Toronto Holt Renfrew employees turn down union

Union alleges management interfered with certification process

An effort to unionize Holt Renfrew employees at the Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto has been unsuccessful after workers voted against joining the United Food and Commercial Workers of Canada (UFCW) on June 28.

The failed vote is the result of an "aggressive campaign to deny workers the right to come together and have a say in their compensation and working conditions," the UFCW said in a press release.

"Holt Renfrew employees describe an employer campaign of coercion and intimidation to thwart their unionization attempt," the union said in a statement.

Approximately 190 employees were eligible to vote, with 58 voting to unionize and 99 voting against, a union official told The Toronto Star.

The UFCW will be reviewing whether any violations were made against the Ontario’s Labour Relations Act. If there were, the UFCW will consider legal action, it says.

The luxury clothing store is pleased with the outcome of the vote, says Holt Renfrew’s senior vice-president, Alix Box.

"The decisive vote outcome clearly reflects the wishes of our Yorkdale team,” Box said in a statement. “We are not surprised at the union response, it is not unusual following an unsuccessful union organizing effort."

Box also denied allegations of unfair labour practices.

"We are comfortable that the union allegations are without merit, and that we have conducted ourselves in an appropriate manner and entirely within the law," she said.

Had employees certified the Yorkdale store, it would have been the only unionized Holt Renfrew location in Canada.

The UFCW is Canada’s largest private sector union, with more than 250,000 members.

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