More than 50 percent of workers at Canada Goose’s Winnipeg factory voted in favor of unionization, a subsidiary of the company said on Sunday. The vote has been held at Canada Goose’s facilities since April and comes amid ongoing complaints by workers over poor working conditions.
The Canada Goose factory was the focus of a months-long investigation by workers and community groups, which led to a court-imposed mediation process as Canada Goose said it would not bargain with the unionized workers until the process was concluded. A court voted in favor of the mediation effort on Nov. 8.
“Our team has worked hard to achieve this important milestone for our organization,” David Manley, Canada Goose’s vice president of human resources, said in a statement. “This reflects a deep commitment to their welfare and culture and we look forward to their work continuing for years to come.”
Many of the factory workers said they worked in harsh conditions and were treated poorly by their employer, reports CBC News. Many complained of dangerously hot temperatures, work environments that made it difficult to take breaks and have a safe place to change clothes, and long shifts with little pay for overtime. The workers have been given the option to join a union and negotiate a collective agreement, but continue to be free to leave the factory at any time.
In August, the factory was visited by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who urged the company to improve the conditions for its workers.
“I am confident that this factory would be happy to discuss with you new standards, standards that the rest of Canada Goose operates by. So let’s work together to achieve what the rest of Canada Goose does,” Trudeau said.
Canada Goose’s parent company, Toronto-based Northbrook, Ontario-based Luxury Brands Inc., denies that the factory has a particularly bad environment, but says it is committed to improving conditions for all of its employees, as part of its “core values.” The company has agreed to let a mediator continue negotiations with the union for the next 45 days.
Read the full story at CBC News.
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