Tim Hortons employees strike over 30 cent raise dispute

Tim Hortons employees in Winnipeg went on strike on Friday because they wanted a raise of 30 cents an hour, but their employer was only willing to give 20.

Quinn Patrick Montreal QC

Clarification: A previous version of this report had a headline that stated the Tim Hortons employees went on strike over a 10-cent raise. The Tim Hortons employees went on strike after they did not agree to their employer’s offer of a 20-cent raise, effectively striking over the 10-cent difference.

A Winnipeg Tim Hortons locked out its employees Friday morning after its employees demanded a thirty-cent hourly raise.

The Tim Hortons employees picketed at Portage and Main to fight for their wage increase. Ben Garus, a baker who started working at the franchise in August told the Winnipeg Free Press, “We really aren’t asking for much.”

The wage increase is almost equivalent to the price of a timbit.

The location had 15 workers, who are represented by the Workers United Canada Council and during the most recent round of collective bargaining they asked for a 30-cent per hour increase. JP Shearer, the franchise owner, made a counter offer of 20 cents, bringing the wage to $11.95/hr.

Union representative, Andy Spence said to the Winnipeg Free Press the union rejected the offer and had hoped to further negotiations however Shearer responded by giving the employees two weeks notice before locking the employees out and bringing in new workers.

The franchisee operates six Tim Hortons locations in Winnipeg, but only the shops at Lombard Avenue and Graham Avenue are unionized said Spence.

There was a 20-cent an hour raise offered to the unionized employees on Graham and they agreed but when the Lombard shop held a strike vote in December, there was an overwhelming agreement to take action with 95 percent in favour of a strike.

The union was initially certified in 2017 and their first agreement involved a  30-cent raise which brought their hourly wage up from $11.15. Employees are now hoping Shearer will match that for them and help move them towards a living wage.

Living Wage Canada released a report for Manitoba back in 2017 and calculated that for a family of four, with both parents working full-time, the hourly wage had to be $14.54 to cover all costs.

Cherry Garcia, 36, an employee of the Lombard location for seven years, said the extra 10 cents/hr would do a lot to help support her daughter. “It will add up,” she said.

In the meantime, the location’s new employees tended to the morning coffee-break rush, while the manager refused comment.

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