Faced with higher minimum wage, Tim Hortons owners make it hurt

Tim Hortons — the Canadian coffee shop — is now the face of the debate over a higher minimum wage now that the children of the founder have taken Ontario’s increase in the minimum wage out on employees.

To make up for the $2.40 an hour hit that they’re taking, franchisees Ron Joyce Jr. and his wife Jeri-Lynn Horton-Joyce will no longer pay for work breaks for employees at their restaurants and the workers will now have to pay 75 percent of the cost of providing health care benefits, the CBC reported.

The owners also canceled a perk that rewarded employees with a day off with pay if they didn’t call in sick over six months. The bonus for working on a birthday has also been eliminated.

The CBC says initially the action affected only a couple of franchises owned by the couple (one the son of the co-founder, the other the daughter of Tim Horton). But since the story broke, other Tim Hortons have jumped on the bandwagon. CBC News has learned franchises in Thunder Bay, Windsor and St. Thomas, Ont., as well as other locations, have all informed employees about changes implemented in the wake of the minimum wage increase.

The employees at those restaurants will also have to pay for their uniforms now.

The free drink the workers were given at the end of their shift? That perk is gone now, too.

And a franchisee in Scarborough, Ont., said her employees will no longer be allowed to accept tips. If they get them, they have to be turned over to her.

The politician who spearheaded the higher minimum wage, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, called the franchise owners bullies.

If Mr. Joyce wants to pick a fight, I urge him to pick it with me and not those working the pickup window and service counter of his stores.

Tim Hortons is a Canadian institution. It’s a ritual before Saturday morning hockey and a daily habit many of us enjoy. But I know I want the person who hands me a tea or coffee in the morning to be able to pay their bills, raise his or her kids and enjoy the full benefits of life in Ontario. Again, I think that’s just fair — and I know many people across this province agree.

Because at its core, the minimum wage debate is about what kind of society we want to live in. I look to the south, where middle class children lost health care coverage in the same bill that cut taxes for the richest of the rich, and I know it’s the wrong path. That’s not who we are as a province, and it’s not who we are as a country.

Raising the minimum wage is not a radical act. It’s just fair.

The corporate parent initially brushed off the changes, saying it’s up to the franchise owners to establish their employment practices.

Today, it issued a stronger statement, the CBC says.

“There are several things that make the Tim Hortons brand truly unique, like our connection to our communities and the great relationship our restaurant owners and their team members have with our guests.

“It saddens all of us to see that jeopardized by the recent news stories and comments on social media, caused by the actions of a reckless few.”

Meanwhile, the brand is getting slaughtered on social media.

  • MrE85

    This is the most un-Canadian thing I have ever heard. But I guess the rich are #@!&*% everywhere.

  • Jeff

    I could use a free drink at the end of the day.

    • RBHolb

      I think they mean coffee. The stingy bosses are keeping all the Moosehead for themselves.

      • theoacme

        The bosses are so cheap, they think MacNaughton’s is good Canadian whisky… :p

  • To be fair, it’s only a few franchise owners who are doing this (the heirs, of course).

    It’s pretty shameful.

    >>And a franchisee in Scarborough, Ont., said her employees will no longer be allowed to accept tips. If they get them, they have to be turned over to her.<<

    Uh, In Canada, the above is illegal:

    https://www.ontario.ca/page/new-laws-employees-tips

    [Edit – I guess in certain instances, the above CAN be done]

    Well done, Horton’s heirs, you’ve managed to destroy your brand.

    Horton’s fears a coup?

    • The CBC said the number of franchise owners following suit in Ontario is growing.

      Also, note the linked text on the tipping.

      • Bridget L.

        I have never been to one and I guess I add another place on my list that won’t ever see my money.

      • Nato Coles

        Hold on, Onan and Bob, seems to me employers can’t keep tips in Ontario – they can redistribute them in a “tip pool” between front of house and back of house employees, including in most cases managers. Pooling tips and/or tipping out back of house (eg kitchen) employees is very common and, in my opinion, a good thing as it recognizes work in the back of house that the front absolutely benefits from. Wasn’t there a NewsCut article about a Bunnys Bar server who refused to tip out back of house, and the MN courts upheld their (miserly imho) choice?

        (from the Star article) “Tip outs” refer to a common restaurant practice whereby servers pay a portion of their tips, usually calculated based on their total sales, into a pool that is then distributed among support staff. It’s illegal in Ontario for companies to absorb a portion of the tip pool, but managers may be included in the distribution of tips if they regularly assist with duties other staff members perform.

        • Jerry

          Any place with counter service is probably going to have a tip pool, simply due to the way the service is provided. There is often much less separation between front and back of the house.

      • Yes, I amended my original answer.

  • Jeff C.

    Whaa? Who knew that Tim Horton employees have so much power that they can be the ones responsible for changing the law? What? They weren’t? Then why are they being punished?

    If I was a Tim Horton’s customer, I’d stop going. I’d be sad for the employees that they’d loose their job, but happy that the franchise owner would loose their investment. The employees can get another low-paying job. The owners, not so much.

  • John F.

    I suspect that this will not be good for Tim Hortons in the public relations department.

    Best of luck to the employees. Hopefully they can find better employment elsewhere.

  • Bridget L.

    Maybe if they had been given bigger corporate tax cuts…. The idea that corporations really truly care about those they employee, the ones that help their business thrive, is just laughable.

    • MNIce

      Go ahead and laugh. Do you follow any professional sports? You can bet a considerable sum that those team corporations care very much about the welfare of their players.

      Many companies realize that healthy and happy employees are more productive than the sick or disgruntled. They’ll take steps to promote wellness, provide continuing education, and address reasonable concerns about work conditions. Yes, there are companies for whom the workers are easily replaced “throw-aways.” These companies don’t fare so well in a tight job market, if at all. They get a local reputation for being bad bosses, making it difficult for them to hire employees, and often their product quality suffers. It may take a while, but the market usually does eventually penalize the jerks.

