For immediate release
April 19, 2008
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Hundreds of Workers, Activists Hold Funeral Process Through The Streets of Montreal for Nearly 600 Jobs to be Axed at Golden Brand
More than 600 workers took to St. Hubert Street in Montréal today to rally in front of a Moores clothing store. They were reacting to the recent announcement that their factory will be closed this summer. Angry workers called on Montrealers to denounce the decision of Men’s Wearhouse to shut the factory down despite the company’s high profits over the past two years.
With the strong support of other unions in the Québec Federation of Labour, and political parties the Bloc Québecois, Parti Québecois, New Democratic Party, and Québec Solidaire, the Golden Brand workers marched through St. Hubert Plaza until they reached the Moores store to demonstrate their opposition to Men’s Wearhouse’s decision to close the suit factory.
A funeral procession for garment workers
The Golden Brand workers carried a coffin that symbolized not only the loss of their 540 jobs but also the state of the clothing manufacturing industry in Canada.
“It’s a day of mourning for our members, they are literally burying their jobs,” said Lina Aristeo, director of the Québec Council of UNITE HERE and vice president of the Québec Federation of Labour.
Men’s Wearhouse, an American company specializing in the production of men’s suits for retailers Men’s Wearhouse in the United States and Moores Clothing for Men in Canada, announced its plans to close Golden Brand factory in July due to the recent increase in the Canadian dollar.
“Men’s Wearhouse is abandoning its 540 workers so that they can make even higher profits. It’s corporate greed and it’s an insult to all of the workers who have contributed to the success of Golden Brand since the factory was founded in 1961,” said Ms. Aristeo. Men’s Wearhouse made $147 million in profits and $2.1 billion in revenues in 2007.
Politicians have committed themselves to supporting these workers and will make an effort to protect their jobs and to promote the purchase of products that are made in Canada.
UNITE HERE represents 450,000 members across North America in the apparel, textile, hotel, casino industries, distribution centres, and laundries.