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Steelworkers deliver petition demanding Canadian Tire pay global garment workers a living wage

December 13, 2021

TORONTO, – Today the United Steelworkers union (USW) visited a Canadian Tire store in downtown Toronto to deliver a petition addressed to CEO Greg Hicks demanding Mark’s/Canadian Tire pay living wages to workers in its global supply chain. The USW petition capped a month-long action campaign, part of the ongoing Justice for Global Garment Workers campaign by the Steelworkers Humanity Fund (SHF).

Throughout November, Steelworkers across the country mobilized to tell Canadian Tire to pay living wages to the women working in its supply chains, visiting 30 store locations across the country and circulating a petition that echoes those demands.

For years, trade union leaders and workers’ rights advocates in Bangladesh have denounced the appalling working conditions of the millions of Bangladeshi garment workers who make our clothes, and have fought to improve health and safety standards and increase wages.

“Canadian Tire is very focused on promoting the positive impact it has in local communities in Canada through its corporate social responsibility programs,” says Ken Neumann, USW National Director. “But it can, and must, make a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of Bangladeshi garment workers and their families. We are looking for leadership from Canadian Tire on an issue of fundamental justice for women garment workers worldwide.”

In March 2021, the SHF issued Not Even the Bare Minimum, a report that documents the working and living conditions of the women and men working for Canadian brands in Bangladesh, including factories producing for Mark’s and its owner, Canadian Tire. The wages that Bangladeshi garment sector workers are paid do not come close to what is needed for women to escape poverty, no matter how hard they work.

Meanwhile, Mark’s/Canadian Tire has continued to generate profits during the pandemic. Canadian Tire’s CEO Greg Hicks earned $4.49 million in 2020. In just two weeks, Hicks will earn the equivalent of 25 years’ salary for an entry-level garment worker.

The Steelworkers Humanity Fund is a registered Canadian charity funded by USW member contributions. For more than 25 years, the SHF has supported international development projects, trade union and workers’ rights in the global south and provided emergency humanitarian aid for disasters in Canada and around the world and more.

Ken Neumann, President, Steelworkers Humanity Fund, 416-544-5951
Doug Olthuis, Executive Director, Steelworkers Humanity Fund, 416-859-9953, dolthuis@usw.ca
Shannon Devine, USW Communications, 416-894-7118 (cell), sdevine@usw.ca

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