Join other members of our community in calling on Richtree to ensure that good food is also good for those eat, grow, cook and serve it.
Within the global food system, much of the labour that goes into producing, processing, distributing, preparing and serving food is done in dangerous or unpleasant conditions for poverty level wages. Around the world, farmers, factory and slaughterhouse workers work long, irregular hours without access to paid sick days, health benefits or job security. In North American urban centres, too, workers preparing and serving food in restaurants, fast food outlets and cafeterias often work under precarious conditions.
Unionized workers at the Richtree Market in the Toronto Eaton Centre worked for decades to establish good jobs with decent wages, family health benefits and a pension fund. It thus came as a shock when, in January 2013, they learned that the restaurant was closing and in two days, they would all lose their jobs. Even more disappointing, by September, Richtree Market had reopened their Toronto Eaton Center restaurant— without any of the original staff — and began operating non-union.
Protests began on opening day, and have continued regularly throughout the fall and winter. During that time the Richtree workers have gained widespread recognition for their fight to save good jobs in a sector characterized by work that is exploitative and undervalued.
While the Ontario Labour Relations Board ruled in January that Richtree’s Eaton Centre restaurant remains represented by UNITE HERE Local 75, the company has appealed this ruling, and the fight to save the jobs of the original workers continues. Workers at all three restaurants have been without a new contract for nearly two years.
Read more about the campaign:
Richtree Market Accused of Unfairly Laying off Workers, Toronto Star, August 31, 2013
Protest held at Richtree Market, Ontario Restaurant News, November 8, 2013
Mary Wiems Interview with Richtree worker Nazrul Islam, CBC Radio, December 3, 2013
Labour Board Rules in Favour of Richtree Employees, Toronto Star, January 7, 2014
Labour Board Rules in Favour of 50 Eaton Center Richtree Market Employees, Metro, January 7, 2014
Richtree at the Eaton Center is officially a labour-law violation, Toronto Life, January 9, 2014
HERE, here, The Walrus, January 14, 2014