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Unionized Berezan Liquor Store workers win a nearly 10% increase after Union files Labour Board complaint

Workers at two unionized Berezan liquor stores will be receiving a 9.76% wage increase following a mediation at the BC Labour Relations Board Thursday that settled a complaint filed by the Service Employees’ International Union Local 2.

The wage increase will be retroactive to September 1, which was the date a wage increase was implemented at seven other Berezan stores.

“Winning this settlement is a step in the direction of transparency and fairness,” said Clair Poule a supervisor at the Port Moody location. “These values are super important in any team effort, and some of the larger goals we are hoping to achieve through collective bargaining.” It is common for supervisors to be non-management employees in the sector.

The settlement also requires the company to post the notice at all the non-unionized stores in a conspicuous location and send an email to all employees advising them that the Kelowna and Port Moody stores will be receiving the same increase.

Berezan Hospitality Group operates nine liquor stores across BC as well as a ski resort, casinos and other businesses. Three liquor store locations won their union with SEIU Local 2 in August and early September.

Following the unionization of the first two stores – Kelowna and Port Moody – Berezan Management extended a 9.76% increase to all the non-unionized locations, which took effect on September 1.

In response, SEIU Local 2 filed an Unfair Labour Practice at the BC Labour Relations Board, alleging that the timing of these wage increases, and exclusion of the unionized workers, was discriminatory to the unionized stores and meant to discourage the non-unionized employees from joining SEIU.

Nonetheless, just one day after the wage increases took effect, workers at a third location in Surrey filed to unionize with SEIU.

“Making sure that workers across the company are treated fairly in terms of the wage increase is important, but issues like safety, procedure, favouritism, adequate staffing and others remain. We look forward to discussing these unresolved matters in bargaining,” said Cody Dilullo at the Kelowna location.

“Moving forward, I hope that Berezan accepts the outcome of unionization and collaborates with their employees to improve the workplace for everyone,” said Marissa Iacobucci, an employee at the Port Moody location. “We hope that Berezan locations and other liquor stores recognize the significance of this win and continue to advocate for themselves without fear.”

SEIU local 2 represents workers across British Columbia in the liquor production, distribution and retail industry including Mission Hill Winery, Westgate Liquor Store, Molson-Coors Beverage Company, Turning Point Brewery, Granville Island, and Okanagan Springs.