Warehouse workers at U of T Press are on strike as of Monday March 5. “We’ve worked as hard as possible to reach a fair and equitable contract with U of T Press,” said CUPE 3261 president Ron Hoinkes. “But the employer is being unreasonable.”
Right now, CUPE 3261 employees earn just $9.36 an hour, with no benefits. Many of them need to hold down two or three jobs, just so their families can survive. In current contract negotiations, these workers are asking for a modest increase to $10 an hour plus benefits. But the U of T Press is refusing to agree.
In its mission statement, the U of T Press sees its purpose as “advancing the University of Toronto’s role as Canada’s leading institution of higher education and enhancing its stature.”
Apparently, they think the way to do this is to force their part-time warehouse workers to live in poverty. At the same time, U of T Press counterparts at the University of Toronto (owners of U of T Press) earn over $13. per hour.
“All we’re asking for is a decent living wage and benefits so that we have some sort of security net,” Hoinkes continued. “It’s hypocritical of the U of T to have such a double standard when it comes to workers having a living wage. The U of T Press refuses to pay us a liveable income.”
“U of T Press is one of the country’s most prestigious publishers and is owned by Canada’s leading university. How can they maintain their dignity and reputation when they treat their most vulnerable employees so badly?” Hoinkes concluded.
At this time it is not known how the strike will affect the operation of U of T Press or the retail outlets they supply.
For further information:
Mary Catherine McCarthy, CUPE National Representative, (416) 292-3999;
Wendy Forbes, Communications Representative, (cell) (416) 892-8716;
Ron Hoinkes, President CUPE 3261, (cell) (416) 738-4491