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Cascadia Liquor workers poised to strike at three Greater Victoria stores

Picket lines are expected at the Quadra Village, Eagle Creek and Colwood stores on Saturday.
Cascadia Liquor at 2670 Fifth St. in Victoria is one of three stores expected to be behind picket lines on Saturday. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Three Cascadia liquor stores are expected to be behind picket lines starting Saturday after talks between the union and the company broke down this week over wages.

A representative from Service Employees International Union Local 2, which represents 45 Cascadia employees at three stores — Quadra Village, Eagle Creek and Colwood — said the strike will begin Saturday at 9 a.m. at Eagle Creek and Quadra, with the Colwood store set to be behind picket lines after a rally at the Quadra Village location at noon.

“If Cascadia isn’t going to recognize the hard work we do to help make their business successful, we have no recourse other than to strike,” Alyssa Lansdowne-Allan, an employee from the Eagle Creek store said in a statement.

Workers, who make between $18 and $19 an hour, say they have been asking for a living wage for Victoria.

Currently the minimum wage in B.C. is $16.75 per hour, which will rise to $17.40 an hour on June 1.

Cascadia’s latest wage offer, which the union said was a base wage of $18.85 an hour for most workers, was turned down earlier this week.

Cascadia chief executive Keith Barbon told the Times Colonist the company respects the rights of its workers to make their voices heard.

He also said Cascadia, which has 12 outlets on the Island, including seven in Victoria, understands the challenges facing its staff.

“As we continue to recover and adjust to a new business reality post-pandemic, we have put forth what we believe to be a compelling and fair offer that achieves the balance for our team and our business,” he said.

“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.”

Barbon said the company has offered to submit all outstanding issues to a neutral arbitrator, appointed by the Labour Relations Board, to determine a final and binding agreement.

He said the union rejected that offer.

According to the union, workers at the three stores joined SEIU Local 2 last year because they have been struggling to make ends meet and wanted more fairness at work.

The union said Cascadia, which is owned by the Victoria-based Truffles Group, tried to stop the workers from bargaining collectively and insisted each store was a separate employer.

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