Toronto – May 20, 2014 – Troubled by a botched expansion into Canada and a data breach scandal south of the border, Target has fired Tony Fisher, the company’s president of Canadian operations. In his place, the retail giant announced yet another American vice president will take over the handling of stores in Canada.
During the past two years, Target has embarked on an aggressive plan to open 124 stores in Canada. The openings came after the American company bought the Zellers chain, fired more than 20,000 Canadian workers, and refused to honour union collective agreements. From the onset, Target made it clear it had little regard for workers' rights in Canada and refused to recognize the talent offered by thousands of experienced retail workers.
As the country’s leading union for retail workers, UFCW Canada launched Ask Target for Fairness – a national campaign to fight for Zellers workers and join with communities affected by the job losses, to demand Target take responsibility for their detrimental impact on Canadian workers and their families. The campaign culminated with a mass demonstration at Target headquarters in Canada in 2012 and Canadian workers speaking directly to the board of directors at the company’s shareholders meeting last year.
The termination of the head of Canadian operations comes on the heels of the resignation of Target’s CEO Gregg Steinhafel. The reasons behind Steinhafel’s resignation concerned a mass breach of customer data in the United States, and the failure of the company’s expansion into Canada. In its first year, Target Canada recorded a loss of $941 million. In Canada, customers have complained of the company’s failure to meet expectations, inventory problems, and higher prices than in USA Target stores. Workers have complained of low wages, lack of training, unfair scheduling and not enough hours to make ends meet.
“It appears that Target has learned nothing about what Canadians expect,” says Paul Meinema, UFCW Canada National President, “Instead of building good jobs for our communities, respecting workers rights and giving customers what they want, Target has brought in another American executive to try to tell us what we want.”