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Dozens of Victoria liquor store employees strike, ask for fair wage

Cascadia Liquor employees have been on strike for almost two weeks
Cascadia liquor store employees are nearing their second week of striking in hope of receiving a living wage. (Bailey Seymour/News Staff)

Dozens of Cascadia liquor store employees gathered at the store’s Quadra Village location for the second week of striking with the goal of receiving a fair wage from their employers.

On Saturday, May 11, employees of three Cascadia locations in Victoria, Colwood and View Royal, went back to the picket line as they try to negotiate their wages with the help of the Service Employee International Union.

“We’re hoping that it won’t last a while,” said Chris Stonier, a representative for the strikers. “We’ve been getting lots of really good community support, lots of other unions have been stopping by, lots of out customers have been going to other locations for the time being while we’ve been on strike and they are really supportive.”

Employees are currently making around $18 per hour, and the union says workers are looking for a $19.50 probationary rate, a $20 starting rate, and $21 after a year of service.

“There’s a few people that can’t be on strike simply because they just can’t afford to get time off work, and if they go on to the line, they’re going to lose their homes,” he said.

In a statement to Black Press, Cascadia CEO Keith Barbon said negotiations have reached an impasse, and they offered to submit all outstanding issues to a neutral arbitrator that would be appointed by the Labour Relations Boards, but the union rejected the offer.

“We remain committed to working with the SEIU to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement that works to meet the needs of all our team members, while affording us the opportunity to continue to meet the needs of our customers,” he noted.

“We respect the right of our team members to make their voices heard and while we cannot speculate on what will happen moving forward, we have let our team members know that we are eager to resume bargaining and remain hopeful that we will be back at the bargaining table soon.”

Stonier said he doesn’t know how long they expect to strike for, but they hope to get to the table and reach a deal soon.

Bailey Seymour

About the Author: Bailey Seymour

After graduating from SAIT and stint with the Calgary Herald, I ended up at the Nanaimo News Bulletin/Ladysmith Chronicle in March 2023
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