      • Bridget L.

        Professional sports invest in their players because they are literally valuable assets. And maybe I should have more specific as to which/what type of corporations I was speaking of, my bad. And I specifically use the term corporation, not companies. Most corporations, especially those who deal in customer service as part of their product, only value their employees as long as they deem them valuable and don’t hurt the bottom line. But they’ll keep giving top dogs millions in bonuses and salaries.
        I agree that there are companies who realize that happy employees mean more money for them, but they are the few, not the many. And I do laugh because if it were true that corporations cared more for people than bottom lines, I wouldn’t be typing this right now.

        • MNIce

          Productive employees are valuable assets to any company. The question is how valuable. That depends on a number of factors, including the cost of hiring a replacement and training said replacement in the company processes and procedures (assuming the skills needed for the job are already there). If there is a significant high-demand skill needed, such as welding, engineering design or nursing, employers may be tempted to regard those employees as “more valuable” than the janitors (which is why skilled trade unions have the clout they do). But a wise employer (and there are many, just as there are foolish employers) recognizes that every employee is either an important part of the team, or superfluous. In the latter case, some will help the extra employee find a new position (if only to reduce the amount of unemployment insurance to be paid).

          I don’t think you’ve ever read a stockholder’s meeting report. If you had, you would know that executives capable of running a company well aren’t found on every street corner, and likewise directors with the requisite knowledge to represent the shareholders well aren’t always easy to find. Executives are typically offered just enough base salary to keep them from being lured away by competitors, then are given stock options to encourage them to make the company a success. (An option permits the recipient to buy stock at the option price after a period of time. If the stock’s value exceeds that price on the maturation date, the recipient gets a good deal. If it doesn’t, the option is worthless because the stock can be purchased more cheaply on the market.) Bonuses are awarded if the executive or other employees meet or exceed goals set by the directors (these goals are not necessarily tied to immediate profits, which is why we sometimes read of bonuses being paid even when the company has lost money or laid off workers).

          For every CEO who gets millions in total annual compensation, there are hundreds who barely crack six figures. Big wealthy companies are the exception, not the rule. See it for yourself go through the listing of “pink sheet” stocks. You may be surprised at how hard-scrabble some of your “top dogs” have it. The CEO of one oil company I know of made about $30,000 last year – it’s tough for heavy oil sands to compete with shale oil on limited capital.

          It’s the old story, Bridget: before you criticize someone, you should first walk a mile in his shoes.

          • Bridget L.

            “I don’t think you’ve ever read a stockholder’s meeting report. If you had, you would know that executives capable of running a company well aren’t found on every street corner, and likewise directors with the requisite knowledge to represent the shareholders well aren’t always easy to find.” — I don’t think I need to read a stockholder’s meeting report to understand how the system works. I think my own experiences are enough, and they have been many and varied, to give an opinion on how minimum wage employees are viewed by said stockholders. I get why the high up mucky mucks make more money than their minimum wage employees. There are probably individuals within that group who do care, and probably more than I realize.
            I’m not criticizing anyone who hasn’t put themselves out there to be criticized, so spare me.

          • MNIce

            Except for politicians and other public figures, people don’t “put themselves out there to be criticized.”

            How do you know you already know everything there is to know on the subject? Are you afraid information from a different viewpoint might compel you to reconsider your opinions? I’m pretty much an amateur at investing, but I’ve often seen shareholders punish companies with poor labor relations by selling off their stock in those companies. I think that calls into question your claim that they don’t care.

          • Bridget L.

            Think whatever you want. It’s called opinion.

      • X.A. Smith

        Professional sports, the big ones, all have extremely powerful players’ unions that negotiate for their interests. Also, see NFL: concussions.

  • JamieHX

    Aren’t the wages paid to employees by franchisees (or any employer) a fully deductible expense in income taxes?

    • theoacme

      Yes, under the ol’ COGS * formula (which is standard practice in both the United States and Canada)

      * – that’s not the competition to Spacely’s Sprockets, that’s Cost Of Goods Sold 🙂

  • JamieHX

    Not allowing employees to receive/keep tips (when they presumably could do so before) is one of the most despicable things about this.

    • Jerry

      Taking their tips brings it to a kicking puppies level of cartoon villainy

      • Jerry

        It’s also an insult to customers, who are giving the money with an expectation it is going to the employee they are dealing with.

      • theoacme

        More like “even evil has standards”, where the Joker and Batman both are against Timmies…

  • RBHolb

    I hate to take this out on individual franchise owners here, but this is going to keep me out of Tim Horton’s. Maybe if the local franchisees who aren’t behind this start to feel some of the pain, the heads of the company can put some pressure on the others.

    Until then, I say “Take off, eh!” to Tim Horton’s.

    • crystals

      Same here.

  • chucker1

    My family used to be part of a franchise that began with an S since the 1980’s. We finally sold our final store last year which was one of the top grossing stores in the area. We were lucky to have had management that stayed with us for years due to top wages, a group health plan etc. The store profited very well the whole time we had it. The curmudgeon that came in as the replacement owner destroyed all that was built, didnt care about his employees, management went to find other jobs, and he imposed his own rules. Now he is wondering why he isnt seeing the same numbers we did. Gee.

    • Every Monday, the Strib’s business section is full of columns and articles on management and leadership. And every Monday, as I survey the American workplace scene, I wonder why they bother because it’s clear few managers are reading any of it.

      Good on you for your leadership while it lasted.

      • Mike Worcester

        I often wondered how many of them bothered to read Stephen WIlber’s columns on writing. The dreck I’ve seen come out of some board rooms could barely pass a ninth grade writing class, and yet, there it was for all the world to see.

      • 212944

        Perhaps they are too busy with Six Sigma and MBA courses.

    • Nato Coles

      I can attest to how important running a franchise in this manner is! Too bad many in the business just don’t seem to understand.

    • fritzdahmus

      Yes, let the market place weed out the bad businessman and woman….not Government. Freedoms people — are important. Take the good with the bad.

