Toronto — January 15, 2015 — Target Canada’s failure in Canada, “is a direct result of its bully tactics and its disrespect for Canadian workers and shoppers,” says Paul Meinema, the National President of UFCW Canada (United Food and Commercial Workers union). On Thursday, Target announced it would be shutting its 133 locations and filing for Companies’ Creditors protection, only 22 months after opening stores in Canada. The company’s entry led to the shutting of the Zellers chain, and Target’s refusal to honour the jobs of more than 20,000 Zellers workers.
“Target was a bad neighbour and Canadians don’t accept that,” says Meinema, the leader of Canada’s union for retail workers. “They kicked aside the Zellers workers who had many years of experience and good jobs that supported thousands of families. A good neighbour would have welcomed them. Instead, Target showed them the door.”
Target’s decision to clean house and to hire a new workforce not only caused hardship for the Zellers workers and their communities. It also contributed to stores where shelves were often empty because of poor inventory tracking and merchandising. Respect for consumers was also suspect, after Target’s computers leaked the credit data of 700,000 Canadians to hackers.
“The Harper government gave Target the green light to move in,” says Meinema, “while rejecting a national petition that the government ensure any takeover by Target would require the company to respect the rights of Canadian retail workers.”
“Twenty thousand jobs were lost then. Now add to that the crushing news that another 17,000 workers are being shoved out,” said the UFCW Canada leader. “We are very concerned for the Target workers and their families, and appalled that Harper’s rubber stamp approval of the corporate agenda has once again injured tens of thousands of workers and their communities.”
UFCW Canada is Canada’s leading private sector union, representing more than a quarter of a million workers in Canada’s fastest growing industries. UFCW Canada is the country’s most innovative organization dedicated to building fairness in workplaces and communities.