March 21, 2013: Ex-Klinec Manufacturing workers fight for termination pay
March 21, 2013|Posted in: Uncategorised
Ex-Klinec Workers and community allies rally to demand payment
In August 2012 workers at Klinec Manufacturing were informed they would have a $3 per hour wage cut imposed, from $13.80 to the minimum wage of $10.25. The non-unionized workers walked off the job in response. The workers identified violations of health and safety rules, inconsistent shifts, a general climate of disrespect and harassment, no benefits, and no washroom supplies and so on.
Members of the CAW, Windsor Workers’ Action Centre, neighbours, and other community allies rallied with the workers and attempted to negotiate with the employer. He refused to make any concessions and approximately 20 workers resigned from the company.
Why we are here today:
The workers filed claims with the Ministry of Labour for termination pay under the Employment Standards Act. In the fall of 2012 the Ministry determined that the reduction in pay constituted constructive dismissal under the Act and issued orders to pay in various amounts depending on the length of employment. The owner, Paul Klinec, has refused to even acknowledge the claims and has been given ample time by the Ministry to comply.
The workers, owed literally tens of thousands of dollars, have again rallied at the Klinec Manufacturing plant with community allies to demand payment of money owed. We are calling on the owner to do the right thing and pay the workers termination pay as ordered by the Ministry of Labour and for the Ministry of Labour to more aggressively pursue these claims.
2012 News Coverage of Klinec workers’ walkout:
Precarious work and vulnerable workers backgrounder: Paul Chislett
A recent interim report by the Law Commission of Ontario (LCO), Vulnerable Workers and Precarious Work found that precarious work can be defined as that which includes “… low income, little control over the labour process and limited access to regulatory protections”; and, as well, researchers mentioned in the report adopted four indicators of precarious work: “… low income (defined as less than 1.5 times the minimum wage), no pension plan, small-sized firm and no union coverage.” (p.13) The workers at this plant, past and present, meet the criteria set out in the law commission report as vulnerable workers in precarious work.
On page 9 of the report, vulnerable workers are described as “… those who whose work can be described as “precarious’ and whose vulnerability is underlined by their “social location” (that is, by their ethnicity, sex, ability, and immigration status”; …[t]herefore, vulnerability in this context refers not to the workers themselves but to the situation facing them, both in their work environment and in other aspects of their lives such as their health, their families, their ability to participate in their community and their integration into Ontario life.” Precarious work is global in scope and “…workers at the lower end of the wage and skill spectrum are struggling in insecure employment to make a decent wage.” (p. 9)
The former Klinec workers’ experiences in this workplace define in real life terms what the law commission report is describing. Having left this workplace, described in the attached media release, fair treatment continues to elude these workers as they wait for termination pay ordered by the Ministry of Labour. The LCO recommends, on p. 63 of its report that the “Ontario government ensure adequate resources for [Employment Standards Act] compliance and enforcement, with a particular emphasis on proactive enforcement.”
Following is a news report regarding the LCO interim report:
Board president WWEC, member at large Social Justice Windsor District Labour Council, host of campus community radio program The ShakeUp on CJAM 99.1FM