SEIU Local 2: Toronto’s Unions Demand MPs Ensure Tropicana Fulfills Its Duty to the Black Community, Reach Fair Deal With Striking Staff Before Christmas

Mississauga, Ontario, CANADA

Tropicana Community Services workers have been on strike for six weeks to get a first collective agreement after years of wage freezes. Meanwhile, management flaunt their selection as stewards of the prestigious federal Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiatives grant stream. 

NOTE TO EDITORS: Media availability & rally at Federal Minister Ahmed Hussens’ Office
12:00pm | Saturday, December 19
48 Rosemount Avenue Unit B M9N 3B3

TORONTO, Dec. 18, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Toronto’s unions are united in calling on GTA MPs to step in to ensure Tropicana fulfills its duty to the Black community and reach a fair deal with their workers before Christmas.

On Saturday, Tropicana Workers will hold a rally outside Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Hussen Ahmed’s office to demand the federal government step in. They will be joined by the Coalition for Black Trade Unionists, the Toronto & York Region Labour Council, as well as labour and community activists for a Christmas-themed socially distant protest.

Tropicana’s 50 workers have been left out in the cold since after management stormed out of bargaining this past weekend demanding claw-backs on paid time off, further years of wage freezes for most workers, and cutbacks to benefits and wages for new employees. That’s a net decrease in current compensation, a bitter pill to swallow given their workers are asking for a modest 1% wage increase per year over the next three years.

“After the claw-backs on benefit premiums and paid time off, this offer would have us working more hours for less pay. We’ve endured years and years of wage freeze and we’ve been on strike for 6 weeks. This offer is an insult.” - Sylvia Waldron, a 30-year Tropicana veteran on strike. “I helped build Tropicana from the ground-up. I care deeply about this organization but it’s been very disheartening to see this.

The strike began on November 9th after months of negotiations on the first collective bargaining agreement led nowhere. In addition to small wage increase, the union offered to enroll the staff in their multi-employer benefit plan, essentially covering benefits with no additional cost to the employer. That was rejected.

“Tropicana continues misusing public funds on strike-breakers and anti-union consultants instead of providing fair wages for frontline staff. Management’s behaviour can only be interpreted as an attempt to deny these workers their right to join a union and improve their lives,” says John Cartwright, President of the Toronto & York Region Labour Council. “Given that conduct, how can the Federal government entrust this organization with the role of overseeing public funds for the community?”

Tropicana Community Services is a long-standing organization geared towards serving Toronto's Black community. From after school programs, to daycare, recreational activities and employment services, Tropicana has transformed many lives in large part due to the dedication of their staff. And yet, management is exploiting that generosity while trading on their stewardship of the Black community.

“This behavior is a grave disregard of Tropicana’s obligations to the Black community, which we are a part. As a publicly funded-organization, they are betraying the very principles and community they have been entrusted to support,” says Yolanda McLean of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists and Canadian Union of Public Employees. “We call on Tropicana’s management to bargain in good faith and work to restore the respect and dignity of this vital organization.”

Tropicana Community Services has recently been selected to administer the Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiatives (SBCCI) on behalf of the Federal government – one of only a handful of organizations across the country.


Minister Ahmed Hussens’ Office
Saturday, December 19 at 12pm
48 Rosemount Avenue Unit B M9N 3B3

  • Sylvia Waldron, a 30-year Tropicana veteran on strike & administrator
  • Kumar Ramcharran, SEIU Local 2 Executive Vice President & Tropicana Staff Representative
  • Yolanda McLean, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists and Canadian Union of Public Employees
  • John Cartwright, President, Toronto & York Region Labour Council

Tropicana Strikes Website
Labour Council’s “Demand MPs Step In” campaign Strike at Scarborough's Tropicana 'has broken my heart' says former head
CBC Toronto Tropicana Workers Strike

Allie Elwell | Toronto & York Region Labour Council | 647 769 5569 |
Assya Moustaqim-Barrette |SEIU Local 2 | 1 416 274 4903   |