Service sector union breaking ground

Toronto and Halifax workers await certification

About 100 security officers working for Commissionaires at an immigration holding centre in Toronto may soon be certified with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

The security officers, who the union says do comparable work to that of federal corrections officers, earn less than $13 per hour and have no pension or sick days. A representative of the SEIU also notes concerns with safety issues. The workers “want to be properly trained and equipped” for work in a high-risk environment, said Tom Gallivan.

The union reported that a “convincing majority” of the workers in Toronto and at a satellite office in Niagara Falls had signed union cards. The application for certification was filed September 4 with the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB).

Meanwhile on the East Coast, officials of Local 902 of the SEIU are awaiting the outcome of four days of hearings at the Nova Scotia Labour Relations Board over the certification of casino workers and security staff at Casino Nova Scotia.

The union launched an organizing drive at the Halifax gambling operation in February and certification votes were held in May and June. At issue for the workers are better wages, benefits, job security and fairer treatment in the workplace.

“Casino workers in Nova Scotia are the lowest paid and have the lowest level of benefits and job security of any gaming sector workers in Canada," said national union organizer Tony Tracy.

His team expects to begin bargaining on behalf of the 600 employees with their employer, the B.C.-based Great Canadian Gaming Corporation soon after the votes are counted.

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