      • Rob

        Yes! The marketplace is magical, almost godlike. We bow in abject abeyance to the marketplace’s wisdom and benevolence.

        • fritzdahmus

          The marketplace is what we make of it. We don’t like what Tim Horton’s is doing….we go elsewhere. We don’t like what the Feds are doing….we move to Finland?? We don’t like what the State of Minnesota is doing…we move to New York??

          On the other hand, large corporations will always go where the business climate is friendlier….the will take flight and leave jobs behind. Or the reverse. For example, the recent repatriotization of US Corp overseas money….

          Sorry, but I would rather just go down the street to Caribou.

          My point is, there are many things we need government regulations and safe guards for……this is not one of them.

          I don’t trust big Corp anymore than big Govt….but we have more choices and freedoms if we make our little decisions within the marketplace…..and see what happens. But, meanwhile I can still go down the street to Caribou.

          • There is no such word as “repatriotization”. What you meant to write was “repatriation”. Unless, maybe, you wanted to say Apple will be converting their billions in off-shore banked Irish pounds back into US dollars. 😉

            I also cringe when I see someone writing “expatriot” instead of “expatriate” when defining “expat” in articles about people (e.g. Americans) who live and work overseas.

          • Rob

            Responsibly-run corporations that care about their employees and the communities in which they operate are not fixated on avoiding taxes and avoiding reasonable government regulations.
            The sad fact is that most companies aren’t inclined to do the right things, so government regulations become necessary.

          • >> We don’t like what the Feds are doing….we move to Finland?? <<

            Easier said than done.

      • Arkham55

        Well, in a Representitive form of government or a Democracy, we, the people ARE supposed to be the government, the officials are supposed to serve us…so as the person “employing” that official, I say we let the government clamp down hard on them.

        • theoacme

          Given how many town hall meetings my Congresscritter, Erik Paulsen, has held in lo these many years, he, and all Republicans (any DFL’er supporting PolyMet is a RIF (Republican In Fact)), obviously believes that only the rich are citizens, and poor folk like me, if the rich lynch me, get told that we deserve death, and burning in Hell for all eternity, because we’re not Christians (as some prosperity preachers who call themselves Christians strongly imply by their endorsement of folks like Michelle Bachmann from their pulpits) is not sufficient punishment.

          • MNIce

            Here’s a secret: the pre-reform US tax code was NOT written to favor the wealthy. It’s written to prevent more people from becoming wealthy, because people with wealth are harder for politicians to buy off with promises, and the wealthy are better able to contest unreasonable regulations. That’s one reason why the Democrat Party cultivates an attitude of envy, hatred and covetousness towards “the rich.” The other,of course, is because blaming “the rich” distracts people from the evil effects of the government’s profligacy for those who aren’t members of the Billionaire Democrats Club.

            If you have any acquaintance with Minnesota’s mining region, you wouldn’t bash PolyMet. The Iron Range has a long history of frequent layoffs due to mine closures. PolyMet is likely to provide steadier work than iron mining because its resources are more valuable even in a slow economy. Democrats who support responsible development and use of Minnesota’s mineral resources should be appreciated for putting their constituents and common sense ahead of the DFL’s big-city socialist party line.

          • Arkham55

            Other way around buddy, the rich buy off the politicians. The Rich ARE the enemy, majority of them at least. Look up inequality in the US, how half the country is low income or in poverty and, most importantly, the evils that rich people and corporations Lobbying officials in the govt has done to turn the US into Rome before its Fall. And yes we are getting there at an accelerated rate. When people have a say in their workplace (thats what Unions helped us with) and money is not in goverment, thats when the US was at its height going into the 80s.

            Im sorry but when Amazons CEO has over 100 Billion and the tens of millions the Amazon board and shareholders make per year and will probly just sit on most of it while Amazons workers struggle for 13 an hour in warehouses, its clear who the enemy of the people is supposed to be. Americans are too stupid nowadays to realize we are being controlled by a new age Nobility, and the shareholder Clergy demanding the worship of the Machine god on Walstreet are equally guilty

          • MNIce

            You’re looking in the wrong house, dude. The five richest counties (based on per capita income) are not anywhere California, New York or Texas. They’re all adjacent to Washington, DC. That’s where the big bucks go. Federal bureaucrats make far more than the average worker, or even the average manager. Lawyers and lobbyists make still more money. Because DC has aggregated so much power to itself that according to the Constitution is reserved to the states or to the people, companies large and small, and a myriad of special interest groups, go there to hire unelected representation to protect themselves or get special favors. Naturally, said lawyers and lobbyists have no interest in protecting your right to a limited federal government. THOSE people are the problem.

            Tell me, has a poor man ever paid you $13/hr. to work full-time? Have you ever been forced to pay Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk anything? The answer to both questions, unless you violated a contract with either of the billionaires, is likely no. I don’t give two spits in the wind whether somebody gets $100,000 or $100,000,000 from a non-government business entity; whether any of that money comes from my pocket is my choice. I do care that an IRS agent was paid well over six figures to keep certain political groups silent in the 2012 election; that bit of cheating was done with money taken from taxpayers by force.

            Economics is not a zero-sum game. Those who find ways to provide useful goods and services not only deserve to be rewarded, but they are able to reward those who help them do so, to a degree dependent on the labor market. That’s because improved combinations of resources and labor are generally worth more, so the value of the economy expands. I’m no fan of Jeff Bezos’ politics, but the notion that he is somehow stealing from people who freely agreed to work for him for $13/hour is not morally supportable, so long as he pays the agreed-upon amount. Has it ever occurred to you that Mr. Bezos is pricing the minimum wage employers out of the market, thus making them pay more to keep their help? Perhaps you haven’t read Matthew 20:1-16 in a while.

          • // The five richest counties (based on per capita income) are not anywhere California, New York or Texas.

            New York County, NY is #1. Marin County, Calif. is #4. Six of the top 10 are non-Virginia/MD.

