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Workers at popular Vancouver brewery plan to strike

The union says negotiations broke down last week.
Workers at Granville Island Brewing have voted to strike, announces union.

A group of unionized workers at Granville Island Brewing have voted to strike as early as July 8.

A recent press release from Beverage Workers Rising, a union that represents employees in retail liquor stores, breweries, wineries, distilleries, and other alcoholic beverage facilities, explains that negotiations between the brewery and workers broke down last week.

"Workers at Granville Island Brewing need raises that reflect the rising cost of living," says the union. "The brewery doesn’t seem to agree, as what they’ve offered in negotiations, does not keep up with inflation."

Granville Island Brewing is owned by a branch of the fifth largest beer company in the world, Molson-Coors which reported $10.7 billion in net sales revenue last year and according to the release, some of the brewery workers' wages start at $16.75 per hour, with most making $20.97 an hour.

The current agreement expired at the end of May and negotiations reportedly reached an impasse earlier in June on the issue of wages.

“I’ve worked here for over four years, including throughout the pandemic,” says Sandra Abdiannia. “We haven’t asked for anything outlandish: Reasonable wage increases we’ve earned and that they can afford.”

The workers are also attempting to block the brewery from hiring lower-waged temp workers to be the “Brewer’s Assistant.” They believe that according to their Collective Bargaining Agreement, the work should be performed by unionized employees.

“We are trying to protect good jobs for workers in Vancouver, but the brewery seems to be solely interested in profits,” says Aaron Nalconechny, who’s been at the brewery for almost two years. “They are pushing to replace our labour in some areas with lower-paid, non-union, temp work.”

The employees affected by the strike work in various departments including in the retail store, handling shipping and receiving product, stocking coolers and shelves, and selling beer and merchandise to the public. However, members also assist the brewery with production and work on the canning line.

Now that they've voted to strike, the union says the workers could be hitting the picket line as early as Saturday, July 8. They have extended an invitation to the public to join them throughout the summer for 'Solidarity Saturdays' from 12 to 2 p.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. outside the brewery.

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