WHAT: Rally to address unpaid wages and unjust termination followed by delivery of legal complaint to NS Labour Board.
WHERE: Smiling Goat, 1475 Lower Water Street, Halifax, NS
WHEN: 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 4
WHO: Fired Smiling Goat employee, Baristas from multiple sites, community allies.
From wage theft to unjust terminations, the Smiling Goat saga goes from bad to worse. Keith Karding was fired over the Easter weekend by Kit Singh. Keith has been very vocal and public about the issue of unpaid wages, as well as in his support of the unionization drive. Kit Singh has referred to Keith as a “ring-leader” on more than one occasion and had demanded that Keith take down a webpage he created to bring attention to the unpaid wages, threatening to sue him if he did not take the page down.
On March 23rd, workers for all six Smiling Goat locations came out publicly about the ongoing issue of unpaid wages, and about the unionization drive that saw a 100% turnout for a union certification vote at the four non-union locations. This vote was to unite all six locations, two of which were already unionized under Just Us! before Smiling Goat acquired them. Since the union vote, workers have been setting up information pickets, speaking to the media, politicians, and government officials, as well as holding rallies in a struggle to force the owner, Kit Singh, to respect the most basic fundamental rules of operating a business – paying workers for their labour.
The issue of unpaid wages is actually becoming worse as paycheques keep bouncing and Kit continues to stall on his obligations. The employer has given many excuses, ranging from banking errors to issues with his accountant, to being simply being on vacation and logistically unable to address the issue remotely. At this point many workers are owed wages in the thousands of dollars, and Kit is demonstrating that he is willing to engage in Unfair Labour Practices such as retaliatory firings against those who he perceives as leaders.
Darius Mirshahi | Organizer | SEIU Local 2 / Justice 4 Janitors