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Voices of small businesses against unions

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Izidor Cimpric migrated from Slovenia around 1965. His wife Janine was born in France but her family migrated here when she was two years old.  They met years later and have a 40 yr. old marriage still going strong. They had two kids, one of which I am truly blessed to call my husband.

 As a struggling young couple starting out in life, Izi landed a job as a foreman at Pettibone. He was also criticized because he complained that the unionized workers were not doing their jobs, there were more grievances than productions.

The unions came into that company. In no time at all, Izi was out of a job with no benefits since the company went bankrupt.

With a wife and two young kids to support he started a partnership with a friend. Izi worked literally night and day to make a living. He did the hard work while his partner sat in the office telling him that customers weren’t paying and the company had no money. This all turned out to be untrue and so that all came crashing down.

 After losing his job due to the union coming in to his company, no benefits, cheated by a friend he trusted, Newtech Iron Work Inc was born. With strong determination he towed a small trailer at the back of his car and did welding jobs. He was called names, thrown out of some job sites but he kept pushing because he believed in his heart that he could build his business and support his family. He refused to be taken advantage of. No matter the debt, he put a smile on his face and shook hands and built those relationships up with his customers. They saw his hard and genuine work and those relationships grew stronger. Till today, every one on the job sites asks for IZI. The unions tried to get him to unionize. They intimidated and harassed him. He had only one employee then and there was no possible way he could have survived.

 My husband and I started our own business, in an effort to continue his father’s legacy. We formed Newtech Iron Works Ltd. We wanted to carry on the name my father in law started with absolutely nothing. We have inherited those customers only because of Izi and his reputation.  Our company is two years old but stands behind 30+ years of blood sweat and tears. Newtech is a miscellaneous metal non-union company who provides the miscellaneous metals for residential condos in the GTA. As a young couple with two young boys ages 4 and 2, we are in this business because we love it and want it to thrive. We do not have benefits from the company. We cannot afford to give benefits to our employees. We do as much as we can. We took all employees for a fishing trip on the French river last year. We did this in an effort to build and strengthen a team, to get to know each other better. We all spend so much time at work and we do not want employees for the short term.

We tell our employees that they make the business. If the business makes money then so will they. We have been very open and honest. We hired three of these employees just out of school with no experience of what we do.  Here the receive one on one training from my husband and father in law who teaches them tricks of the trade and how to work smarter not harder. Our employees do not have a boss who sits behind a desk and enjoys the profits of their hard work.  He works side by side with them. We often buy lunches and have meetings, we celebrate their birthdays and pay for first aid training, which we are not obligated to do. We have an annual Christmas dinner and invite their significant other. Our aim was to create an atmosphere where they would feel happy to come to work. We maintain an open door policy and many of the employees have come to us with work related and non-work related matters. We support and encourage each and every one of them to learn more, to do better, to be better. Their wage increases when their experience increases.

 Union representatives took our employees out for an extended lunch on our time, trying to convince them that if they support the union then they will in turn get more from the company they currently work for. Our employees told us about the meeting.  We came upfront and in an effort to show our employees that we heard their concerns and that we will not disregard our employees, we gave five paid sick days even though we struggled to pay for that.  

 Over the past six months we have been slow in business. We kept the employees. We did not lay off any of them because we wanted to keep the team together and we also understood the importance of a steady paycheck for our employees.  We successfully obtained a line of credit and used that to maintain our employees.

We have been more than fair to our employees. We are at the point where we can no longer sustain five employees with work. Our shortage of work and current financial situation forced us to lay off three of our employees.

Now I’m looking at an unfair labor practice!

They are young, just out of school employees who require constant supervision, who are still learning, who have no idea of what it takes to run a business yet because they were offered a promise, not a guarantee by a union representative, then our business must now be flushed down the toilet? 30+ years of hard work means nothing? WHY can a third party come into your business and want a piece of your hard work? WHY are they fighting so hard for a business when they had contributed nothing to it’s success? WHY are they still on our backs if we genuinely cannot offer more? How is this Canada? How is this democracy? This is no less than dictatorship and communism and your government has successfully screwed over small businesses by giving more leverage to the unions to INVADE small businesses. Where are our human rights?

 Our company has not gotten a chance to grow and already the union wants to put their claws into our business. There is no genuine care or regard for small businesses and our survival. All the talk about small businesses driving the economy means nothing. It means nothing until someone hands are greased.

There’s a lot of talk about how small businesses make up Canada and drive the economy. Why then are you making it difficult for these small businesses to survive?

I migrated to Canada  in 2005. I had a dream of living a better life, living in a country where each person feels that they are supported and could have a shot at success. I saw all that and more in this country. Every time I heard the Canadian National Anthem or saw the Canadian flag flying high I would tear up and feel such pride and joy to be a part of this country and call Canada home. It was only after you, Justin Trudeau became Prime Minister that I truly felt that I wanted even more to be a part of this country. I related to your vision for Canada moving forward, your leadership, you wanted to build a better future for your own children; something we all want. Your focus on being FAIR! I applied for my citizenship feeling that it would mean more to me if I obtained my citizenship to this country under your leadership.

Now I’m not so sure. I feel very disconnected. I’m hurt and saddened that this is the way Canada truly is behind the scenes.

Rights are given to unions where they aren’t required.  The union operates like a mafia. From where I’m sitting, it seems to me like the government does not have as much “power” as the union and cannot accomplish what the union can; so you too are left with no choice but to support the union in an effort to gain votes! And the new bill 148 makes it even easier for unions to manipulate, intimidate and collect from the hard working.

WHY should small businesses work even harder and pay even more to a third party who runs nothing but a mafia style dictatorship?!

 Tax cuts for small business? Did you not have a signed commitment with the CFIB to lower the rate to 9%. What happened to giving your work and being held to that? What happened to your own father’s legacy?

We are not a middle class business we are a SMALL BUSINESS! A small business that has lost confidence in your leadership to invest in Canadians. What happened to your sense of duty that “propels you to serve our country by fostering common ground where every Canadian can find his or her own place within a strong and fair country”. Just like your father inspired you by the examples he set, so has my husband been inspired by his father. That is why we are fighting. We are fighting for what is right and just, for what Canada should be; a fair and free country. Your career as a Politician started out in a parking lot, my father in law’s legacy started out of a trailer at the back of a 1978 Chrysler Cordoba.

 Running your own business is much like you talked about when you were campaigning in Papineau.  Our day starts though at 5am, filled with constant phone calls, emails, urgent requests, employees to supervise and direct, sometimes no lunch. While employees leave at 4:30pm we work 24/7. Even when we’re asleep we dream of work. And we do it day in and out because we love this business and we want it to thrive. We are in full support of providing a safe and fair work environment for employees. We are more than 100% secure in what we have provided. If our employees wanted more, which is their right then why not go elsewhere that could afford it? Why do you give such rights to the union to trample on ANY business where they feel they can make easy money? They are good salesmen who sells employees a promise, not a GUARANTEE. Why fight so hard for someone else’s business?

"Owning your own business does not mean you're rich. It means when times are tight, you don't get paid. You cannot collect unemployment. Small business ownership involves risk where collecting a pay check doesn't. It often means that you can lose your house if things go bad. it mean not sleeping at night because you have employees counting on you to feed their families. Owning a business is not easy."

The unions collect dues that they can spend however the darn well please but we are taxed left right and centre. You are not making it easy to survive!

 I want you to ask us the question you asked your close friends, advisers and family around that campfire back in 2012. Make the effort to find out why we are here and why we are reaching out to you. 

Our voices and other voices of small businesses NEED TO BE HEARD!

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