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Union Urges American Owner to Keep MEC Jobs in Brampton

BRAMPTON, Ont. – The United Steelworkers union (USW) is calling on the new American owner of iconic Canadian retailer MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op) to do the right thing and reconsider its plan to eliminate dozens of jobs in Brampton.

About 60 unionized employees and an unspecified number of other jobs at MEC’s Brampton distribution centre have been put on the chopping block by U.S.-based Kingswood Capital Management, the private investment firm that acquired MEC after it sought protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act last year.

Kingswood has informed the USW that it will close the Brampton facility and eliminate those jobs by the end of May. Kingswood apparently plans to outsource the distribution and e-commerce operation to a non-union facility that will be located elsewhere, the union says.

“When Kingswood’s acquisition of MEC was announced, the co-operative’s employees and its five million members across Canada were told the new American owner would save jobs, was committed to ‘honouring the MEC ethos’ and had ‘tremendous respect for those values’ that were built over 50 years,” said Marty Warren, USW Director for Ontario and Atlantic Canada.

“MEC workers and their families in Brampton believe the new owner should make good on those commitments. MEC should invest in its Brampton employees and in its distribution and e-commerce operations in the community,” Warren said.

“MEC’s Brampton facility was opened less than five years ago to serve as its Eastern Canada distribution centre. The facility is operated by hard-working, skilled employees and is located in a prime area next to major cross-Canada highway and rail networks,” Warren added. Most of the union members whose jobs are at risk have worked at the distribution centre since it opened, he said.

Kingswood disclosed its intention to close the Brampton facility as the union and its members were preparing for pending negotiations on a new collective agreement, Warren noted. The existing collective agreement expires June 30 of this year.

“The timing and the callousness of dropping this bombshell on loyal employees – that they are about to lose their jobs in the middle of a pandemic – is very disconcerting, to say the least,” Warren said.

“We’re calling on the new MEC owners to do the right thing by negotiating a new agreement with their workers and investing in the community,” he said.

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For further information:

Marty Warren, USW Director for Ontario and Atlantic Canada, 416-243-8792
Sean Logan, USW Area Co-ordinator, Peel-Halt="image"on/Georgian Bay, 905-629-4991 ext. 225, slogan@usw.ca
Shannon Devine, USW Communications, 416-894-7118 (cell), sdevine@usw.ca

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Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Shannon Devine
sdevine@usw.ca
416-544-5946 or
416-894-7118

Communications Department:
Nicole Desnoyers
ndesnoyers@usw.ca
416-544-5991 

Communications Department - Québec
Clairandrée Cauchy
ccauchy@metallos.ca
514-774-4001 

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United Steelworkers
234 Eglinton Ave. E., 8th Floor
Toronto, ON M4P 1K7