Addressing sexualized violence in the service industry

June 7, 2021 This post was written as a collaboration between the Worker Solidarity Network and the Anti-Violence Project May I? Starting in 2017, a group of service industry workers, frontline sexualized violence educators, and workers rights advocates began meeting with a common goal of addressing and preventing sexualized violence in the restaurant and bar industry. Since then,‘May I?’ has supported conversations with and among workers about the root causes…
July 26, 2021
OpinionPress Release

Our Proposed Legislation for the BC Government

Tips or Gratuities – Model Legislation Proposals Retail Action Network, in collaboration with the Employment Standards Coalition, are calling on the BC Government to introduce legislation that will protect tips for workers. Current Legislation: The only reference to employee gratuities in the Employment Standards Act is under Part 3 - Wages, Special Clothing and Records in Section 21 regarding deductions not permitted from employee's wages: (2) An employer must not…

Starbucks’ Pledges to Hire 10,000 Refugees

Starbucks has received much praise for their commitment to hire 10,000 refugees as a response to Donald Trump’s U.S. Immigration Ban. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz demonstrated his opposition to Trump’s actions in a passionate open letter, and pledged to hire refugees that have served with the U.S. military. Given the immense economic, cultural, and political influence of franchises like Starbucks, their role in swaying public discourse and resisting white supremacy…

Workers’ Story Forums in Victoria

On Wednesday, January 11th, the BC Employment Standards Coalition, in collaboration with the Victoria Retail Action Network, will bring its workers’ story forums to Victoria. These bad job story forums began in Vancouver in October last year when a series of six all-day open forms were held at various locations throughout metro Vancouver. At these forums workers are given the opportunity to talk about their bad job experiences to demonstrate…

Buy Nothing Day and Worker Solidarity

November 25th, 2016 is an international day of protest against consumerism known as “Buy Nothing Day”. The event was first celebrated in 1992, and was popularized by Vancouver-based artist Ted Dave. Since then, it has grown to include celebrations and protests in more than 65 nations. Buy Nothing Day deliberately coincides with “Black Friday”, a notorious day of sales which began in the United States but now occurs in other…
Worker Solidarity Network
November 24, 2016

Organisations in Cooperation: A Step Towards Making a Difference

It is well known that there is strength in numbers; this is obvious in struggles across the world, from past to present. Sectarianism, however, along with separatism and plain apprehension, often keep us from wielding that collective strength and putting it to good use. How many of us have listened or sung along to the famous IWW song "Solidarity Forever" full of optimism and a sense of camaraderie? Are we…

Workers at Zara Unionize!

On August 2nd over a thousand workers at eight Zara retail stores in New York voted to unionize, and will now be represented by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) Local 1102. This marks the first time that Zara employees have unionized in the United States, and the move comes on the heels of widespread criticism of the company’s unreliable and exploitative scheduling practices. In 2007, Zara employees…

Management Admits: Direct Action Is the Only Way

"The only reason you were payed this money is because your little group kept terrorizing the coffee shop with little mindless protests..." So admitted Shelby Oswald, a manager of Wild Coffee -- the establishment the Retail Action Network had its recently victorious campaign against, where illegal abuse was done to a worker. The keyword, of course, in this eloquent statement is "only" which, oddly enough, brings a slight agreement between…

The First of May: The World Workers’ Day

Fellow workers! May Day, also known as International Workers' Day, on the 1st of May, celebrates the international working class in solidarity across the world as we all struggling against the exploitation and oppression inherent in capitalism, as we all struggle for a better world of mutual aid, peace, and cooperation. This day, no matter how many class-conscious workers are able to come out into the streets to sing and…

Tipping and Precarious Restaurant Work

This is part two in a series exploring the construction of precarious restaurant work and the connection this has to women’s experiences of sexual harassment. See part one here. The practice of tipping dates back to Sixteenth Century pubs and coffee houses in England. Customers entering an establishment would place coins into a brass urn that read, “To Insure Promptitude” (TIP). Tipping has since become an institutionalized practice in Canada,…
Kaitlyn Matulewicz
April 6, 2016