Fitness Workers Make History by Ratifying First Collective Agreement in Industry
On Monday evening, Personal Trainers at GoodLife Fitness in Toronto, Ajax and Peterborough voted to ratify the first union contract in the North American fitness industry.
In 2016, nearly 650 trainers in Toronto, Ajax and Peterborough formed the first fitness professionals’ union in North America. Now, they have reached an agreement after over a year of negotiations with their employer. During the course of their negotiations, trainers received support from hundreds of GoodLife clients and members who endorsed their #RespectFitnessWorkers campaign.
“It wasn’t easy, but we’ve made historic gains in this first round of bargaining,” says Danesh Hanbury, a Personal Trainer and bargaining team member from the Toronto Yonge & Dundas club. “We’ve moved forward on our major issues of paid sick days, unpaid work, and favouritism by management, and we now are able to protect our rights in the workplace by having a collective agreement in place.”
“We were able to push GoodLife to make company-wide changes even though only 25% of GoodLife Personal Trainers are currently unionized. Imagine what we could do if we had even more strength in numbers,” says Personal Trainer Mark Cleary, a bargaining team member from the Peterborough Portage Place club.
In addition to approving their first collective agreement, members of the Fitness Professionals’ Union voted to approve a strategic plan that charts a path to build collective power for the future.
“By building deeper unity and organization among workers in each club, we can make our jobs better and support each other. We want to set new standards for the industry as a whole and raise the bar for everyone,” says Bree Munno, a Personal Trainer and bargaining team member from the Toronto Bloor Park club.
Respect Fitness Workers! Nyasha’s Story
All workers have the right to work safe. Listen to Nyasha’s story.
Nyasha has worked at GoodLife for almost 6 years. She started as a member, then became a fitness instructor, and a personal trainer. She’s been recognized as a Top 500 employee.
Due to workplace injuries, she is now physically unable to do her work. If she had paid sick days, and the opportunity to heal, her circumstances could have been much different.
Our health matters. We can raise the bar by working together to hold the company accountable, ensuring that GoodLife is a safe, healthy and fair place to make a living.
Respect Fitness Workers! Vidya’s Story
Fitness instructors put our bodies on the line every single day. Our health and safety matters. When we get injured, we deserve the same protections as other workers. It’s completely unfair to exclude us from workplace safety insurance (WSIB) coverage.
We’re organizing together to change this.
Our Health Matters Too: Employees Demand Paid Sick Days from Canada’s Largest Fitness Chain
Personal Trainers at GoodLife Fitness took to the streets on Sunday, September 24at 11:00 am with their supporters and clients in a “Fun Run for Paid Sick Days” as part of their Respect Fitness Workers campaign.
Last year, nearly 650 trainers in Toronto, Ajax and Peterborough formed the first fitness professionals’ union in North America. They have negotiated with GoodLife for nearly a year, but the health club company has made no significant movement on the key issue of paid sick days.
“Forcing trainers to choose whether to pay their rent or work while they are sick or injured puts both trainers and our clients at risk,” says veteran trainer Eris Collins, a member of the Union’s bargaining team. “All workers need paid sick days.”
Magazine Features GoodLife Personal Trainers
Our campaign is gaining momentum and drawing attention all around North America. Two articles about our efforts to improve working conditions and negotiate a first contract with GoodLife came out today!
They’ve been published by a magazine based in the US called Labor Notes, which has been in print since 1979. They’re both online and the interview with trainers and bargaining team members Eris Collins, Danesh Hanbury, and Jason Lau will also be published in the September print edition of the magazine. Here are the articles:
GoodLife members demonstrate support for trainers
On Wednesday July 12, 10 union members and GoodLife clients from the community group We Are Oshawa talked to clients outside the Rossland club in Ajax about some of the main issues impacting trainers. Specifically: the need for GoodLife to provide trainers with paid sick days and to fully compensate trainers for all of the work you do, including administrative work, scheduling, preparation and programming. Overall the clients we spoke to were very supportive of you and many stopped to talk despite the rain and signed a petition calling on GoodLife to address these issues.
Gym members and staff upset about closure of JUMP child minding programs
We are disappointed by the news of cutbacks to the JUMP childcare program that many staff and parents rely upon. We will continue to organize to protect this vital service.
“We would like to see GoodLife keep all the JUMP programs open,” says Adrie Naylor, union representative with Workers United Canada, which represents 650 personal trainers at GoodLife clubs in Toronto, Ajax and Peterborough. “JUMP staff support GoodLife members and employees with young children who rely on this service in order to stay physically active and perform their jobs.”
