Mugshots campaign a major win for workers’ rights in Ottawa

The Mugshots “Matter is Closed”! Solidarity Ottawa (formerly Solidarity Against Austerity) held a party on Friday, June 3, 2016 to celebrate the resolution of this important local workers’ struggle. Solidarity Ottawa’s Workers Action Group played a key role in this fight for workers’ rights. 

What does it mean to say the “Matter is Closed” and why are we celebrating?

In July, 2015, SAA learned that a group of 5 workers at the now-closed Mugshots bar at the Ottawa Jail Hostel were wrongfully dismissed and denied their legally-entitled severance.

Rather than doing what their employer expected – go away quietly – this remarkable group got organized and fought back. With support from SAA and eventually our friends at Avant Law, these illegally terminated workers demanded that their rights be respected and that their legal entitlements be recognized and paid out.

When their former employer rejected these demands, the group took legal action in October 2015 against their corporate employer (Hostelling International Canada), and launched a strong, public pressure campaign for their basic legal rights.

SAA learned recently that the former Mugshots workers have formally withdrawn their complaint with the court. While we do not know precisely the reason, we are able to draw inferences and we are convinced that these workers would not have withdrawn their action or reached a settlement with this employer without receiving the compensation and remedy that they deserved.

Your support made this win possible

MugshotsWinThis is a crucial victory for these workers, and all workers whose rights have been trampled on by bad bosses. Let this example serve as a lesson for other rotten bosses who abuse their power, and an example of what is possible when workers and allies unite to fight.

Many thanks to all of you who contributed to winning this campaign, whether through participating in the online-petition, social media posts, mass demonstrations in front of the Hostel, or other actions – every single action was a contribution to the outcome.

It’s up to all of us to share the news of this fight, and make sure that both employers and workers draw the appropriate conclusions. We will fight for workers’ rights. And if enough of us join together, we’ll win.

We can now retire the infamous #justice4Mugnots hashtag, and onward we go with #613fightfor15!


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Further reading: Solidarity with illegally terminated Mugshots bar workers!