Coffee shop feeling heat from protestors for firing two employees

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Former Just Us! employees Elijah Williams, left, and Shay Enxuga, middle, watch Shayna George of Wolfville speak to a crowd of nearly 60 people outside the Spring Garden coffee shop Sunday afternoon.

HALIFAX - About 100 protesters gathered Sunday outside Just Us! coffee house on Spring Garden Road to support two former employees who say they were fired for trying to form a union.

But according to the coffee co-op’s general manager, that played no part in the decision to let the two employees go.

“We made a completely separate business decision that had nothing to do with unions,” said Debra Moore, prior to the protest beginning on Sunday afternoon.

Moore claimed at the time of the dismissals, she did not know a union was in the making.

Shay Enxuga and Elijah Williams were both fired a week and a half ago from Just Us!. Both were also on hand at the protest.

“All they told us was that we were no longer a good fit for the company and that we didn’t have the right commitment to the co-op,” said Enxuga.

Prior to their dismissal, they had been working with SIEU Local 2 to form a union. They say the majority of employees at the Just Us! location voted to join.

“In trying to form a union we just wanted to create a workplace where we could really empower the workers to come to the table and negotiate with our employers as equals,” said Williams.

Both say they had been given positive performance reviews and had not received any warnings prior to their dismissal.

Enxuga said before he was fired, “management had started questioning staff if they knew anything about employees meeting up outside of work talking about unions.”

Jason Edwards of SIEU Local 2 said at Sunday’s protest employees being fired for trying to form unions “happens all the time.”

“We thought here it wouldn’t be so common. I guess I was wrong,” Edwards said of Just Us! coffee.


Organizations: SIEU Local 2

Geographic location: HALIFAX, Spring Garden Road

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Recent comments

  • mike
    April 08, 2013 - 10:43

    It is stated that they wanted to "negotiate with our employers as equals". Here's a news flash for you... you are not equal. The employer pays the wages and in general the employer looks down on the employees as a necessary evil who is below them on the social ladder. Hence the reason for unions.

  • Go get a job
    April 08, 2013 - 10:13

    looks like the owner made the right decision, look what kind of people they are

    • patsrat
      April 09, 2013 - 01:51

      If employers treated their employees better, employees wouldn't try to vote in unions.

    • Steve M
      April 09, 2013 - 07:49

      What kind of people are they?

  • therepo
    April 08, 2013 - 09:36

    But did not the owner did not even know of the Union. They were let go because they did not fit. By being let go EI benefits would be up in the air. Federal and provincial labour relations acts and labour codes contain regulations with respect to collective bargaining and unions. Labour codes also help employers remember to train their employees, let them go home at night without being fired etc. These are the neat things that are being phased out in Canada over the last 400 years or so. Those that do not think these ideas are ok should be willing to take their business practices to another country where you can do as you like.

  • Big Red
    April 08, 2013 - 09:31

    Hey here is any idea, after seeing Rick Clarke's mug on the TV sprouting off about freedom of the work place, I was wondering if Mr. Clarkes union would hire these ex employees to serve coffee to the union membership at union wages. Seeing that Capital health pays their servers $26.50/hr plus benefits and seeing that the Capital Health Tim Hortons franchises are the only one;s in the whole world that are losing millions, I do not suppose that Mr. Clarke would be interested. Just more of not putting your money where your mouth is, eh Rick?

  • Johnny smoke
    April 08, 2013 - 08:18

    They wanted to form a union, the owner rightfully said no, you are out of here. great choice by the owner, poor choice by the wanna bee employees. If they want to work in a unionized coffee shop, get hired by the Capital Health Tim Hortons franchises, they lost well over a million and a half last year, I wonder why?