Someone hears about the IWW by un.e ami.e, we contact us online and we arrange to meet and discuss ways to take to claim the stolen wages. This is how many of our start campaigns Reclaim your pay, but our most recent will is not bound to the ordinary. Tale of a victorious campaign, the biggest in the history of our industry.
In his first message in late January, a worker tells of a chic restaurant closed, checks that bounced and more hours worked but not paid. They call to ask for more details, and we learn that they are 11 employé.e.s closed restaurant have bounced checks and / or unpaid wages! The information is relayed to the voluntary union for campaigns Reclaim your pay, and at the magnitude of the case, a team of three Wobblies is formed. Quickly, a meeting is organized with the greatest possible travailleurs.euses. At this first meeting, 5 of the 11 are presented, we count all wages to demand to realize that more than 20 000$ are at stake! We also note all relevant information about the boss: in addition to the closed restaurant, He is also co-owner of a chain of coffee shops in Montreal and coffee distribution company. He also has a habit of not paying its employé.e.s; the travailleurs.euses have heard similar stories in their, which spread on 10 last years. The boss will not easily let impress. This time, against, the claim will be organized and supported by a union. We do not lose anything to wait, we immediately establish a schedule of direct action to do in the coming weeks.
All campaigns SITT-IWW to claim stolen wages are based on direct action. The 11 employé.e.s have everyone made a complaint to the CNESST (except one, who worked in the black), but these complaints can easily take a year to reach a payment. For more travailleurs.euses, One year is too much to wait for three to four weeks of payroll. Direct action puts pressure on the employer to convince him that he has more to lose if he does not pay, without going through the legal. It is always the travailleurs.euses who democratically choose what actions, although union members can suggest them some.
The first step is to send letters of request to the boss, to remind him of the amounts payable and to inform the union is now on the case. While the letters are being delivered, the boss contacts a worker of 11 with the intention of paying it after she complained publicly. union members accompanied to this meeting, taking the opportunity to put the application letters to the boss personally. He takes the letters without reacting and not receiving any message from them by mail / e-mail or phone. It's time to start actions.
We start by sending emails denouncing the situation in several bosses in case of partners, without results. then continues with a "phone zap", where for two hours several people continually call to shops boss to block phone lines, and a blitz of negative comments on the pages of its companies (facebook, google, yelp, etc). To raise public pressure, is published on the website of the union an article that directly exposes the boss and unpaid wages. At this stage, three weeks have passed and certain.e.s travailleurs.euses receive boss Messages for, in short, threaten them with lawsuits and tell them that the union does not scare him. The next action, early March, continues escalating pressure tactics, this time physically with cafes whose boss is co-owner to distribute leaflets at the entrance. The managers are panicking a little, but we managed to pull three days to three coffees without too much trouble.
This is the week of towing the union is finally contacted by the boss to arrange a meeting, held the 14 mars. When it, it serves us the usual stories: "This is a misunderstanding, I'm the real victim, we could just talk not need to attack me ", etc. Rest you leave the meeting about 12 000$ checks! 6 of the 11 Former employé.e.s are now completely payé.e.s, there are still a few thousand to claim for 5 other.
The rest of the campaign covers 4 month, during which we discuss and negotiate with the boss to get the rest of salaries. One time, it seems that the boss ignores us, then organized a small action of towing two of its cafes, to get back his attention. The whole story is concluded on 19 June, when the last checks we are supplied by the employer. One worker did not have any money, and it is because it has decided to stop the campaign of direct action and rely solely on complaints it filed with the CNESST. It was noted that the worker who was being paid below the table has received his money, without particular difficulty.
In total, efforts 11 travailleurs.euses and the union have helped claim 20 995$, in unpaid hours 4%. Certainly a direct action campaign involves more work than the single gesture of complaint, but this considerable victory shows us once again qu'armé.e.s solidarity, we can overcome all obstacles, and build a better world for tomorrow.