By Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN)
The CSN and the Immigrant Workers Centre (IWC) are denouncing Amazon’s practices at its Montréal-area fulfillment centres. Amazon is engaging in behaviour that is a flagrant violation of the Labour Code and the Act respecting occupational health and safety, including harassment, unwarranted disciplinary measures, offers of payment to withdraw CNESST complaints about work accidents, dismissal of injured workers who take time off work, and management interference with the current unionization drive.
Amazon employees met with the media this morning to talk about the many acts of retaliation they have suffered after pursuing entirely legal remedies with the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) or for supporting unionization.
David Bergeron-Cyr, vice-president of the CSN, which is actively supporting the organizing drive, condemned Amazon’s strategies: “We saw how Amazon behaved in the U.S., so we knew it would be a tough campaign. We’re dealing with one of the worst employers in the world. Starting in the spring and continuing throughout the fall, Amazon plastered its warehouses with anti-union posters and sent all employees repeated text messages urging them to reject unionization. They waged an all-out scare campaign. They brought in executives from all over North America to talk to the employees. Amazon will stop at nothing to keep its employees from unionizing.”
The IWC, which has been helping Amazon employees in legal proceedings with the relevant authorities, concurs. “We were well aware that Amazon was doing all it could to evade its responsibility to report every work accident to the CNESST and to contest every claim that was filed,” said Mostafa Henaway, IWC community organizer. “But now we’re learning that Amazon has been taking action against injured workers who exercise their legal right to compensation and a healthy recovery, that it has been promising workers money to drop their complaints to the CNESST, that it has fired employees who dared file a claim following a work accident. It’s mind-boggling.”
The CSN, founded in 1921, was the first major union federation in Québec. It has nearly 1,600 affiliated unions and defends more than 330,000 workers in all sectors in all parts of Québec. The Immigrant Workers Centre (IWC) advocates for the rights of immigrants in the workplace and fights for dignity, respect and justice by providing immigrant workers with services in multiple languages.