The story of Angel Reyes – fired from his temp agency job after speaking to the Star – is at once tragic, ironic and infuriating.
Published on Fri Jun 19 2015-Toronto Star
The story of Angel Reyes is at once tragic, ironic and infuriating.
He hauled garbage at a North York recycling plant for more than five years. He worked for minimum wage without benefits or a raise. But because he was employed by a temporary staffing agency, United Staffing Services, he had no job security.
In May he spoke to the Star’s Sara Mojtehedzadeh, who has been reporting on the plight of workers trapped in so-called precarious employment. And a week later he was fired, without explanation or termination pay.
The temp agency and the recycling company each tell Reyes to take his case to the other. But the bottom line is that he is being treated disgracefully, and as an employee of a temp agency he has little recourse.
Ontario’s Employment Standards Act puts no limits on how long a company can employ a “temporary” worker before giving them a permanent position. And temp workers can be paid less than permanent staff even if they are doing the same work – as Reyes did for five years at the plant operated by Canada Fibres Ltd.
Did Reyes’ decision to speak out on precarious work put his own position in jeopardy? There’s no proof of that, but the timing of his termination is an awfully striking coincidence. If nothing else, it illustrates how insecure that kind of employment is in this province.
As it turns out, Canada Fibres has two recycling contracts with the City of Toronto, both of which have been approved by the city’s Fair Wage Office. The city should look hard at these contracts and consider whether it should continue to deal with a company involved in such shoddy treatment of a worker.