Petition from workers is a call for sustained action
by Doug Nesbitt
Over 140 locked out workers at IKEA Richmond have signed a petition calling on the Canadian Labour Congress, Teamsters Canada (their union), and all trade unionists to start a Canada-wide boycott against the well-known corporation.
The workers have been locked out for over 13 months in an effort to stop concessions, including a highly flawed and subjective productivity-based wage system and the weakening of benefits. IKEA is waging this battle despite record profits in 2013. As one of only two unionized IKEA stores in Canada, IKEA Richmond sets the wage and benefits standards across the country. If IKEA Richmond workers lose, all IKEA workers lose.
The petition is a grassroots call for a Canada-wide boycott of IKEA.
The key passages of the petition read:
“We need solidarity in the streets at the eleven other Ikea stores across Canada.
We call upon all our brothers and sisters in organized labour, all those who oppose corporate greed and support workers over employers, to begin information pickets and rallies at the closest Ikea every Saturday until this battle is won.
We call upon our union, Teamsters Canada, and the Canadian Labour Congress, to use their collective resources and strength to educate and mobilize trade unionists and allies to support and build an active boycott against Ikea and force the company to withdraw its demands for concessions and end the lockout.“
First actions happening June 21
The ball is already rolling. Solidarity info pickets are already being organized this Saturday in Toronto, Ottawa, and Coquitlam. The pickets come after a call to action by Take Back the CLC, the network built up last April and May around Hassan Husseini’s bid for CLC president.
Since then, IKEA Richmond workers have circulated this petition to push for the boycott.
The petition is being sent to CLC President Hassan Yussuff, Teamsters Canada, and over half a dozen labour councils where other IKEA stores are located.
Why this is winnable
As RankandFile.ca reported, the fight against IKEA is winnable because all IKEA stores are located in big cities where good numbers can be mobilized for info pickets, rallies, and gaining mainstream media coverage. IKEA’s brand is very high profile and can be seriously damaged because actions will likely gain media attention.
The CLC has the potential and capabilities to coordinate with labour councils an escalating campaign towards the full-scale boycott called by locked out IKEA Richmond workers. A boycott campaign has the potential to reinvigorate organized labour and the effects can only be positive for other critical campaigns like the fight to save Canada Post from pro-privatization cuts to services and massive layoffs.