Canadian Manufacturing

Ontario booze maker, union strike new labour deal months early

Hiram Walker, 132 CAW-represented employees agree on new deal at Windsor, Ont., distillery



WINDSOR, Ont.—Employees at a decades-old southwestern Ontario distillery have agreed on a new three-year months before the current collective agreement was set to expire, the company announced.

Hiram Walker & Sons Ltd. said the new agreement has been ratified with the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union Local 2027, which represents its 132 production and skilled trades workers at its Windsor, Ont., distillery.

“We are very pleased to have reached this important agreement with the CAW,” president and CEO Patrick O’Driscoll said in a statement. “It provides a good platform on which we can build a healthy and competitive manufacturing business in Windsor.”

The new agreement was reached five months before it was due to expire, according to the company, with approximately 75 per cent of the union membership voting in favour of the new deal.

According to Hiram Walker, the new deal does not include any wage increases or cost of living adjustments, but instead includes lump sum payments of $4,450 for production workers and $5,200 for trades workers over the life of the contract.

The deal also includes an early signing bonus of $1,250, and undisclosed improvements to employee health benefits and vacation schedules.

The company said the deal also provides 30 voluntary retirement incentive packages over the life of the contract, and a new hire wage scale and pension contirbutions.

“After a tough round of bargaining, I am happy we have bargained a fair agreement with the company that provides needed improvements for our members,” CAW local president Steve Taylor said.

The Windsor, Ont., facility is home to a number of brands, including Polar Ice vodka, Lamb’s rum, Malibu liqueurs and Wiser’s Canadian whiskies.

Hiram Walker bottles over 4.5 million cases of spirits and distills 48 million litres of absolute alcohol each year.

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