            The list might be different if you look at MEDIAN income.

      • RBHolb

        And screw the workers who are caught in the crossfire, right?

        Why do you think Wal-Mart can get away with its employment practices? It’s because in a lot of places, they are the only game in town. The employees often have no other employment options short of packing up and moving away (“I don’t like the way I’m treated stocking shelves at this small town Wal-Mart. I’m going to move to the city and become a technology entrepreneur.”). The consumers who object have nowhere else to shop, unless they want to drive 20 miles for a roll of paper towels.

  • Jerry

    Everybody knows the key to running a successful business is having unhappy employees. This is especially true if your employees deal directly with customers.

  • Rob

    My feeling is that if you can’t run a business that’s predicated on treating employees like people and paying them a decent wage, you shouldn’t be in business.

  • Karl Crabkiller

    A typical Tim Hortons is staffed with 5 employees – open 18 hours a day. So the new labor rates will increase labor costs about $270 per day (payroll taxes also go up) – or $8100 per month for an Ontario store..

    • Jerry

      I assume at least one of those employees will be management.

    • fritzdahmus

      Wow, thanks for the math….and Tim Horton’s would be glad to pay that out if they thought they had to………..to retain good employees.

      I value all of my freedoms, therefore the Government should not tell anybody what to pay their employees. Let’s please give these employees some credit, they are smart enough to take care of themselves [dummies do not have the skills to serve the public well]…..and Tim Horton’s will then have to look for other employees.

      Some of the more qualified will not want to work there….and Tim Horton’s will have to adjust.

      Government needs to protect us when and where we are not able. This is not the case. So, thanks but no thanks.

      • Rob

        You sound like a Tim Horton’ s franchisee, who values the ability to exploit and mistreat employees above all else.

        We all have the freedom to be putzes, but we also have the freedom to be decent to others, and to treat employees fairly. Where are you on the spectrum?

        • fritzdahmus

          If I mistreat my employees, the more qualified will not work for me [please re-read my post]. Then, I will suffer….and lose business.

          People are smart…and in this country, still have the freedom of movement……they will go where they are treated well…and the business they left will suffer. Maybe not to the extent you would like [like the wrath of the Dept of Justice, IRS, etc…].

          I am not advocating mistreating employees.

          But, telling companies what to pay their employees…..is mistreating businesses. That’s the spectrum I am on….

          • Rob

            If companies treated their employees fairly and paid them well, there would be nothing for the government to be concerned about. It’s always odd to me that business owners seem unable to grasp this concept.

          • MNIce

            Beware the hasty generalization. Most companies do try to treat their employees fairly. You mostly hear about the dumb ones.

          • X.A. Smith

            I disagree. People are dumb.

      • JoeInMidwest

        That sounds like rational argument, but the reality is that as corporations get larger and larger, and push out the competition with targeted price cuts, then the few large corporations left in some segments of the economy use that monopoly power to exploit the public and the employees, especially if the employees are specific skills to an industry that is controlled by few corporations. That is Econ101.

    • @Karl Crabkiller:

      Before the minimum wage increase, it was estimated that (in 2008, at least) the average Tim Horton’s franchise owner made US$265,000 net profit per year. The franchise owner. Just the franchise owner.

      The entire franchise operation likely netted more profit than that. The average annual sales per shop in 2014 was US$1.5MM (converted from Canadian dollars).

      https://retail-index.emarketer.com/company/data/5411e319ddb53b4e043d24d4/5411e336ddb53d765417c93c/lfy/false/tim-hortons-store-productivity

    • Also:

      “Tim Hortons: always profitable”

      http://www.macleans.ca/economy/business/always-profitable/

  • Ben

    Corporations: utter garbage towards employees. These fools want tax breaks from congress, but refusing to pay their workers a decent living wage by cheapening society.

  • TCguns_carry

    Never been there, but probably will check it out now.

    • Rob

      What do you find appealing about these franchisees’ lack of basic humanity?

      • theoacme

        The fact that we don’t have a Bull Connor’s Doghouse or Adolf’s Belsenic Cafe or a 3K Southern Fried Krepe Haus means that businesses with such lack of basic humanity are rather limited here in Minnesota…

  • Badboy35

    No one should shop there. And encouraging sick employees to come to work is plain wrong. People should quit and find somewhere they are appreciated.

    And these are the people Burger King “sold” to and moved their HQ to Canada. To avoid paying US taxes.

    • JoeInMidwest

      Yes, would you like a little snot in your coffee??

    • MNIce

      Well, the tax reform bill greatly reduces the incentive to play that game. If Congress wasn’t so chicken about the effect on this year’s revenues, we could have had foreign companies coming here for the lower corporate taxes. At least now we’re on par with the rest of the world.

  • Darren Drevik

    Not to sound like a trolling American, but sounds like you guys need to start drinking up at Starbucks if you want coffee from a shop that has feels some corporate responsibility toward its employees.

  • geoffandmarie418@aol.com

    Good public relations !!!

  • Frank The Rat

    I’m sorry to read this and a bit torn. A bit of background on me, I own several hundred shares of Tim Hortons- I came by the shares through Wendy’s, which bought and then spun off Tim Hortons. Both companies have been good holdings for us as pensioners and we are only interested in owning shares in companies with some societal responsibility.
    We do eat at Tim Hortons any time we’re in Canada or central Ohio- last vestige of Dayton based Wendy’s ownership. The funny thing is we never eat at fast food places when home, not even Wendy’s. We do occasionally eat at Burger King when in Europe though, where employee pay is much higher than in Canada or the US.
    If corporate continues to back these franchisees we will be divesting our shares.

  • Stanley Joon-ya Rodrigues

    People are f***ing idiots. You can’t raise minimum wage and expect everything to stay the same if people aren’t spending even more money there. Here in the state of Washington, the minimum wage increased and everyone gets sick pay/PTO. Because it just started, my company put a hiring freeze and debating on taking away vacation pay. If a company has to pay more, the company needs more money, and if customers don’t spend more than what they were before, some cuts have to be done or employees will lose their jobs. Simple as that. I for one wish I could have all the benefits professionals have, but I guess I should’ve went to college.

