Gingrich Woodcraft Inc. shut its doors and let go staff yesterday after the majority of its workers had voted in favour of joining Unifor last week.
Unifor national representative Stephen Boon told the Times the Devlin-based manufacturer abruptly called about 25 employees to a meeting yesterday afternoon and fired them without notice.
“It is almost inconceivable that in a country like Canada in 2015, we are dealing with an employer that is willing to take the position that the Constitution and Ontario labour laws somehow do not apply to employees of Mennonite-operated businesses in [Rainy River District],” said Boon.
“Despite the fact that several Mennonite operations across Canada are already unionized, Gingrich management has taken the shocking stance that their ‘faith’ requires employees either remain non-union, and therefore underpaid and exploited, or instead be fired,” he added.
“We often read about bully companies in Third World countries willing to crush union organizing drives to eliminate dissent and keep wages low,” Boon said.
“But these type of actions are almost unheard of in a modern, democratic country like Canada.”
Boon said Unifor has made numerous unsuccessful attempts to contact senior Gingrich managers to meet in person to
discuss this announcement and the devastating effect on dozens of families around Fort Frances.
“But in the meantime, we will be exploring all available legal options to protect the rights of these workers from this mean-spirited and illegal attack,” he stressed.
About two dozen workers at Gingrich Woodcraft voted 69 percent in favour of joining Unifor last Wednesday.
Gingrich Woodcraft owner Leon Gingrich was not available for comment prior to press time.