO SALON (A.K.A HYPE SALON) TO PAY STOLEN WAGES

Ottawa-Outaouais General Membership Branch
Industrial Workers of the World
MEDIA RELEASE
May 11, 2012
For Immediate Release

OTTAWA— After months of picketing by the Ottawa-Outaouais Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and community allies, a very stubborn boss who has failed to pay her ex-workers has been issued two Orders to Pay Wages by the Ontario Ministry of Labour (Order # 80016401-OP and Order # 80016403-OP).

Cameo Salon & Spa Ltd., and the principal operating the business, Ms. Claudette Wilkinson Fagan, has been ordered to pay our members, Stephen Toth and Brandon Wallans, $1,211.52 and $1,769.56 respectively for hours worked at the minimum wage rate, plus 4% vacation pay. The decision, issued April 24, 2012, followed an investigation launched in late 2011 and a hearing with the parties held on March 29, 2012.

The Ministry’s investigation revealed violations of the Employment Standards Act and ordered payment of the stolen wages within 30 days of the date of the decision. The Ottawa-Outaouais IWW stresses that failure by the employer to comply with the Orders by the end of this period will be responded to with an immediate resumption of picketing of the Bank Street salon. Picketing will continue to highlight the salon’s labour practices as well as the growing trend of wage theft to the public, until such point that payment is made in trust to the Ministry or until the salon’s assets are seized and liquidated.

Ms. Fagan responded to one of the claims of wage theft by alleging that her career in hairdressing begun when “someone helped me”, “…presumably under a similar ‘no-wage’ arrangement”, as put in the decision by the Ministry following their investigation into Stephen Toth’s claim.

To the wage theft of Brandon Wallans, Ms. Fagan responded by stating that he chose to accompany his friend, Mr. Toth, while he was at the salon and that he “volunteered his services because he had nothing better to do”, a submission that was not accepted as credible by the investigator in his decision. This was in light of significant evidence provided by the union of an employment relationship, including that he had a business card, keys to the salon, attended staff meetings and that on at least one occasion closed the salon at the employer’s request.

The Ottawa-Outaouais IWW has heard excuses by wage-stealing bosses in the past. However, none have been as creatively constructed as Ms. Fagan’s.

Wage theft is a growing trend among bosses who decide to keep some or all of the wages a worker has earned. These thefts can be fought by workers most effectively when they unite and take action, both through formal legal channels as well as by hitting the picket lines.

The degree of police harassment of our picket lines and of our community allies is also unprecedented in this matter. Given the Ministry’s determination that Ms. Fagan and Cameo / Hype Salon have violated the Employment Standards Act, we call on the police to uphold the law for workers and not just for the bosses.

Finally, we call on members of the Ottawa Police Services to respect our constitutionally-protected rights of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of association and to refrain from unlawfully harassing any IWW pickets in the future.

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

SALON WORKERS PICKET BOSS WHO STOLE CHRISTMAS

Ottawa-Outaouais General Membership Branch
Industrial Workers of the World

MEDIA RELEASE
January 10, 2012

For Immediate Release

SALON WORKERS PICKET BOSS WHO STOLE CHRISTMAS

OTTAWA—Two workers who helped launch a new hair salon in Ottawa in November went without wages this Christmas because their boss did not pay them. The Industrial Workers of the World will continue to picket the salon this week.

Management at Hype Unisex Salon and Spa, located on 386 Bank St., refuses to pay Brandon Wallans and Stephen Toth the $3,600 they are owed for 7 weeks of work.

Hype Owner, Claudette Wilkinson Fagan, has not responded to a demand letter from the workers’ lawyer and refuses repeated requests by the workers and their union to negotiate a settlement or discuss the matter.

“Wage theft in today’s economy is common in Ottawa or anywhere in Ontario,” said Ahmed, secretary of the IWW branch in Ottawa. “Brandon and Stephen are experiencing hardship because of Hype’s refusal to do the right thing. Everyone has the right to get paid for work done.”

