Workers Vote to Strike at Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan-Owned Wine Rack Stores

Posted on 05/14/2021

On May 10, 2021, 86% of workers at Wine Rack voted in support of a strike action. The workers are members of SEIU Local 2 union. The union say key issues include low wages, basic job security, and fairness are all key issues. Wine Rack is owned by Arterra Wines Canada, Inc., a holding company owned by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. Constellation Brands Canada was subsequently renamed Arterra Wines Canada and was acquired by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan in 2016.

According to a press release by the union on May 11, 2021, “The workers say they are being asked to accept terms that would not address a severe problem with their hours and job security. Current wages and working conditions have resulted in a stunning annual employee turnover rate of 50%. Workers are seeking a deal which will give them the ability to work sufficient hours at a fair wage. Wine Rack has so far refused to provide workers with this basic level of dignified work. In addition, management has proposed a Manager-in-Training program which workers say is a thinly veiled scheme to further erode their hours, if not eviscerate their union altogether.”

Arterra Wines Canada operates eight wineries across Canada, with over 1,700 acres of premium vineyards in Canada’s wine regions. It owns and operates 164 Wine Rack retail wine stores in Ontario and sells wine kits and products for winemaking through its RJS Craft Winemaking brand. At 2020, it employs approximately 2,000 full-time and part-time staff across Canada.

Keywords: Ontario Teachers Pension Plan.

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