Workers at three factories owned by luxury apparel manufacturer Canada Goose in Winnipeg, Manitoba voted overwhelmingly to unionize, according to union results announced Wednesday.
Workers United, an affiliate of the giant International Union of Service Workers, said it would represent about 1,200 additional workers as a result of the election.
Canada Goose, which makes over $ 1,000 parkas worn by celebrities such as Daniel Craig and Keith Upton, has unions in other businesses, including Toronto, and has frequently declared its commitment to high environmental and labor standards. But she seemed to have long resisted attempts to unionize workers in Winnipeg.
However, this position seems to have changed in recent weeks and the company remained neutral during the elections. The union said 86 percent of those who voted supported union formation.
“I want to congratulate the Canada Goose workers on this amazing victory,” said Richard A. Minter, Vice President and Director of International Organization for Workers United. “I also want to welcome the company. No employer wants to unionize, but Canada Goose has remained neutral and empowered workers to exercise their democratic vote. ”
Responding to a vote, the company stated: “Our goal has always been to support our employees while respecting their right to determine their own representation. We welcome Workers United to represent our employees’ unions at our production sites in Winnipeg. “
Canada Goose was founded under a different name in the 1950s. It began to build its profile and focus on international sales after Dani Reiss, the grandson of its founder, took over as CEO in 2001. Mr. Reiss is committed to maintaining parks production in Canada.
Private equity firm Bain Capital acquired a controlling stake in the company in 2013 and made it public a few years later.
A union vote was held this year following allegations that Canada Goose disciplined two workers who identified themselves as unionists. Several workers at Canada Goose factories in Winnipeg, where the company’s workforce is largely immigrant, also complained of low wages and abusive behavior from managers.
The company denied allegations of harassment and abuse and said more than half of its workers in Winnipeg received wages above the local minimum of about $ 12 Canadian dollars (about $ 9.35).
Workers United is also seeking to organize workers at several Starbucks stores in the Buffalo area, three of which are in the midst of a mail-order union election due next week.
Nearly 30 percent of workers are unionized in Canada, compared with about 11 percent in the United States.