The precarity problem
Not surprising that a truly inescapable structural feature of the sprawl around us is now closely and directly associated with what this blog has been on about, and in a very public way. In all their brown brick glory Tim Hortons outlets are usually located with predictability, outside the malls anyway. Timmy H’s are most often found at a major intersection with commercial/industrial zoning nearby and a twelve pump gas station out front. Cars are everywhere, six for every last Dutchie it would seem. Lined up around the building and into the street sometimes, idling as their owners anticipate a hit of caffeine and sugar from the little sliding bay windows at the side. With lots of parking and cars grinding or flying by depending on the time of day we have never found these outlets pedestrian or bike friendly. They can be a challenge in a car.
There’s hostility inside the doors, too. The product is popular enough but we mean all the people working hard for too little money day and night. Like other corporate employers Tim’s has gotten riled up at having to pay living wages this month. Pathologically selfish franchisees and the rationalizers at corporate office are now stuck with the label of tip stealer, benefits gouger and paid break abolisher. How’s that for some great publicity? This pooh-sandwich is slick corporate talent in action?
A few pennies passed on to the customer would have avoided shareholder nightmare ka-ka like this: #boycottTimHortons
Timmy Ho’s you rock!
The combined weight of research, history, and economic expertise shows that giving low-wage workers a raise is a net positive
Tim Hortons controversy shows Canadians are ‘addicted to a low-wage economy,’ says author
Image: Corey Buffet via Flickr/CC
Going by Twitter alone it looks like the first big Canadian corp to shoot itself in the head over the recent increase in the Ontario minimum wage is that inescapable coffee chain named after a hockey player who died driving drunk in the 1970s. Maybe jacking up the nation’s blood sugar every morning is harder than it looks?
Tim Hortons heirs cut paid breaks and worker benefits after minimum wage hike, employees say
image: Mary Crandall via Flickr/CC
$15 minimum wage will be a boon for our economy
image: elycefeliz via Flickr/CC
The Christmas shopping season and the expectations around next year’s increase to the minimum wage in Ontario brings our minds to the retail trade. If so many of our fellow citizens are going to work in that sector we should hope for it not to be stupid, exploitive and awful.
Retail jobs don’t need to be bad. Here’s proof
Living wages: explaining a growing movement
Stronger protections needed to fight erratic scheduling, advocates say. As the passage of Bill 148 nears completion, workers worry that a loophole in new protections will leave them vulnerable to unpredictable schedules
Walmart: too big to fail?
Sears demise is Nortel all over again for pensioners, says expert. Some 16,000 retirees face uncertain future as company seeks approval to begin liquidating assets
image: Mike Kalasnick via Flickr/CC
Two comic efforts at understanding North American economic reality brought some laffs to the suburban-poverty.com bunker complex this week. Unintentionally hilarious, but no less instructive for that, is a hot new self help book from KISS front man Gene Simmons. The second, a sharp strike from Rick Mercer.
To understand Gene’s book, picture an elevator shaft as black as On Power’s faux leather cover at the bottom. Ayn Rand chugs a mickey of rye whiskey on an empty stomache, takes two or three hits off a crack pipe and tosses herself down the elevator shaft.
Mercer’s rant about Ontario’s coming move to a higher minimum wage is a little more to our liking. Together, the two efforts tackle powerful myths about life here.
editor’s note: let’s give Gene props for urging us to read books and self educate. He’s right, there are no excuses when all the knowledge of the world is available to us on the screens in our hands.
Toronto’s Edwardian past is still here in much of the street grid and through older built structures. Unfortunately, you could say the way many a Torontonian lives right now is Edwardian.
Minimum-wage earners in Toronto do not make enough money to thrive. Report finds that residents need more than double what they earn on minimum wage, and that social policies need to be adjusted to meet the needs to present-day society
image: Daniel Varas via Flickr/CC