    • JoeInMidwest

      Hmmmm, I guess that those that get increases in their minimum don’t spend their money anyplace, which theoretically would return money to employers.

      • Stanley Joon-ya Rodrigues

        Minimum wage will always be minimum wage no matter how high it is. If everyone’s pay goes up, including the workers at the factory, prices will go up (and we’ve seen it here). And it’s the small businesses that hurt, like mines. The Walmarts of the world can cut some corners like, hmm, getting rid of cashiers, small businesses can’t. We either have to raise prices (which we can’t to complete), let go employees (which we refuse to do because we aren’t at that point yet), or cut benefits (which is the right thing to do to save jobs – at least for now).

        If you read articles on states where minimum went up, most will tell you that jobs either flatlined or increased slightly, but hardly any of them will tell you what we had to do to get that way.

    • JoeInMidwest

      I assume you would rather have sick employees sneezing in your coffee. That is why the coffee shop worker asks if you would like snot in your coffee.

      • Stanley Joon-ya Rodrigues

        Or they/we could let the employee go, solves that problem. I’ve been at my company for more than 20 years and I see both sides of it. I’m sorry that most people don’t get to see the business side, maybe then you’ll understand. That money, in this case, $5 cup of coffee has to pay for all the supplies (coffee, sugar, cream, syrups, cups, lids, bar mops, mops, brooms, etc), electricity, water, the lease, insurance (not just 1 type of insurance), and more and that’s before paying the employee, not to mention paying for another employee to come in and fill in for the sick employee who could possibly now be in overtime. Sure that coffee shop is a big company but not every coffee shop is doing good and I can guarantee that the weak performers will be closed.

        • Businesses have expenses. Who knew? Better let them skate by allowing them to externalize costs by underpaying staff and polluting, right? Better yet, get sympathetic politicians on board to subsidize them – the taxpayers will buy their mops and electricity through tax credits! Meanwhile, their employees can go on Medical Assistance and Food Stamps. Now, that’s what we call “personal responsibility”.

          • Stanley Joon-ya Rodrigues

            Where should I dig up the money from. If we are barely skating by trying to make ends meet while still keeping our employees and giving them 35+hours (even overtime) a week. I’m not saying it shouldn’t be done, I’m saying it’s gonna kill a lot of small businesses. It’s more than just this million or billion dollar franchises. All everyone sees is giant corporations getting away with crap but nobody ever sees the little guy. At the rate we’re going, all you’ll see is a big box store in every neighborhood, oh and a fucken coffee house because now they got great benefits. The big guys win because people can’t get pass the bullshit. Guess I better get in line for my food stamps.

    • Arkham55

      Yes you can expect everything to stay about the same, because companies like this make billions, you just subtract from the bottom line. Also, in America, you can cut it from the CEO and Board salaries since on average most make around 10 Million more than other CEOs and top brass in civilized countries.

      And as the late great Theodore Rosevelt once said (when he helped create the minimum wage, ironically) “If you cant afford to pay your employees enought to live on, you do not deserve to be in business”.

      • Alberto Sappwood

        Except we’re not talking about GE; we’re talking about small franchisees who are much more susceptible to increases in operating costs.

        • The crackdown on employee benefits was instituted by franchisees with a net worth of $1.4 billion who are riding out the storm of publicity at their mansion in Florida.

          Curiously, the small franchisees by comparison seem to be making no changes.

          The economy is in the land of Upside Down. The rules of economics no longer apply. We’re in uncharted territory.

          • Alberto Sappwood

            by franchisees with a net worth of $1.4 billion

            Why are you aggregating? Individual franchisees are looking at their own costs and revenue when making business decisions.

            The economy is in the land of Upside Down. The rules of economics no longer apply. We’re in uncharted territory.

            Lol. What happened here is what any economist could have told you would happen. If you increase operating costs, businesses are going to look for ways to recoup the losses. Very basic stuff.

          • Pointing out that the franchisees taking action aren’t the “barely making it on small margins” crowd you seem to suggest. Quite the opposite actually.

            // y economist could have told you would happen.

            Yeah, perhaps. Economists also said wage growth would occur as the labor market tightened. That hasn’t happened. The workers are getting screwed instead.

            I’d be happy to have the owners open their books to pro

            I;ve things, but taking economic theory on faith is no longer a viable option in today’s economy. Trickle down doesn’t work.

            If costs have to be reflected upon the employee,that it stands to logical reason that so should increases in revenue and profit. That isn’t happening.

            Net profit for the parent in ’16 went from 50 cents a share to $1.45 a share (US). At the same time, the company CUT its operating costs by 14 percent. That certainly suggests accomodating a modest increase in wages for the workers should have been relatively easy and still allowed for significant profit.

            What’s happening here also is an ongoing dispute between franchise owners and the company which has institute a new culture on extracting greater profits for shareholders who are upset that the corporate parent has switched suppliers to more expensive ones. That’s an understandable complaint and the fact they’ve formed their own group and sought legal representation suggests that they’ll fight that battle too.et

            They think the corporate parent is trying to squeeze out the smaller owners in favor for the megaowners (like the heirs who started the “lets make a point to the politicians by making it hurt” crusade.

            But basically the franchise owners — some franchise owners — are doing to their employees what they complain the company is doing to them.

          • Alberto Sappwood

            Pointing out that the franchisees taking action aren’t the “barely making it on small margins” crowd you seem to suggest. Quite the opposite actually.

            I never said they were “barely making it.” My point was if you want to understand a business decision, you have to look at the actual numbers the business is dealing with.

            Yeah, perhaps. Economists also said wage growth would occur as the labor market tightened. That hasn’t happened. The workers are getting screwed instead.

            Workers have been getting screwed since 1965. Increased immigration combined with with greater female participation in the work force has resulted in a massive increase in labor supply. As a result, real wages have stagnated.

