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In this article, we delve into the recent developments surrounding the closure of a Chapters bookstore located in Scarborough, a bustling neighborhood in Toronto. The employees of this bookstore, which is one of the three unionized Chapters shops in the city, are expressing their concerns and alleging that their union rights have been violated by the parent company, Indigo. We will shed light on the situation, discuss the reasons behind the closure, and explore the employees’ claims.
A Long-Standing Presence in Kennedy Commons Mall
The Scarborough Chapters bookstore has been an integral part of the Kennedy Commons Mall for an impressive 24 years. However, the employees received shocking news when they were informed that the store would cease operations on January 27. This abrupt closure has left many in the community, particularly the employees, in a state of uncertainty.
The Loss of 30 to 40 Jobs
Victoria Popov, a part-time worker at the Scarborough store and a union steward, estimates that the closure will result in the loss of 30 to 40 jobs. The impact of such job losses on the community cannot be understated. It raises questions about the fate of these workers and their families in the current job market.
Indigo, the parent company of Chapters, issued a statement to CBC Toronto explaining that the decision to close the store was based on a routine business assessment that took profitability into account. The company also emphasized its commitment to assisting the affected staff during this transition period. While this may seem like a straightforward business decision, it has not been received that way by the store’s employees.
Employees’ Feelings of Abandonment
Victoria Popov, the union steward, claims that the employees feel abandoned by the company. In previous instances of store closures, staff members were relocated to other sites, but this time, no such transfers were granted to the Scarborough store employees. This has raised suspicions among the workers, leading them to believe that they are being made an example of for being unionized and advocating for better wages.
A Possible Act of Union Busting?
Popov’s statement, “I think they want to show other stores: ‘This is what will happen to you if you dare step out of the queue,'” hints at a deeper concern. She believes that the closure may be intended to discourage other Chapters stores from unionizing or demanding better compensation. While these claims are serious, Michael Lynk, an emeritus professor of law at the University of Western Ontario, suggests that more evidence is needed to declare this closure as a blatant act of union busting.
Indigo’s Recent Operational Changes
To understand the context better, it’s essential to note that Indigo has undergone significant operational changes over the past year. Founder Heather Reisman assumed the role of executive chair, and Peter Ruis was appointed CEO. However, the company faced challenges, including a cyberattack in February, leading to Reisman’s resignation. Ruis also left his position as CEO after less than a year, with Reisman returning to take over.
The closure of the Scarborough Chapters bookstore has raised concerns among employees, the union, and the community. While the company states that it was a business decision, the allegations of union busting cannot be ignored. As this situation unfolds, it remains crucial to consider the rights and livelihoods of the affected workers.
The company claims it’s a business decision based on profitability. However, employees believe it may be related to their unionized status.
2. How long has the Scarborough Chapters store been in operation?
The store has been serving the community for an impressive 24 years before its closure.
3. What impact will the closure have on employees?
The closure is estimated to result in the loss of 30 to 40 jobs, which raises concerns about the affected workers’ future.
4. Has Indigo faced challenges in recent times?
Yes, Indigo has undergone operational changes, including a cyberattack and changes in leadership, over the past year.
5. What can be done to support the affected employees?
Community support and discussions about workers’ rights can play a crucial role in addressing the concerns of the affected employees.