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Tim Hortons pressured to reverse clawbacks on worker's benefits and paid breaks

'Today's rally is a symbolic gesture to ask the franchise owner to say to Daniel Schwartz, the CEO, that we can do better, that a corporation that makes three billion dollars annually, can't treat our citizens this way' Jared Hunt Fight for $15 and Fairness Campaign.

"Hold the sugar, hold the cream. Come on Tim Hortons, don't be so mean."

North Bay and District Labour Council President Henri Giroux led the chant outside the Tim Hortons location near Judge Street Friday afternoon, joined by roughly a dozen supporters.

The information rally was one of 50 demonstrations held nationally, protesting cuts to employee benefits and paid breaks at some franchises, following Ontario's recent minimum-wage hike.

Labour groups want parent company Restaurant Brands International to reverse the clawbacks.

The local labour council president could not confirm if cuts were happening at locations in North Bay. 

"We did go inside and we did talk to the managers. All we're asking is if they're not stripping benefits from the workers here or at any Tim Hortons in the area, then they should be calling their CEO Daniel Schwartz, telling him that they want their employees to be treated fairly, and do what they need to do, to make things better for the employees," said Giroux.

"We're not asking people to boycott Tim Hortons. I love my hot chocolate too much to do that. I know that Tim Hortons franchisees are doing a lot for the community, like sports. They're giving a lot of good stuff to the communities. We're just against reducing worker's benefits. There's other ways of doing it," said the local labour council president. 

"We are asking that each franchise do what they think is right instead of cutting stuff. If it means increasing the cost of things by five cents, then they should do that, instead of taking things away from the workers. Minimum wage is something the government has implemented which is a good thing because we want to see people out of poverty. We want to see people working and making ends meet, and their way of cutting their breaks and benefits is not the way to do it."

Jared Hunt attended the information rally, representing the local Fight for $15 and Fairness campaign.

"Today's rally is a symbolic gesture to ask the franchise owner, to say to Daniel Schwartz the CEO, that we can do better. That a corporation that makes three billion dollars annually, can't treat our citizens this way," said Hunt.

"I understand franchise owners are in an awkward spot, but we need them to speak out. We need the owners to say to corporation Tim Hortons, headquartered in Brazil, if you want to be Canadian, you've got to care for Canadians. You can't strip paid breaks and benefits just because their wage went up." 

The labour council is asking the public to get on board.

"We're sending letters to the CEO, and we're asking the public to do the same thing to help. That's what we're doing as a labour council, to help the $15 and fairness campaign," said Henri Giroux.   

"We want to join the rest of Canada by showing residents and franchise owners, that we can send a clear message to the CEO that he cannot treat our workers this way. If Tim Hortons Corporation can tell its franchisees what napkins to use or how to stir coffee, then surely they can tell their highly successful franchise owners to restore benefits and paid breaks. People can post something on our website at"

A request for comment from management at the Tim Hortons location was declined.