Is Bain’s Canada Goose Becoming a Sweatshop? — We Support the Immigrant Women Factory Workers at Bain's Canada Goose Fighting for a Union, Fair Pay and Safe Working Conditions
The majority of the workforce in Canada Goose’s Canadian factories in Winnipeg are immigrant women, who during the pandemic have been forced to deal with low piece rates and, without a union, no real say over working conditions. For example, at one plant, broken bathrooms, lack of sanitizer and social distancing have been problems, all while workers continued to produce luxury winter coats, as well as essential PPE for hospitals. Workers describe being treated like “animals,” and another, as a “slave.” Workers at one plant report that a climate of fear has descended.
Canada Goose used to be a strong union company. Founded by Samuel Tick (originally Szmuel Tyk), a Jewish immigrant from Poland, who worked as a fabric cutter before founding Metro Sportswear Limited (the precursor to Canada Goose) in 1957, the company recognized the union 75 years ago, and it stayed nearly 100 percent union until 2013.
In 2013, Bain Capital, an American private equity firm based in Boston, bought a majority ownership stake in the company. The company has made major profits while working conditions have deteriorated and the workforce has been de-unionized. Is Bain’s Canada Goose becoming a sweatshop on Canadian soil?
At one Canada Goose plant in Winnipeg enough workers signed union cards to trigger an official union vote. The vote was conducted in April 2019, but the votes were never counted. Bain’s Canada Goose prevented the vote counting by disputing the union’s application, arguing that the union, Workers United, would need to organize all three factories, an anti-union argument, and one that the Manitoba Labour Board upheld.
But the Manitoba Labour Board also found that Canada Goose committed unfair labor practices because derogatory and critical comments about the Union were made to Winnipeg workers just days before a union vote. The Production Manager got caught because a courageous worker recorded the meeting. Only after the vote was the manager fired. No apology. No retraction. Damage done.
In just a few years Canada Goose has gone from 100 percent to 30 percent union.
It doesn’t need to be this way. We know that union factories are safer and more dignified because workers have a real voice on the job. We demand that Bain stop union busting and recognize the union in Winnipeg.
Show your support for Canada Goose factory workers in Winnipeg by signing the petition.
*This campaign is endorsed by United Students Against Sweatshops