Today March 15, 2018 another community of skilled workers in Montreal have chosen to join the Industrial Workers of the World in the fight against exploitation.
Subtitlers working for the telecommunications giant Ericsson, who produce subtitles (captions) for broadcast television in Canada and the United Kingdom, have seen the quality of their work degrade as their working conditions continue to worsen.
These Ericsson Canada employees are directly managed by Red Bee Media, a British subsidiary owned by Ericsson. Red Bee Media is responsible for delivering captions to homes across Canada for Corus Entertainment (Global News). The service they provide is essential to the deaf and hard of hearing community in Canada, and deserves to be of the highest quality.
However, while subtitlers working for Ericsson / Red Bee Media, in France, Australia, Spain, and the United Kingdom are unionized, the company has been shifting production to North America where workers can be exploited without pesky labour rights. As a result of unsustainable poverty wages, long hours, inadequate breaks, and a complete lack of respect for the people that caption here in Montreal, Canadian news consumers are left with a lower quality service.
The differently abled community of Canada deserves better than subtitles delivered by hungry, tired, and disrespected workers.
We call on Ericsson Canada to live up to the standards they set for themselves in their code of business ethics, and respect the fact that “all persons should be free to peacefully and lawfully form and join… workers’ associations of their own choosing, and should have the right to bargain collectively” by voluntarily recognizing the union, and beginning good-faith negotiations.
The Industrial Workers of the World has many branches around the world, including in Montreal. Its members strive for a union model based on robust working class solidarity called Solidarity Unionism. This model emphasizes direct action at the workplace as exemplified in our campaigns at Ellen’s Stardust Diner in New York City or at Frite-Alors! in Montreal.
The IWW is excited to welcome the fellow workers at Ericsson / Red Bee Media into the struggle for just and sustainable working conditions.