Montreal: IWW Action Following Wave of Abusive Firings at Heritage Coffee

The following report comes from the Montreal branch of the IWW, and details a picket action against a coffee shop who fired two wobblies for union organizing.

Wednesday February 28th, the Montreal branch of the Industrial Workers of the World (SITT-IWW) started a picket line in front of the distribution centre Heritage Coffee, situated at 5715 chemin Saint-François in Ville Saint-Laurent. This picket line follows the firing of two workers, members of the SITT-IWW, for union organizing. A lot of members called on Monday to communicate to the employer their frustration towards this decision that goes completely against the most fundamental rights of the workers.

Friday February 23rd, around the end of her shift, Tessa Mascia was asked to come in the office of the Chief Operating Officer where she was fired. “The COO handed me a letter and said I was fired. I thought he was joking. He said he was not. He said “it just wasn’t working out,” like he was some teen kid breaking up with a high school hook up.” explains Tessa. The worker was however a good employee. She had one of the highest levels of productivity among her coworkers and was just certified to operate a forklift merely weeks prior. On Monday, February 26th, Kyle Shaw-Müller, another union member, was fired without even receiving a termination letter. He was asked to come into the office of the director after he trying to convince his colleagues to ask the employer to reverse his decision to fire Tessa. “I knew I was putting myself on the line: but to be fired without warning for talking to someone about another firing? Shocking.”

After numerous calls on Monday, a picket and a meeting with negotiators from the union, the employer is still refusing to cancel his illegal and rash decision. The Industrial Workers of the World will therefore not only call upon the legal means at its disposal, but will also mobilize the strength of its membership (Canadian and International) to change the employer’s mind.

The Industrial Workers of the World has many branches around the world, including one that is based in Montreal. Its members are working towards the construction of a union model based on robust working class solidarity, known as Solidarity Unionism. This model is characterized today by a focus on direct action at the workplace, as exemplified in our campaigns at Starbucks Coffee in the United-States or at Frite-Alors! in Quebec. The Union will continue in the creation and deployment of determined flash mobilization networks directly focused at the workplace in solidarity with workers under attack.