Canadian workers strike malt plant to defend contract, Winnipeg, 2010-11

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Time Period:  
9 December
1 March
Location and Goals
Location City/State/Province: 
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Location Description: 
Malt Proccesing Plant
Maintaining current workers agreement.

On December 9, 2010, twenty-two employees represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Canada Local 832 walked off the job and began to strike against their employer Malteurop. Malteurop is the exclusive producer of malt for the Moosehead Brewery along with micro-breweries such as Half-Pints in Winnipeg. Workers went on strike for the purpose of demonstrating to the company that they were serious about their demands for obtaining a fair contract and wanted the company to remove the unnecessary concessions they were demanding of the employees.

Local 832 Secretary-Treasurer Jeff Traege spoke about how it became clear with Malteurop’s last offer, that Malteurop was not serious about negotiating. Company officials could not be reached for comment. Maltroup also did not confirm what effect a strike at the Malteurop plant might have on its operations or supply. The union’s negotiating team went into negotiation with the goal of maintaining what they had. On July 15, 2010, the workers had voted 100 percent in favour of rejecting the company's offer and 95 percent in favour of strike action. The company wanted to offload the responsibility of the pension plan and divide the membership with a grandfathering clause for wages that was felt to be completely unnecessary by the union.

On January 10, 2011, UCFW identified supporters of the strike to include the organizations of CUPE, CAW, Manitoba Hydro, Winnipeg Firefighters, the Manitoba Federation of Labour, as well as many small businesses in the area. The Malteurop workers continued to strike and picket.

On March 1, 2011, after 83 days of picketing, the UFCW employees returned to work after the Labour Board ordered an end to the strike. The Labour Board put an end to the strike following an application by Local 832 for Alternative Dispute Resolution. The workers returned to work under their previous collective agreement until an arbitrator ruled on a new one. UFCW Canada Local 832 President Robert Ziegler was pleased with the news that the dispute would move to arbitration and the workers could return to work. Ziegler said he was proud of the members who walked the picket line seven days a week, 24 hours a day, until an agreement was reached, under extreme temperatures, never complaining once. Though the strike ended on March 1, not of the employee’s returned to work because the beer taps had been shut at one of its biggest customers, Moosehead Breweries of Saint John, N.B. While workers returned to the job, the results of arbitration were not made public, so the final agreement is not known.

Research Notes
Paul Turenne. (December 08, 2010). Strike could hinder beer supply. Winnipeg Sun.

Staff. (December 20, 2010). Malteurop workers on strike in Manitoba. UFCW Canada, 10 (50).

Staff. (January 10, 2011). Malteurop members spirits remain high on picket line. UFCW Canada, 11(2).

Staff. (March 7, 2011). Labour Board orders end to Malteurop strike in Winnipeg. UFCW Canada, 11 (10).

Staff (January, 2011) Malteurop brews up a foul batchForces concessions on plant members, refuses to open books. Union The union membership magazine for UFCW local 832. 5.

Staff. (December, 2010). Strike threatens Moosehead beer supply.

Staff. (March, 2011). Malteurop's Winnipeg workers end strike.

Name of researcher, and date dd/mm/yyyy: 
Tyler Buehler, 24/2/2012