Six women who participated in a months-long strike this past fall and winter had their employment terminated by Lennox and Addington Interval House (LAIH) on the day they returned to work. The shelter workers are represented by Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector union.
According to one employee, the striking workers had negotiated and ratified a deal with their employer to return to work on Thursday, Apr. 28, 2022, “and that, if we didn’t report to our shift, our job would be considered abandoned. So we were all like, ‘Okay, we’ve got to be there on Thursday’… But [the Executive Director of LAIH, Sue Weir] said, “No, no. Come Friday for a meeting.”
The employees reported for work, the employee said, “and that was when [Weir] terminated everybody. Just one after the other.” The employee said that the women were terminated for participating in “lawful picketing.” Her identity is being withheld for privacy reasons.
Weir refused to negotiate with the employees from December on and was accused of bringing in “scab” workers to do the jobs of her employees at the shelter, so the employee believes that more terminations are coming, but that termination meetings are being intentionally delayed.
Called for comment, Weir did not answer the phone on Tuesday, May 3, 2022, but on her voicemail message, she stated, “Hi, you’ve reached the voicemail of Sue Weir. I will be away from my office from May 3 until May 18.”
According to the staff member, members of the Board of Directors, including Adrianne Lovelock, the recently appointed Board Chair, sat in on the termination meetings, and “basically endorsed” the terminations.
Unifor will be meeting with current employees and recently terminated women this evening, Tuesday, May 3, 2022.
This is a developing story with more to come.