Local Labour Council sets up hotline to report ‘minimum wage bullies’

The Ottawa and District Labour Council is setting up a hotline and email address where workers can report “bullying” by their bosses, in the form of hours, benefits, or breaks being cut, due to the recent increase in the minimum wage.

The idea comes on the heels of a high-profile case in Cobourg, Ontario, where two Tim Hortons outlets, run by the children of the chain’s co-founders, cut paid breaks for employees and required them to pay for a portion of their benefits as a result of the $14/hour wage.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne referred to franchisee Ron Joyce Jr. a “bully” this week, a term ODLC President Sean McKenny says he does not disagree with.

In a press release, McKenny says he understands businesses need to adapt to changes but, “to punish workers by taking away breaks and reducing other benefits claiming those actions are being taken because of an increase to the minimum wage is just wrong.”

Workers can call 613-233-1251 or email minwagebully@ottawalabour.org to report an employer who may be cutting benefits or incentives because of the wage increase. McKenny says all tips will be verified by the Labour Council and the names of anyone calling or emailing will be kept confidential.

The ODLC plans to publish the names of businesses that “are in fact taking away or reducing a worker’s break time, benefits or other incentives,” the press release reads.