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Preview: Industrial Workers of the World - Ottowa-Outaouais GMB

Industrial Workers of the World - Ottawa-Outaouais GMB

This is the news page for our Ottowa-Outaouais General Membership Branch. To get an overview about our contact info, news and events, please visit our home page.



Wed, 27 Jan 2016 05:26:09 +0000

By a member of the Ottawa-Outaouais IWW, January 23, 2016

(image) OTTAWA—The Industrial Workers of the World are picketing Wine Rack to defend a member unfairly fired on September 6, 2015.

Our member engaged in his legally-protected right to organize and was publicly engaged in a card-signing campaign by another union in efforts to certify a bargaining unit for Wine Rack locations in Ottawa, Ontario.

Wine Rack is owned by parent company Constellation Brands, a US-based multinational corporation with two billion dollars of profit in 2013. Front-line employees of Wine Rack are paid minimum wage and given only conditional yearly increases lower than the rate of inflation, compounding the difficulties posed by a part-time and unpredictable schedule for workers.

According to the Labour Relations Act, all workers have the right to form, select, and administer a union without interference from the employer. In response to our member’s organizing efforts, Wine Rack manufactured a spurious reason to terminate his employment without following their established disciplinary processes.

The IWW will continue to picket Wine Rack to demand fair treatment for our member until our demand for our member’s reinstatement on the job with back pay is met. All employees deserve to be able to organize without reprisal.

The IWW is calling on Ottawans to not cross our picket line and to respect a boycott of Wine Rack locations until management meets with our union to negotiate.

This is yet another instance of arbitrary firings and disrespect for the Labour Relations Act happening here in Ottawa. Workers can win these fights when they unite and take action. The IWW is a member-run union for all workers and is dedicated to organizing on the job.

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Media Files:

IWW files Unfair Labour Practice (ULP) complaints against Ben Gunter Pharmacy Inc., Shoppers Drug Mart

Thu, 10 Oct 2013 10:18:12 +0000

Ottawa-Outaouais General Membership Branch Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)

October 8, 2013
For Immediate Release

IWW files Unfair Labour Practice (ULP) complaints against Ben Gunter Pharmacy Inc., Shoppers Drug Mart

The Ottawa-Outaouais IWW would like to thank its supporters and community allies for their contributions regarding its current labour dispute with Ben Gunter Pharmacy Inc. (Shoppers Drug Mart Store #1428).

On September 16th and 17th respectively, Ryan and the IWW received cease-and-desist letters from the law offices of Birenbaum, Steinberg, Landau, Savin & Colraine containing a false allegation of trespassing, and accusations of misrepresentation, misconduct, tortious and defamatory activity.

Our response:

  • There has been no trespassing of the Shoppers Drug Mart store on the part of the IWW. Union members have entered the store only in official capacities to communicate with store management.
  • We have exercised our due diligence before representing the current unfair labour situation to the public by attempting to meet with Associate/Owner Ben Gunter, who chose to respond by refusing to engage in further communication. In this scenario, our conclusions have been reasonable, and made in good faith, in light of our investigation of Ryan’s termination.
  • All our picket-line activity and conduct has been within legal boundaries. We will continue to advise picketers that they are not to enter the store premises, but that it is their lawful right to picket, inform the public about inappropriate business practices, and to demonstrate that people are prepared to show solidarity with workers who fight back.

On September 30th, the Ottawa-Outaouais IWW filed Unfair Labour Practice (ULP) and Unlawful Reprisal (OHSA Section 50) complaints against both Ben Gunter Pharmacy Inc. and Shoppers Drug Mart with the Ontario Labour Relations Board. A Labour Relations Officer has been assigned to the case and a hearing date has been set.

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Ottawa Busker Appeals Conviction

Sun, 10 Oct 2010 18:31:01 +0000

(image) When the City of Ottawa installed speakers and started broadcasting muzak in busker Raymond Loomer's favourite underpass, he cut the speaker wires one day in May 2009. He then taped the wire on the door of the office door of the Downtown Rideau Business Improvement Area, a business lobby group that has waged a campaign to remove street people and performers from the city centre.

As a tin flute player, he was one of several buskers who relied on the unique acoustics of the downtown Ottawa underpass near the Rideau Centre shopping centre to make a living. Loomer is a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). He did not take kindly to having his live music replaced by a machine.

"They were playing music to interfere with our industry," he said.

