Smiling Goat baristas and Founders Square cleaners team up to tackle workplace injustice.
Two groups of employees joined together this week to protest racist firings and unpaid wages at their respective workplaces.
Cleaners at Founders Square announced last week they would be filing a complaint with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission alleging racism from employer Deep Down Cleaning Services. In taking over the building’s cleaning contract, Deep Down only committed to hiring one of the eight non-supervisory cleaners already employed on-site. Out of those eight, this particular employee is the only one who works day shift. He’s also the only one who is white.
Taylor MacLean is one of the seven Black cleaners who have found themselves without a job. He’s worked for the company for almost seven years.
“The last thing that we heard from them, we were doing really well,” he said Friday. “Obviously, something’s up.” After protesting the terminations and speaking with media. Armour Group—which manages the property—fired the employees early instead of waiting for the end of their contract.
Meanwhile, Smiling Goat coffee shop staff across the city held a vote last week on joining SEIU Local 2, alleging unfair treatment they’ve experienced from business owner Kit Singh, including numerous bounced paycheques, a failure to remit taxes despite deducting them from employee’s pay and other grievances.
Singh, who was on vacation with his family when employees announced they were not being paid, said the bounced cheques were “due to a logistical issue.”
Workers from both companies will be holding rallies all week in downtown Halifax.
—with files from Jacob Boon