Avengers as­sem­ble

Smil­ing Goat baris­tas and Founders Square clean­ers team up to tackle work­place in­jus­tice.

The Coast - - VOICE OF THE CITY - BY RE­BECCA DING­WELL

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

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