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Cascadia liquor store workers join SEIU

Workers at a flagship store of a popular liquor retailer in Victoria have won their union certification at the BC Labour Relations Board and will now head into bargaining with their employer for much needed improvements in their workplace.


Nearly 30 employees at the Quadra Village location of Cascadia Liquor applied for union certification early last week with an overwhelming majority supporting joining SEIU Local 2.


“Being part of a union allows us to use our collective voice to ensure our concerns are addressed,” says Oscar Towert, a full time Cascadia employee and a student at the University of Victoria. “Workers’ wages simply can’t stay as flat as they have in this economy and this housing market – forming our union is our opportunity to bargain for what’s fair.”


Workers at the store had heard about the recent successes of private liquor store workers in the Lower Mainland and Okanagan, who recently won significant improvements from their first contract after unionizing a few months prior. Several employees from Cascadia Liquor then reached out to SEIU and organized their workplace in a worker-led campaign.


The living wage for Victoria in 2022 was calculated at $24.29 per hour, based on a 35-hour work week, according to the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria (CSPC). Many employees at Cascadia Quadra have struggled for some time with the rising prices of everything from groceries to gas on Vancouver Island in recent years.


“The cost of living has never been higher and it’s workers like us who bear the brunt of that the most,” says Amelie Guillemette. “Forming our union is merely us giving ourselves a chance to make ends meet every month.”


“What I like the most about unionizing is the fact that it’s the workers who are driving it. We’re grasping our opportunity to raise standards for wages and working conditions within the private liquor industry – it starts with us.”


Cascadia Liquor has 11 locations on Vancouver Island and is owned by the Truffles Group, a hospitality-focused conglomerate on Vancouver Island with interests in liquor, cannabis, coffee and catering.

Employees at the Quadra Village location of Cascadia Liquor join SEIU Local 2.