TORONTO, On -- Tropicana workers returned to the picket line this morning reeling from having witnessed a violent attack against a picketer on Friday, December 18th. The victim is today missing her first day of picketing in 7 weeks to seek medical care. She reports that she is still in significant physical pain after having been threatened, punched, and pushed to the floor by a family member of the Tropicana management team.
A police report has been filed, and an investigation is pending. Legal counsel for the Union wrote to Tropicana management asking them to provide access to the surveillance footage of the attack as soon as possible. SEIU Local 2 is concerned that the footage may be compromised since the assailant is a senior Tropicana manager's sister.
The strike is a direct result of years of wage freezes and management's continued insistence on wage freezes. Tropicana has taken the untenable position to prolong this strike instead of providing the modest 1% wage increase every year for three years asked by workers. Tropicana management actively ratcheted up tensions on the picket line by hiring security guards and strike-breakers, fomenting a situation where violence was more likely to occur. The assault ultimately rests on the shoulders of Tropicana management.
As the pandemic worsens and Ontario enters into full lockdown protocols, workers are at increased risk on the picket line. Talks between management and SEIU Local 2 resumed on Friday, December 18th, following the worker assault, but so far have stalled. Following the breakdown, workers gathered at Honourable Ahmed Hussen's office on Saturday to demand that he act to end unfair wage freezes for Tropicana workers. SEIU Local 2 is ready to return to the table to settle the situation at any time.
SEIU Local 2 represents workers in Nova Scotia, Ontario, Alberta, New Brunswick and British Columbia.