Many Canadians are excited by the news that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle might be moving to Canada.
But there’s a time and place to express that excitement, particularly when you’re a brand already struggling with public approval. Case in point: Tim Hortons.
The coffee chain’s offer Wednesday to provide free coffee to the royal couple for life did not go over well. And that’s an understatement.
Twitter users jumped into the thread to point out how inappropriate the offer was, especially in light of Tim Hortons’ history of labour disputes.
Unionized Tim Hortons employees at a Winnipeg location were locked out last week after they rejected the company’s proposed increase of 20 cents, as they’re seeking a jump of 30 cents. New workers were brought in to replace the strikers, union representative Andy Spence told the Winnipeg Free Press.
The hourly wage is currently $11.75. According to Living Wage Canada, in 2017 $14.54 was the hourly wage needed for Manitobans to “cover basic necessities, support healthy development of children, escape financial stress and participate in the community.”
In 2018, after Ontario’s hourly minimum wage increased by $2.40, several Tim Hortons locations in the province offset the costs by cutting paid breaks and reducing benefits for employees. The changes were implemented by Jeri Horton-Joyce and Ron Joyce Jr., children of the company’s billionaire founder.
Tim Hortons’ decision to remove all tables and chairs from a downtown Ottawa location also came under fire. The restaurant made the move to made the environment safer for customers and staff, and to reduce drug use and criminal activity, reported CTV News.
Who knows what Harry and Meghan will do for work if they do end up in Canada, but it’s conceivable that Tim Hortons may have some job openings in both marketing and union liaison. Just an idea.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that workers from six Winnipeg Tim Hortons locations were locked out. In fact, the owner of the franchise has a total of six Winnipeg franchises, but only one voted against the 20 cent increase.