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Sears cuts jobs at Burnaby repair centre
Sears will be closing its repair and parts centre in the Lake City area in May, putting 75 people out of work.
On Nov. 26 Sears announced it will be shifting its repair services to contracted technicians in mid-sized markets, while parts distribution will be consolidated in three centres located in Calgary, Toronto and Montreal. In total, the moves will eliminate 712 jobs across the country, said a Sears press release.
Vincent Power, of Sears Canada, said where consumers will be able to drop off appliances in need of repair is yet to be determined, but it's likely to be at an established Sears department store of Home Centre.
Christina Brock, the assistant business manager for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) local 213 that represents the 41 technicians who work at Sears, said the company will retain only a "skeleton crew" of 14 to do repairs to gas appliances, lawn mowers, treadmills and exercise equipment.
"It was a complete shock," said Brock. "These men are broken, they're stressed out, they're scared."
Brock said even the most senior technician, who's been with the company since 1977, received a termination notice, bypassing their contract's seniority provisions.
"As a union, this isn't over," said Brock.
Since it first started representing the technicians, IBEW has had an acrimonious relationship with Sears, said Brock. There was a strike in 2001 and a lockout in 2007 lasted eight months and led to calls from other unions to boycott the department store.
Brock said relations have tempered in recent years, but she's girding for a fight.
"It's difficult to work for a company for six months knowing they're not going to have jobs after that," she said.