TORONTO-Unifor joined a solidarity rally organized by the Jane Finch Action Against Poverty and the Workers Action Centre today for the worker killed at Fiera Foods on September 25, the fifth such worker killed on the job at the industrial bakery.
“Fiera Foods is not going to change its ways unless significant penalties including substantial fines and jail time are on the table,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Without immediate action from the Ontario government more workers will die on the job and we will not accept that.”
The rally brought together workers, activists, and community members to honour the memory of Enrico Miranda and offer comfort to his friends, family, and co-workers. Activists at the rally also demanded urgent action from the Doug Ford conservative government to hold employers like Fiera Foods accountable for the safety of the temp agency workers they hire.
Approximately 70% of Fiera Foods workers are precariously employed and the company’s nefarious practices were well-documented by a year-long Toronto Star investigation by Sara Mojtehedzadeh and Brendan Kennedy.
Unifor has learned from Fiera Foods workers that when Enrico Miranda was killed last week that production continued and workers were told to finish their shifts. Fiera Foods management has cancelled two shifts and left its workers unpaid today, apparently so managers could avoid being confronted byactivists outside the plant.
“Fiera Foods is punishing its workers for its own egregious lack of health and safety protections and that is horrendous and unacceptable,” said Naureen Rizvi, Unifor Ontario Regional Director. “If Fiera Foods thinks they can hide from us and Doug Ford believes he doesn’t have to take action, then they have another thing coming. People will not stand for workers being killed on the job.”
Doug Ford’s conservative government brought in legislation, Bill 47, that ended proactive workplace investigations, lowered of fines on employers for labour code violations, repealed equal pay for temp agency workers, and placed the onus on proving misclassification of workers on the employee rather than employer. They also cut $19 million from the Ministry of Labour’s prevention office budget responsible with preventing workplace injury and death.
Unifor has called on the Government of Ontario to shut down Fiera Foods and compensate workers throughout the duration of a full and thorough investigation and that substantial fines and jail time be considered for Fiera Foods management.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.