Radio Interview: From ‘No Union’ to Pro-Union
Personal Trainer Eris Collins and union representative Adrie Naylor were interviewed on CIUT 89.5FM about the #RespectFitnessWorkers campaign.
Eris also talked about her initial apprehension towards the union and what caused her to change her mind (starting at 33:55).
Paid Sick Day issue raised by MPP at Queen’s Park
On May 11, 2017, the day after our campaign was covered on CBC News, NDP MPP Cindy Forster raised the issue of paid sick days with the government during Question Period at Queen’s Park.
Paid Sick Day campaign featured on CBC
Like many of us, DeJanai has had to work while sick or injured because GoodLife doesn’t provide any paid sick days.
Why is this? GoodLife is a hugely successful company that can afford to provide paid sick days. GoodLife is a health club company which promotes health and wellness as part of its core philosophy. If other health club companies provide paid sick days, GoodLife can too.
We continue to press GoodLife on this issue. We believe that we will win.
When We Organize, We Win!
Instructors at GoodLife are once again organizing. We’ve developed and will continue to update an infographic to highlight some key moments in our campaign so far. Please click here to view a high-resolution version of the image.
More Personal Trainers Vote for a Union!
GoodLife Personal Trainers in Peterborough have joined Toronto and Ajax in voting for a union! This is an important first step in ensuring fairness and better working condition for GoodLife workers.
We encourage other Fitness Professionals who are also interested in making GoodLife a better place to work to consider signing a union card or talking to one of our Union Organizers. Please contact us to get involved.
Personal Trainers vote ‘yes’ for a union!
After reaching an agreement with GoodLife around bargaining unit descriptions that had delayed the voting results, yesterday afternoon the ballots were counted and the results are in:
City of Toronto Personal Trainers have agreed to form a union and are now represented by Workers United!
Group Fitness Instructors, however, have voted not to be represented by a union.
Throughout this campaign and voting process we have always taken the position that workers themselves should decide on whether they wanted to form a union. While we are excited to have Personal Trainers join us, we respect the decision by Instructors to not join a union at this time. We are confident, however, they will be next time.
For Instructors who supported us, please rest assured that this is only a temporary setback and that we will continue working with you so that we can re-file again within a year’s time.
As we work with Personal Trainers to develop a strong collective agreement – one that sees positive changes and improvements in working conditions at GoodLife – we remain positive that other gyms across the GTA and Canada will see the benefits of forming and joining a fitness union. We will continue our efforts to ensure all Goodlife workers have the rights and protections at work that they deserve.
We would like to extend our sincerest thanks and gratitude to everyone on the Organizing Committee who has worked so hard during this campaign.
We will soon be scheduling meetings to discuss electing representatives for bargaining and additional next steps. Further detailed information will be sent very shortly.
NOW Magazine Article
NOW Magazine has just released an article on the GoodLife organizing campaign. You can check out the full article here: “Not so GoodLife for gym employees fighting to unionize”
GoodLife Clients from Coast to Coast Support GoodLife Fitness Professionals!
We’ve received a great positive response and many words of encouragement from the public about our GoodLife campaign to support fitness professionals in their union drive. Here is just a sample:
“I greatly value the work that the GoodLife instructors do. I support this campaign and hope it is successful!” – Mandeep, Nova Scotia
“I’ve worked in the fitness industry for 20 years and it makes me sick how fitness professionals are treated and paid. I’ve brought up numerous issues to head office only to be blown off.” Leah, British Columbia
“As a Goodlife Member I fully support fitness professionals’ fight for fairness.” – Kim, Ontario
“I’m really happy to see Good Life employees standing up for themselves. I am aware that Good Life expects employees to “donate” their time to attend work functions. In other words they are “voluntold” to attend meetings and that’s just the beginning! I appreciate the work they do with a cheerful smile! I honestly don’t know how they do it and would like to see things improve for them!” – Sharon, Ontario
“I would be much happier as a Goodlife member if the hard-working employees had a union.” – Jason, Canada
Please continue sending us your messages of support for GoodLife workers!
GOODLIFE CLIENTS SUPPORT THE FITNESS PROFESSIONALS’ UNION DRIVE!
Check out our new video with actual GoodLife clients speaking out in support of the growing number of fitness professionals looking to form a union and make GoodLife a better place to work!