The Ottawa-Outaouais IWW will continue holding picket lines at 386 Bank Street and invites the media to speak with the workers and hear their story.

More information about wage theft in Ontario can be found at OttawaIWW.org

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

I.W.W. Pickets Bank Street Hair Salon

When Fellow Worker Brandon Wallans quit his job along with Fellow Worker Stephen Toth at Hype Unisex Salon and Spa because he realized he wouldn’t get paid for several weeks worth of work, and started picketing the business alone, his ex-boss told him she would bring a friend of hers to put an end to his one-man picket. Brandon did not have to wait much longer before an aggressive police officer showed up and started harassing him, writing him tickets for breaking a city by-law before crumpling them up and stuffing them into the fellow worker’s jacket. When from across the street, an ally from the Canadian Union of Postal Workers National building approached Brandon to offer him coffee, he was charged with obstruction of justice. This was the beginning of the wage theft case that the Ottawa-Outaouais General Membership Branch is now fighting on the picket line.

Fellow Workers and community allies have held numerous pickets outside Hype on Bank Street over the last few weeks highlighting the business’ labour practices as well as the rising wage theft incidences across Ontario to the neighbourhood. They have put up with several incidences of police intimidation designed to disrupt their legal and constitutionally-protected picket line.

In the last couple of weeks Hype has been investigated and fined by the city health inspectors for not following proper code, and more recently has been put under an investigation by the Ontario Ministry of Labour in response to complaints and the union pickets. The Ottawa-Outaouais IWW will continue to press for the wages owed to Brandon and Stephen through direct action.

Union Members Picket Hype Hair Salon

Ottawa-Outaouais General Membership Branch
Industrial Workers of the World

MEDIA RELEASE

December 19, 2011

For Immediate Release

UNION MEMBERS PICKET HYPE HAIR SALON

WAGE THEFT IS NOT A ‘SPECIAL EVENT’ IN OTTAWA

PICKETS
TUESDAY, DEC. 20, 12.30PM
WEDNESDAY, DEC. 21, 12:30PM
THURSDAY, DEC. 22, 12:30PM
FRIDAY, DEC. 23, 12:30PM

OTTAWA—Two union members are demanding their first month’s pay from a hair salon on Bank Street the week before Christmas.

Brandon Wallans and Stephen Toth, members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), are owed approximately $2,400 and $1,200 respectively for a combined 7 weeks of work at Hype Unisex Salon and Spa at 386 Bank Street.

“We thought helping launch this salon was a great opportunity, but the manager took advantage of our enthusiasm. When we realized that we would not get paid, we quit.”

Management at Hype now denies Brandon and Stephen were employees. She has rebuffed all attempts of the union to negotiate a settlement or discuss the matter. Instead, she has repeatedly called the Ottawa police in order to disrupt the picket line while she snuck clients into her salon through the back door.

The police have threatened Brandon, Stephen and their supporters with charges of trespassing for picketing on a public sidewalk. Police ticketed Brandon under Ottawa’s Special Events on City Streets bylaw during his first week.

“Wage theft in today’s economy is common, not a “Special Event” in Ottawa or anywhere in Ontario,” said Ahmed, secretary of the IWW branch in Ottawa.

The IWW will continue to press for justice and demands that the Ottawa police respect our lawful picket and the rights of our members as guaranteed under the Constitution of Canada. Everyone has the right to get paid for work done.

The Ottawa-Outaouais IWW will continue holding picket lines at 386 Bank Street and invites everyone who is concerned about workplace justice to join us.

More information about wage theft in Ontario can be found at OttawaIWW.org

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

Wage Theft Feature

You may have personally experienced or know someone who has experienced wage theft, which is a very real and frequently occurring form of corruption in many workplaces.

Wage theft occurs when an employer (or ex-employer) keeps some or all of the wages you have earned.  Bosses have all sorts of tricks and excuses when it comes to stealing wages.

If you are experiencing wage theft check out our recently published and constantly updated Wage Theft Feature page, contact us and join us in getting your wages paid with direct action!

IWW: The Fighting Union For All Workers!