Previously published in Examiner
conclusion of the sweatshop series
According to Quebec labour law, when mass layoffs are orchestrated the companies must hand out compensation or severance packages. However, the needle trade companies found a loophole in the law and handed out a few pink slips at a time. This way they did not have to pay workers anything at all. No thought was given to the workers or their families they supported. All decisions were based on the almighty dollar. Furthermore, no prior warning was given to the employees; therefore without jobs, or any way to feed their families these women and men were left out in the cold.
It can take as much as two months before eligible workers can begin to receive unemployment insurance benefits. If the worker just started working and has not worked the required amount of weeks he or she will not qualify. For more information in Montreal, go to the government website:
These sweatshop garment factory workers were already the most vulnerable in Quebec/Montreal society. The women and men were unskilled labourers who no longer could work in the only trade they knew and had no skills to work elsewhere.
The Centre des Travailleurs et Travailleuses Immigrants / Immigrant Workers Centre (CTI-IWC) aired a movie detailing the “plight of the sweatshop worker then and now” to heighten awareness and has appealed to the government for proper retraining and support for these former workers.
The sweatshops story is a global story effecting workers all over the world and not isolated to Canada, Montreal and American factory workers; though this article concentrated solely on these two countries. Readers of this Montreal Women’s Issues Column are asked to support the goals to eradicate horrendous working conditions and exploitation of workers everywhere. The countries may differ, but the hardships on women all over the world is a real problem which requires tremendous public pressure to right the wrongs of the past and current working conditions of our global sisters.
For more information on the Montreal needle trade and the horrendous sweatshop situation in Montreal
Centre des Travailleurs et Travailleuses Immigrants / Immigrant Workers Centre (CTI-IWC)