Crown Royal workers strike after failed negotiations with employer
Workers at Gimli, Man., distillery hit picket lines demanding higher wages, benefits, vacation time
"We're conducting a legal picket line in Gimli and hoping to get the company to come back to the table to continue talks," UFCW Local 832 president Jeff Traeger said.
On Friday night, UFCW Local 832 announced its members voted down the company's more recent offer in near-unanimous fashion, with 98 per cent rejecting the deal.
"Certainly the final offer we received from the company yesterday wasn't anywhere near a fair shake," Traeger said.
Putting the possibility of a strike on the table helped the bargaining process move along over the last month, but the employer and workers were still unable to reach an agreement, the union said.
"Our members go to work every day with the mindset that they are making the world's greatest whisky," Traeger said in a statement.
- Gimli's Crown Royal produces World Whisky of the Year
- Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye 'far from' best in world, says Calgary whisky expert
- British whisky expert still convinced Crown Royal rye 'a masterpiece'
"The membership believes that if the company put the same effort into this round of bargaining we wouldn't be on strike."
Northern Harvest Rye
Traeger cited the award-winning, massively popular Northern Harvest Rye produced at the plant as a sign of how well Diageo is doing as a company.
"The company is doing very well selling this product, as well as Crown Royal, and Diageo is a world organization that sells all kinds of premium liquors around the world and they make a lot of money," he said.
"The settlement that's on the table [that] they offered is not reflective of a company that's doing as well as they are, and not reflective of what kind of settlements we've been seeing in the industrial sector over the last year."
Workers are asking for health and welfare benefits, wage increases and more vacation time.
"I would think the early part of this week we're going to work hard to get the company back to the table, either voluntarily or with a provincial conciliator, and hopefully get a more reasonable offer we can bring to our members," Traeger said.
The strike got underway Saturday in Gimli, about 90 kilometres north of Winnipeg.
With files from CBC's Courtney Rutherford