          • If the company’s profit is exceeding the rate of the company’s cost but workers wages aren’t rising, I think that questions the economic theory of a rising tide lifting all boats, which is rather significant since we’re about to raid the treasury while claiming it does.

          • Rob

            I hate that thoroughly discredited “rising tide” claptrap that conservatives are so fond of. Workers’ boats have big holes in them, so the rising tide won’t do an effing thing for them.

          • The other economic theory is “If YOU get ahead, I will fall behind.”

          • MNIce

            Instead of coveting the other guy’s gold, why don’t you go dig your own? Then you won’t fall behind.

          • MNIce

            When the U-6 unemployment rate drops below 5%, wages will go up. It’s been more than double that amount for nearly ten years; only last year has it dropped to 8%. The reason should be obvious to any casual observer (I said observer, not carping bystander). A U-6 below 5% means almost everyone who wants a job can get one, and employers have to offer more to get new employees. I’ve seen it happen right here in southern Minnesota and not just once. Sometimes it takes a while to loosen the anchor lines so the small boats bob up, but it does happen.

          • MNIce

            Consider this: U. S. work force participation in the eight years prior to 2017 has been less than 70%, and as low as 63%. There’s a lot of competition for people trying to get low-skill jobs. That means employers won’t have to offer more than the minimum to fill those positions until most of those idle hands are employed.

            The massive increase in regulations and taxes under the previous administration was a significant drag on the economy. I personally know employers who refused work for their factories and avoided expanding their businesses because of the extra burden the Unaffordable Care Act places on larger employers. President Trump and the current Congress are eliminating some of obstructions the federal government poses to employers. Given eight years of demand that has been placed on hold, many businesses are now making plans to expand. That’s why the stock market has been going through the roof in anticipation. Give it time, Bob. Soon just about everybody who wants a job and is willing and able to work where the jobs are will have opportunities. When employment applicants start getting multiple job offers, wages and benefits will go up.

          • What year was that that they refused business?

          • MNIce

            From 2012 onward, when the Obamacare employer mandate when into effect. It costs a lot to go from 49 to 50 employees working more than 29 hours per week..

          • Under the law, the employer mandate wasn’t to take effect until Jan 1, 2014. Then it got pushed back to July 1, 2015. That was announced in 2013.

          • AL287

            So much for the Republican theory that cutting the corporate tax rate in the U.S. will create jobs and increase wages.

            The only “wages” that will increase are the dividends for shareholders. None of the tax savings are going to benefit workers.

            Profits are thicker than water.

            Americans need to stop drinking the Republican koolaid and send a powerful message in the voting booth in the midterm elections.

          • MNIce

            Did you even read the article? This is a Canadian policy change, and the U. S. corporate tax law change has nothing to do with it.

            By the way, you must have been sleeping when a number of major U. S. corporations announced that they will increase their corporate minimum wage by amounts starting at 10% as a direct consequence of the passage of the tax reform bill. They are anticipating increased competition for workers, and would like to keep those they have.

            Democrats should stop drinking the socialist Kool-Aid and reconsider whether their party has any candidates with enough sense to represent them.

      • MNIce

        “…companies make billions …” Have you ever run a business with employees? Have you ever looked at the profit margins of the fast food business? They’re quite low, on the order of a couple of percent after taxes, debt service, depreciation and amortization. Corporate directors don’t usually get as much money as you think – typically between $10,000 and $100,000 per corporation. Generally, only the very large corporations pay their CEO’s in the seven-figure range, and that’s because people capable of successfully overseeing big corporations aren’t all that common.

        Given the low margins in the fast-food business, the range of options for dealing with a minimum wage increase is limited. Generally, franchises don’t have any extra employees to lay off so they can pay the others more. Some, such as McDonald’s, have replaced employees with robot servers and other automation in order to make ends meet. In Seattle and other cities where the local minimum wage increased too much, the restaurants either moved outside of city limits, or simply closed (at least they have the option to move, unlike the case of a state- or province-wide hike). In all of these cases, the employees either had to relocate or get nothing at all.

        Tim Horton’s response seems cheap and stingy, but at least they’re trying to keep the jobs available.

        • Arkham55

          Someone has been brainwashed by the Ivy League story of how businesses are the bullied side in all this…..its ok, hush now, go back to sleep

          • MNIce

            Brainwashed? Not at all. I’ve simply experienced or observed many facets of the labor market personally, starting with being priced out by a minimum wage hike in bad times right out of high school. Employers wouldn’t hire anyone even at minimum wage unless they had “experience.”

            I notice you didn’t offer a single logical rebuttal to what I said. Instead, you resorted to an ad hominem attack. Bad form, dude, like an illegal block to the back because you’re down by 10 late in the Fourth Quarter.

          • Arkham55

            Should I even respond and give you your answers though? You responded to another post of mine here saying I was “wrong” that Big Corporations lobby the government and you said it was somehow DC itself doing it….Im sorry sir, but even Ted Cruz openly takes money from the Koch brothers but will admit Big Money in campaigns and on the Hill is a huge problem. Even the Slave knows his Master. But people like you, the staunch defenders of this current form of capitalism, you are like The SS, blinded and enthralled by a broken and horrid ideology. Claming “you have first hand experience, you know what its all about”. Yet you know oh so little. You told me people like Amazon’s CEO have earned their money in another post….not true. The workers, no matter the contract they signed, earned their share, they make the products go out and make the company function. Management and office people working the sites do too. The CEO’S and Board members? Totally replaceable after giving said management a bit of training and a semester or 2 of business based classes. Their duty is to the share holders, not the company and workers, they are mostly scum. No one has earned 100 billion while hindreds of thousands struggle in the same company to pay the bills.

            You know why America thrived back in the day? Because people were treated as an asset, they were paid livable wages up through moat of the 70s and given fair treatment. 15$ Trillion wasnt horded offshore for greed (Im sure youll tell me its for taxes and they have a legit reason even though the entire world knows thats bull).

