Canada Goose workers vote to unionize in Winnipeg.


Workers at three factories owned by luxury clothing maker Canada Goose in Winnipeg, Manitoba, voted overwhelmingly to unionize, according to results announced by the union on Wednesday.

Workers United, an affiliate of the giant Service Employees International Union, said it would represent around 1,200 additional workers following the election.

Canada Goose, which makes parkas that can cost more than $1,000 and have been worn by celebrities like Daniel Craig and Kate Upton, has unionized workers at other facilities, including some in Toronto, and has often cited its commitment to high environmental and labor standards. But he had long appeared to resist efforts to organize Winnipeg workers, in what the union called an “adversarial relationship.”

The company has denied seeking to block unionization, and both sides agree it has been neutral in recent weeks ahead of the election. The union said 86% of voters supported unionization.

“I want to congratulate Canada Goose workers on this incredible victory,” Richard A. Minter, vice president and international organizing director for Workers United, said in a statement. “I also want to salute the company. No employer wants a union, but Canada Goose management has remained neutral and granted workers the right to exercise their democratic vote.

Reacting to the vote, the company said: “Our goal has always been to support our employees, respecting their right to determine their own representation. We welcome Workers United as the union representative of our employees throughout our manufacturing facilities in Winnipeg.

Canada Goose was founded under a different name in the 1950s. It began to gain recognition and focus on international sales after Dani Reiss, the grandson of its founder, took over as general manager in 2001. Mr. Reiss pledged to maintain parka production in Canada.

Private equity firm Bain Capital bought a majority stake in the company in 2013 and took it public a few years later.

The union vote came after accusations this year that Canada Goose had disciplined two workers who identified themselves as union supporters. Several workers at Canada Goose’s facilities in Winnipeg, where the company’s workforce is primarily made up of immigrants, have also complained of low wages and abusive behavior by managers.

The company denied the accusations of retaliation and abuse and said well over half of its workers in Winnipeg earned wages above the local minimum of about 12 Canadian dollars (about $9.35).

Workers United is also seeking to organize workers at several Buffalo-area Starbucks stores, three of which are in the midst of a mail-in union election in which ballots are due to be voted on next week.

Nearly 30% of workers are unionized in Canada, compared to about 11% in the United States.


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