Crown Royal plant employees reject latest deal

Negotiations have stalled again between Crown Royal distillery employees and their employer, a month after workers first hit the picket lines.

Gimli, Man., distillery employees hit the picket lines in early March

The Crown Royal factories are located in Gimli, Man. Workers have been on strike for about a month. (CBC)
Negotiations have stalled again between Crown Royal distillery employees and their employer, a month after workers first hit the picket lines.
Crown Royal workers hit the picket lines outside the distillery in Gimli, Man., March 5, 2016. (Jeff Traeger)

"The company tabled a final offer I'm going to say was modestly better than the one that we rejected when we went out on strike March 5," UFCW Local 832 president Jeff Traeger said.

"Our folks are very frustrated, because the company doesn't seem to be addressing the major issues at the bargaining table."

Workers picketed outside the Gimli, Man., plant in march after rejecting an offer from Diageo, the company that manages Crown Royal operations.

The 53 employees are asking for higher wages, a better pension and more comprehensive long-term disability and vacation coverage.

After a failed meeting with the Manitoba Labour Board, Traeger said on Friday union members voted 81 per cent in favour of rejecting Diageo's final offer.

"Once the folks have been on the picket line for a month, you know they are a little eager to get back to work," Traeger said. "Given that the company did not address many of the significant issues that were on the table this wasn't all that surprising."

Workers could be stuck in limbo for the next 60 days, at which point the union may apply for an alternative dispute resolution measure with the Manitoba Labour Board, the union said. If granted, an independent arbitrator could force through a one-year deal, the union added.

Traeger added workers are increasingly upset with Diageo, a company that does business around the world and makes a handsome profit "on Crown Royal alone."

"[They] guys are frustrated they are not getting a fair offer."

With files from CBC's Courtney Rutherford