          • MNIce

            Either you misread my other post or I didn’t write what I meant. Big business does indeed lobby the federal government; that’s why so much wealth is concentrated in the counties around Washington. They do it for self-protection, for special favors, or to get rules making life harder for competitors. Unions do the same – they like higher minimum wages because their contracts are typically based on a percentage of the MW, and because a high MW prices out non-union competitors. Likewise, as Mr. Rodriguez pointed out, a high minimum wage bites larger retailers, but chews up and swallows their small business competition. And don’t even get me started on all of the various socialist lobby groups chirping like gluttonous baby birds at feeding time for more taxpayers’ money, including the money of taxpayers who haven’t even been born yet.

            But at the core of the problem is the federal government interfering where it has no constitutional authority. Nowhere

            does the Constitution grant Congress the power to set wages, except possibly as terms in a federal contract. The overly expansive interpretation of the “interstate commerce” clause commonly appealed to was deprecated in NFIB v. Sebellius (Obamacare) case. However the DC shysters do it, the fact remains that money corrupting politics is a direct result of politics corrupting money. If Congress would adhere to the original intent of the Constitution, there would be much less bribery going on, because nobody wastes money bribing someone to do what he cannot.

            I came of age in the 1970’s. I saw my parents’ savings wiped out by inflation; what was a decent middle-class wage in 1972 was poverty-line at the end of the decade. And no, wages never kept up with inflation, even though my father was a member of the International Typographers’ Union. The decade was a period of widespread labor unrest, as unions tried to extract more wages and benefits from companies that were already losing money. I don’t know where your blue-sky version of that time came from, but it wasn’t reality for an awful lot of people.

            By the way, are you entitled to the money you earn? Of course you are. Likewise, you are entitled to whatever return you get on investments you make with that money, as a reward for taking the risk of letting other people use it to create economic opportunities. So why is it “greed” to protect that money by legal means from greedy politicians? Long ago, the U. S. Treasury complained in court about a taxpayer who found a way to shield some of his money from taxes. The court’s response: “There is nothing illegal or immoral about a person arranging his affairs so as to pay the least tax possible.” So long as there is no deceit, fraud or openly immoral enterprise involved, it is perfectly fine to invest the money where it will provide a greater return.

            It is shameful to covet other people’s money. It is even more shameful to scheme to take it away from them by force. Walter Williams illustrates it this way: is it moral and legal for me to point a gun at you and demand that you give me your money? No. Does it become moral and legal if I point a gun at you and demand that you give me your money so I can give it to a poor person? No; I’m still taking what you earned and I did not. Now, is it any more moral or legal if I point the IRS at you do the same thing? No. The IRS is a weapon of force, just like a gun. That other people have agreed with me to rob you so I can give the money to a particular group of individuals doesn’t make it right. That you may have more money than anyone else doesn’t change the morality of the situation.

    • geoffandmarie418@aol.com

      I don’t agree with a lit of what you are saying, but I do like your closing words,
      “I should’ve went to college”. Too many people today want the best healthcare, the best job, the best vacations, the best perks, but most are not willing to sacrifice to achieve their goals.

      • // most are not willing to sacrifice to achieve their goals.

        I’d like to see the hard numbers on this assertion.

        • Stanley Joon-ya Rodrigues

          I for one came from a poor town, poor family, and poor lifestyle. I didn’t have the luxury of going to college. I wasn’t even exposed to the idea of applying for grants or student loans. I grew up doing drugs. I worked my ass off getting to where I am today. I’m saying that college is such a faster road to get there and if I knew what I know today, I would’ve went to college so that I could’ve started at where I am today instead of taking 20yrs to get here. And of course you don’t agree with me geoffandmarie418@aol.com, nobody agrees unless they’re a small business owner, runs a small business (unless you’re the only business in town), or knows someone who runs a small business. When minimum wage goes up and benefits are added, ask them to hire more people. Tell them that their employees are getting paid more so they should be spending more. It goes beyond a coffee shop.

      • Rob

        I should have gone to college

        • Stanley Joon-ya Rodrigues

          That’s my point! Lol

          • Rob

            So, you did go to college?

  • AmiSchwab

    boycott. period.

  • MsJ

    I’m really surprised they are not taking turnover costs into account. Food service turnover rates are extraordinary. And workers will vote with their feet. Anyone behind their counter or in the kitchen who has a semblance of good customer service or organization skills will likely be lured down the street to a competitor. That goes for the shift managers as well, who often make maybe 50 cents to a dollar more than the folks on the floor and must deal with all the crap from employees and customers alike. Thus you’re left with a high turnover rate and folks that have been there a month or a week training the new folks in with “what they remember.” Now that’s a scary doughnut.

  • John Doe

    A strike really would be appropriate here. Employees should be in front of those stores doing their level best to prevent customers or applicants from entering. (I can’t imagine anyone would want to apply.) A boycott from customers would also be appropriate.

  • Mike Worcester

    Maybe someone has mentioned this already and I missed it. There are 3,468 Tim Horton’s stores in Canada. That’s about one for every 10,500 Canadian souls (I would not be surprised if there are at least seven in Toronto Pearson Airport alone). One would think that enterprising franchisees in Ontario could easily promote to their customers that they are not treating their employees the same as those other stores. Considering the backlash that has ensued in recent days, it could be good marketing, yes?

  • Postal Customer

    I just read that the unemployment rate in Canada hit a 40-year low. Maybe these disaffected employees can find work elsewhere if things get rough.

    I’d rather see the stores raise their prices; at least that’s honest.

    Also, that free drink at the end of the day probably costs the store like five cents.

    • The one thing that has bewildered economists, I heard again on Marketplace last night, is that wages haven’t grown even though unemployment is low and help is hard to fine.

      So all these people who are making an economic argument for wages and benefits being slashed because people have been given a piece of the action are choosing to ignore the fact that the economic structure their saluting is broken now and that the nation’s corporations have been keeping the benefit of the economy.

