More than 100 telecommunications members from Expertech gathered in Kingston, Ontario, on Tuesday, December 5, to demand fair wages, improved benefits, and an end to the persistent issue of contracting out at Bell Canada.
Despite the cold weather, the workers were determined to express their discontent with the lack of commitment and respect from Bell Canada. Participants marched from Confederation Park to Kingston Market Square Hotel, where collective bargaining with Bell is taking place.
Samia Hashi, Unifor Ontario Regional Director, highlighted the disparity between Bell Canada's significant profits and its seeming reluctance to address reasonable asks of its workers. "While Bell declares billions in profits, it turns a blind eye to the legitimate wage demands of its workforce, who are the very reason for their success,” she said.
Roch Leblanc, Unifor Telecommunications Director, conveyed the impact of Bell's employment cuts at Expertech, stating, "In January 2014, there were 1,200 workers here at Expertech - now we have 700."
As the telecommunications industry undergoes changes, Expertech members are calling for protection of full-time jobs, equitable wages and benefits that keep up with the pace of inflation.
These members’ contracts expired on November 30, 2023 and, at this point, Bell Canada has not responded to the union’s wage proposal. This lack of acknowledgment has left the workforce feeling undervalued and overlooked, especially given their significant contribution to the company's success.
The unity displayed in Kingston sends a message to Bell Canada, emphasizing the determination of telecommunications workers to secure fair treatment and just compensation for their contributions.