H&M Employee Relations

H&M is a Swedish-owned global fashion retail chain selling women’s, men’s, and children’s clothing and accessories. It is one the three biggest fashion retailers in the world, along with Gap and Zara. H&M is known for using celebrities in its marketing, and even sponsors show jumping horse riders in Sweden. In social democratic Sweden, a large majority of workers are unionized, about 71%.  Ninety percent of Swedish workers are protected by collective agreements governing their sector.  Most retail workers are protected by collective agreements and/or represented by one of two unions, Handels or Unionen, including H&M workers. The comapany proclaims that 63% of its workers are covered by collective agreements.

Zellers Workers Unite

Profitable US-based retail company, Target, is moving into Canada in the summer of 2012, taking over more than a hundred Zellers locations.  But the workers in these stores have been told that they are losing their jobs.  Current workers are welcome to re-apply for their jobs, but there is no guarantee that they will get to keep their status, seniority, or any benefits they may have earned through collective bargaining. Many Zellers workers have put in years or even decades of loyal service and they are asking Target to respect this.  Canadians are uniting through the Ask Target for Fairness campaign.

Square One H&M Workers Share Their Thoughts

On October 6, 2011, workers at trendy fashion chain H&M’s Square One location voted to join UFCW Canada, becoming the first store in the country to organize.  H&M workers in Sweden, Germany, and parts of the United States are unionized. Four of the Square One workers spoke to the Toronto Star about their reasons for joining a union and their hopes for building a better workplace.

Watch the video here.

Remco Warehouse Workers Join Union

Workers at a warehouse that supplies H&M clothing stores in Canada have voted in favour of union certification in an effort to improve wages and working conditions. Kevin Shimmin, national representative for the United Food and Commercial Workers union (UFCW), told The Huffington Post that a majority of workers at the Brampton, Ont., warehouse voted on Wednesday to join UFCW Local 175, which also represents employees at the Swedish-based retailer’s clothing store in Mississauga.

For the full story, click here.

H & M workers in Mississauga make history

Retail Workers Make History

By Kendra Coulter

People often see retail work as destined to be temporary, low paid, erratic, and without benefits. Some think that retail workers should simply accept whatever demands are made on them by managers and corporate chains, and not expect to have many rights or protections. But several young women and men are determined to change these perceptions, and the realities of retail work.  To learn more about their victory, read the article in Our Times magazine.