Coronavirus: Croven Crystal employees demand higher pandemic pay, wages

Amid the sweltering heat, some employees at Whitby, Ont.’s, Croven Crystals are fighting for their rights, which they say includes pandemic pay.

“We feel that we’ve sacrificed enough that we should get compensation for that somehow,” said employee Jodi Rosamond.

The company develops frequency technology for use in aircraft and cellphone towers, with the Canadian and American military listed among clients.

“They’re just fighting for a future. They’re fighting for better wages, better pension, better benefits,” said Corey Dalton, president of Unifor Local 1090, the union representing 50 employees at the company.

READ MORE: Coronavirus pandemic pay premium has not flowed to workers, Ontario government says

Joyce Pflanzer, a longtime employee, says she’s disappointed management hasn’t increased pension pay for 14 years.

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“I’ve only got three years left. I’ve worked here 41 years,” she said.

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“I’m hoping the next girls that take over for me, that they have a good relationship and the new ones deserve a raise, too.”

While the calls for pandemic pay and increased wages lie at the centre of workers’ job action, employees say there are deeper concerns.

The workplace is 90 per cent women, with most of them making less than $22 an hour.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Some hospital workers excluded from Ontario pandemic pay increase, union says

“You have to wonder — if this was a place that was filled with male employees, if the pay wouldn’t be a little better,” said Rosamond, adding she does not believe the company has been discriminatory in any way.

“They’d like to be in a spot where they can spend those years at home with their families, with their grandchildren, children and they just can’t, they just can’t afford it,” Dalton said.

Dalton says so far negotiations with the company have been unsuccessful. Croven Crystals told Global News they did not want to comment.

As for workers like Pflanzer, the news won’t stop her, she says. .

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“We’re willing to stay out here as long as we have to,” she said.

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