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.