City police arrested Loomer and charged him with two counts of mischief under $5,000. He was convicted on May 25, 2010 with a sentence of 12 months probation and 20 hours community service. Loomer represented himself and has appealed, saying the city failed to provide bylaw information he could have used in his defense and that he has rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to make a living and freedom of expression. He objected to the community service as "the slave style practices of government" for appropriating his labour power.

Loomer's appeal will be heard on November 12, 2010 at the city courthouse.

Ottawa had introduced restrictive bylaws requiring street performers to get a license and perform in designated spots chosen by the city. Ontario's Safe Streets Act, brought in to target squeegee kids, buskers and other street people making a living on the province's streets, has set the stage for tighter controls on informal workers.

For more information, visit

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Panhandlers Claim Victory

Thu, 04 Feb 2010 23:49:00 +0000

Originally posted here

Andrew Nellis of the Ottawa Pandhandlers Union said the group has reached a settlement after filing a $1-million lawsuit against the city last year.

The lawsuit accused the city of violating panhandlers' constitutional rights by putting up a fence at the underpass across from Chateau Laurier. Nellis ended up being charged after he snipped a lock off the fence.

On Tuesday, Nellis said the panhandlers and city reached a deal but an agreement on confidentiality prevented him from going into details. Sounded like the settlement might involve allowing the panhandlers to use some property for a street art gallery.

Nellis is claiming victory.

"It won't be the first victory we have, either," he said.

In the same breath, Nellis said the panhandlers group plans to sue the city again if an updated nuisance bylaw comes into force for roads and sidewalks. The bylaw passed the transportation committee meeting Wednesday.


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GDC Local 6 Rallies for Professor Rancourt's Reinstatement

Tue, 14 Apr 2009 04:58:12 +0000

The University of Ottawa fired Denis Rancourt, a physics professor, renowned researcher, and IWW member on March 31, 2009, while he was speaking at an academic freedom conference in New York City.

The university sought to dismiss him on the basis that he had awarded high grades to a graduate level physics class, which Rancourt says he did in order to remove competition and performance as they are obstacles to learning. The university claimed that Rancourt’s marking damaged the institution’s credibility as an academic institution.

Rancourt has said that the university’s board fired him before an April 1 deadline to submit a legal brief in his defense and that it ignored his submission of his students’ exams as proof that he was evaluating students properly. The university disregarded the union’s collective agreement and the grievance procedure by firing Rancourt without allowing him due process in his defense.

The Association of Professors (APUO), a registered trade union that represents university faculty, has announced it will launch an inquiry and it will likely appeal the firing in court.

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IWW Defense Committee Rallies to Defense of Dissident Professor Denis Rancourt

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 03:03:56 +0000

The University of Ottawa in Canada is planning to fire Denis Rancourt, physics professor, IWW member, and renowned researcher, today, March 31, 2009 .

The university claims it is firing Denis because he announced that all of his students would get A+ grades on the first day of the physics class so that they could get on with learning, rather than compete and perform for grades. The university claims this educational approach damages its reputation and credibility as well as that of its students. In short, grades equal credibility.

The IWW General Defense Committee Local 6 (GDC Local 6) rejects this pretext as an exaggeration that does not justify the university’s repressive approach, which is a threat against academic freedom and education workers’ rights.

More information about Denis’ case is online at the Academic Freedom and Governance at the University of Ottawa weblog

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Interview: The IWW and the Ottawa Panhandlers Union

Tue, 29 Jan 2008 18:10:31 +0000

Disclaimer - The opinions of the author do not necessarily match those of the IWW.  The image pictured to the right did not appear in the original article, we have added it here to provide a visual perspective. This article is reposted in accordance to Fair Use guidelines.

By Dave - originally posted to, January 27, 2008

(image) (Dave interviewed Ottawa anarchist Andrew Nellis for Linchpin. Andrew is an organizer with the Ottawa Panhandlers Union.)

Q. What is the Ottawa Panhandlers Union and how was it started?

A. The Ottawa Panhandlers Union is a shop of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). It's a real union. What we do is run by the panhandlers themselves. The IWW has one paid member for the entire union. It's entirely member run. The idea is to empower people on the street to fight for themselves.

Ideally despite coming in as an outside organizer I'll be able to step out of the picture once the organization is up and running and there's a structure in place to ensure that the organization continues. I was on the street myself. I'm not on the street now. So I do know something about the milieu in which I'm working.

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