Jak’s Liquor Store Overwhelmingly Vote Yes to Unionize with SEIU Local 2
Jak’s Beer Wine Spirit Maple Ridge first retail store to unionize during the pandemic
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Aug. 18, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Workers at Jak’s Beer Wine Spirits liquor retail store in Maple Ridge are celebrating a massive victory after 75% voted yes to unionize with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 2 last week.
“We were all confident that we’d win our union, and we remain confident in our collective strength,” explains Quentin Rowe-Codner, who worked in the store for over two years. “Being part of a union will ensure that, going forward, we as employees will finally have a seat at the table when it comes to our working lives. This is a tremendous victory that we are all very proud of.”
The Maple Ridge location is the first location to unionize and this could lead to more Jak’s Beer Wine Spirit stores joining soon.
“During the vote week, it was very clear that management was worried about other stores wanting to follow our example,” says Daylan Kellough, another Jak’s employee.
Jak’s Beer Wine Spirits is a privately owned liquor store with 15 locations across British Columbia. Jak’s owners who describe their business as a ‘four-generational family-owned business’ decided in 2015 to expand into the Cannabis industry. Muse Cannabis currently has two locations in Vancouver and will be opening another three soon.
“For the last few months, we have all seen Jak’s make record profits during this pandemic while many of us are making close to minimum wage,” added Kellough.
Liquor retail stores across Canada have remained open and deemed essential services throughout the pandemic.
Last May, SEIU Local 2 launched a nationwide campaign to unionize essential workers during the pandemic. SEIU’s branch Local 300 represents workers across BC in the liquor production and retail industry including Mission Hill Winery, Molson, Granville Island, and Okanagan Springs.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the positive changes that I believe the union will bring,” said Lisa Konishi, a Jak’s employee. “One of our goals is to bring forward the concerns that many of the staff at Jak’s Maple Ridge have such as with wages and benefits. I’m hoping that we have pioneered the road for others to follow.”
SEIU Local 2 represents workers in Nova Scotia, Ontario, Alberta, New Brunswick and British Columbia.