Even as the weather cools and the pandemic worsens, Tropicana management prefers to spend its publicly-funded budget on strike-breakers and security guards and its time on spreading falsehoods rather than engage with workers’ concerns in good faith. Tropicana recently sent a letter to its donors and members to misinform its stakeholders about the Tropicana workers’ strike.
Management’s letter reads, “We made a fair offer that struck the balance between recognizing our unionized employees’ contributions to Tropicana, and the ability to sustainably offer culturally appropriate and supportive programs to those most in need – today and in the future. The union rejected our offer.”
Tropicana further claims that it is limited by constraints in Bill 124, which is currently facing a charter challenge after similar legislation was struck down as unconstitutional in Manitoba.
Paul Taylor is the Executive Director of FoodShare, another non-profit organization in Toronto, Ontario. Despite similar limitations by Bill 124, Taylor has committed to providing FoodShare workers with fair increases and pandemic top-ups. He says: “I was really disappointed to hear about the long-term wage freeze for many of the staff at Tropicana. We're all working hard to build a better world, a world that ensures that work lifts people out of poverty. Non-profits should never be exempt from helping to build the kind of world that we know is possible.”
Tropicana has only ever offered at least three more years of wage freezes and other clawbacks to entitlements. The workers have countered to accept the 1% wage increase limited to them by Bill 124 while having the union take over the delivery of benefits to ensure that Tropicana experiences no increases in payments over the next three years. This arrangement is fully compatible with the constraints of the likely-unconstitutional Bill 124.
Furthermore, Tropicana has refused to come back to the bargaining table to discuss this offer with workers. On November 23rd, after workers had informed the Ministry of Labour that they are willing to go back to the table, management rebuffed their request to meet. Workers have thus continued to picket.
Marc Tremblay, a Resource Development Coordinator with Tropicana, comments: “Our offer is very reasonable, especially given the circumstances. They have said countless times they want to negotiate, yet they make no effort. This type of misdirection, obstruction and disrespect is a long-standing characteristic of Tropicana management and part of the reason why we went on strike it the first place.”
SEIU Local 2 represents workers in Nova Scotia, Ontario, Alberta, New Brunswick and British Columbia.