To the Editor:
I read the front page article about the racism / abuse accusations against the past manager/owner of Tim Hortons and was very disappointed! I also read the witch hunt article on the CBC website and was upset to read their comments as well. Although I am not privy to the specific case at hand, I wanted to share a few points from a client perspective.
I have known Tony since he opened his doors at the first Tim Hortons on 8th Street. Tony has always been fair to employees and in most cases went overboard on looking after them. Sure, you can have occasional issues pop up, but 99 per cent of the time, he was fair. He has always welcomed the Filipino community and I remember when he brought in the gentlemen from Mexico, he was excited about giving them a chance to work and make for a better future for their family. When they first arrived, Tony bought them boots, coats for the colder weather. He didn't have to do that but chose to on his own.
The issue of housing is mind boggling. Most employers don't provide housing (let alone at a discount). Tony could easily have rented out his real estate property for MUCH MORE than what he was charging them. Look around the community at the homes filled with oil patch workers, some easily housing 6- 8 workers. Right now rental accommodation is near impossible to find. Tony, could easily say, go out and find an apartment or house to rent.... for $2,000 a month. Is it not fair to say that many landlords might be concerned about renting to folks from out of country with limited english skills? This isn't a racist comment at all, but a reality that many would prefer to rent to local, well paid oil and gas workers.
The reason that Tony left Tim Hortons in July had nothing to do with the staff at all. No bad management at all. After working day and night, 24/7 with two Tim's locations, I am surprised they (Tony and his family) lasted as long as they did! And to get accused of what they have... it’s simply a raw deal.
In terms of wages, what Tony paid the Mexican / Filipino workers is/was normal in the industry he works in. What they earned here was certainly much more than what they earned in Mexico. About 3-4 times more! No drug cartels, no daily shootings / beheadings in Dawson Creek. Not a bad place to work!
I can't comment on the claims of breaches of privacy as I simply don't know. But after visiting Tony's places of business on a day-to-day basis for many years, I have NEVER seen examples of poor treatment. Tony might discipline his staff on occasion but certainly no more than any other boss. What I did see was Tony giving staff 3-4 extra chances after mistakes or in some limited cases, staff helping themselves to the till.
I guess what upsets me the most, is that in this day and age, we are all GUILTY until proven innocent. Even in Canada! And that’s certainly the case here. I understand that you are reporting both sides, but I see an obvious (from my perspective) GUILTY slant that is shameful. Maybe focus on some good news stories. And Mr. Kung.... are we running for BC Solicitor? As a professional, you should view BOTH sides before making the statements that you have. I smell a political motive in his views (my personal opinion).
Lets hope that this story sorts itself out. And hope that before anyone hangs Tony out to dry on a stick, they do a bit more homework before they jump on the "lets tie a noose around someone’s neck" story! If there are others who support Tony, please write in. I am sure I am not the only one who has witnessed Tony's acts of kindness!