      All the old rules no longer apply.

      • MikeB

        We have ingrained into our culture that any sacrifice by those with affluence is an affront to “our” way of life, and sacrifices by those at the bottom are normal and to be expected.

      • Rob

        There’s a direct correlation between the lack of employee power and stagnant wages and the paucity of union power and membership. I think I read somewhere that total union membership in today’s economy is 7%. And with the intense union-busting efforts that meet any attempts of workers to organize and obtain more economic strength, that percentage ain’t gonna rise anytime soon. Welcome, indeed, to the plutocratic clusterf¿¥k.

    • A little shot of sugar syrup and water. I wonder what the markup is on that?

  • Mike Moriarty

    I suggest the protesters open their own business and give their employees all those benefits.

  • geoffandmarie418@aol.com

    I can see both sides of the argument. Running a profitable business is hard, most people have never ran a business, so most are clueless as to the exact mechanism that goes into running a business. It is harder for a smaller business to gain a profit than big corporation who gave came to dominate the landscape.

    I can also see that a lot of business do make a substantial profit and could easily pay their employees (foot soldiers) more than what they do. Mcjobs, oops I meant McDonalds, Walmart, etc… Since a lot of our economy is based on consumer spending, it is wise that people have money in their pockets to spend, there by stimulating our economy.

  • Erin Maynard

    This is going to trickle over to the Tim Hortons in the US as well, as many of the locations are in NY, which has this stupid, complicated minimum wage law with 6 different rates. The minimum wage for fast food employees has gone up $2 in less than 2 years for the majority of the state, and $3 for those living in NYC. I don’t think taking away employee benefits is the right way to go about it, and I don’t have a firm grasp of the Canadian laws, but at least how things are in NY is preposterous. Why just fast-food workers? Why are people putting together Happy Meals making more than paramedics? Seems a bit unfair to me. And anyway, how much money are they *really* saving by taking away a free end-of-shift beverage, versus how much ill will they are garnering from the public?

    • // Why are people putting together Happy Meals making more than paramedics?

      I’m guess they’re not. They might be making more than EMTs, however.

      • Erin Maynard

        According to paramedictrainingspot.com, which lists salaries for paramedics and EMTs across the country, and specifically in NY, the *average* paramedic salaries are as follows: Buffalo $36,969; Rochester $38,268; Syracuse $36,056; Yonkers $43,228; and NYC $44,747. As of six days ago, a brand new employee with no experience getting a job at McDonalds in Buffalo, Rochester or Syracuse would be making a minimum of $12.75. When you break down the average paramedic salaries for Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse, you get $17.77; $18.39; and $17.33. However, these are average salaries, NOT starting salaries. So while certainly not every McDonalds employee is making more than every paramedic, I will stand by my assertion that *some* likely are. I never at any time implied that they all were, simply that it was preposterous for *any* of them to be.

        • Just to be clear. Paramedics and EMT is not the same job.

          I’m all for paying either of them more but people don’t seem bothered by their low pay. Sad.

          • Erin Maynard

            Just to be clear, I’m well aware of that, and the stats I quoted were clearly for *paramedics,* not EMTs. At no point did *I* mention EMTs. You seem to have assumed 1. that I didn’t know the difference between the EMTs and paramedics or 2. that I meant EMTs, not paramedics, when discussing salary disparities . Both of these would be incorrect on your part. I know the difference, and I meant *paramedics* when making the comparison.

          • OK. Well then people who work at McDonald’s aren’t making more than paramedics.

            The paramedics gyou quote are also getting over time, full health benefits and pensions. And if they’re in a city union, they may also be getting full retirement and pensions after only 20 years of service.

            The compensation is far, far more than the minimum wage workers.

          • Erin Maynard

            My stats and math clearly prove that at least some are. Your contrarian statement doesn’t nullify that. As I’ve said, more than once, I never claimed *all* paramedics make less, just that there are some who do, and I find that apalling.

            The ambulance companies that service our city (the second largest in the state) are overwhelmingly private, not municipal. They do NOT offer pensions, “full” health benefits or other benefits that make the compensation “far, far more” than minimum wage workers. In fact, as your own article notes, companies across the board are cutting employee benefits.

          • Try to keep in mind that in NY many of them are with volunteer fire departments (not in the cities you cited, of course, but those statistics are salaries, not compensation).

            Just as in White Bear Lake, MN , my son got paid on a per call basis and got paid a stipend for being on call.

            So he’d get $45, if I recall, if he got the victim to go to the hospital. Less if he didn’t.

            If there’s no call. He could do anything he wanted with his day as long as, if he was on call, he stayed in the area. And, yeah, they didn’t make much money when they weren’t actually working.

            That fact skewers of the statistics that are out there that people use to contend that people working at McDonald’s are making more. If they are, one of the reasons is because they’re working. For the time the paramedics are actually working, they’re not making less than the person at McDonald’s.

            The state of NY Labor Dept, by the way, lists the median salary for paramedic in Western NY at about $41,000. $45,730 in NYC. Again, not including benefits.

            I’m all for giving paramedics more money for when they’re working.

  • MNIce

    There’s a fundamental misunderstanding about the effects of the minimum wage. In essence, the MW law says you are not allowed to have a job unless you can find someone willing and able to pay you at least the minimum wage for what you can do. Consequently, for those who have a low-grade skill set, an increase in the minimum wage puts their jobs at risk. (Credit for this observation does not go to a “fat cat Republican businessman,” it goes to a nun who saw the negative consequences first-hand.)

    Minimum wage jobs are not meant for supporting a household. They’re pin-money and work-experience jobs for kids just starting out. The primary beneficiaries of minimum wage hikes (besides politicians who pat themselves on the back for being “compassionate to the working poor”) are the children of upper-class families who take these jobs to start their resumes. If they get laid off because the MW went up, their fathers can talk to their golfing buddies about who else has a stock clerk or loading position available; otherwise the kids are being supported by their parents anyway.