Approximately 75 workers at Unfirst Canada walked off the job this week in Langley, BC. Instead of helping its hard-working staff keep up with the rising cost of living, the company is offering raises that are below industry standards and far below the current rate of inflation.
The workers are members of Teamsters Local Union 213. They clean uniforms and workwear and deliver them to major companies like Costco, Canadian Pacific, Pepsi, BC Hydro and more. The company is profitable and its Langley, BC, location is extremely busy.
Most of the workers in bargaining unit come from an immigrant background, and almost all of the non-delivery staff are women of colour. Strong and united as members of the Teamsters Union, they are not afraid to fight for a fair deal.
“In today’s chaotic, high-inflation world, all we want is a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. It’s not something any Canadian should have to fight for, and it’s not something we’re going to back down from,” said the president of Teamsters Canada, François Laporte. “Unifirst workers can count on the complete support of their over 125,000 fellow Teamsters from coast to coast to coast.”
Unfortunately, the company has begun using managers and scab workers in an attempt to bust the union and deliver to some of their biggest customers. It’s something Tony Santavenere, principal officer and Secretary-Treasurer of Local Union 213, is going to tackle head-on.
“Unifirst thinks they can break us. They are going to have to think again. We will be putting up floating picket lines whenever and wherever these scab deliveries are made. Unifirst workers are fed up and we won’t back down until this company gives its workers a fair raise,” said the local union leader.