Ikea’s Union-Busting Lockout in Richmond, BC Reaches Two Months

Is Walmart Ikea's labour relations mentor?
Is Walmart Ikea’s labour relations mentor?

Ikea, that family-friendly darling of home decor and Swedish innocence is trying to break its union, Teamsters Local 213.

They have locked out their Richmond, BC workers for two months now, while deciding to bargain in reverse: Start with a pathetic offer, then as time goes by, if locked out workers don’t come back, the concessions and contract stripping INCREASE!

By the way, Ikea’s 2011 profit was $3.85 billion. Profit, not revenue. Again, not enough money for the family-owned company! Its founder is worth $52 billion.

Tia reviewed Ikea’s anti-social shenanigans when the lockout hit Day 17. Her piece detailed some of the issues and helped us understand what we can do to help the workers while Ikea tries to smash their union here, before likely taking on their only other unionized store in Canada, in Montreal. This lockout is also an attempt to undermine other union organizing drives, despite the 70% unionization rate of Ikea workers in Sweden.

One thing we can do is to boycott every Ikea in the world, particularly the ones in Richmond and Coquitlam. We can also Occupy Ikea at a rally on July 20 at 11am. Here’s a poster for the rally.

And here are a few other things we should keep in mind.

  1. The BC minimum wage is $10.25/hour, but less if you get tips on the job, minimum wage is $9/hour. This increase in 2012 came after the minimum wage was frozen at $8 for a decade under the business-friendly government.
  2. The living wage in Vancouver is, however, $19.62.
  3. In Washington, DC, the city council passed a living wage by-law [see below] DESPITE Walmart [Ikea’s labour relations mentor] threatening to cancel 3 stores planned for the area.

Should the bill be signed by Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) and pass a congressional review period, retailers with corporate sales of $1 billion or more and operating in spaces 75,000 square feet or larger would be required to pay employees no less than $12.50 an hour. The city’s minimum wage is $8.25, a dollar higher than the federal minimum wage.

via D.C. Council approves ‘living wage’ bill over Wal-Mart ultimatum – The Washington Post.

If Washington, DC can face down Walmart threats to support a living wage, we should be proud of them and stand up for worker solidarity internationally.

And while we’re figuring out how to fight the repression of the working class, check out this Ikea management training video:

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Stephen Elliott-Buckley

Post-partisan eco-socialist. at Politics, Re-Spun
Stephen Elliott-Buckley is a husband, father, professor, speaker, consultant, former suburban Vancouver high school English and Social Studies teacher who changed careers because the BC Liberal Party has been working hard to ruin public education. He has various English and Political Science degrees and has been writing political, social and economic editorials since November 2002. Stephen is in Twitter, Miro and iTunes, and the email thing, and at his website, dgiVista.org.

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One thought on “Ikea’s Union-Busting Lockout in Richmond, BC Reaches Two Months”

  1. I am from vancouver and i supports the workers at Ikea in Richmond.These workers deserve the support of all progressive workers and unions.From what i can see the working conditions are terrible.Multi-Tire wage system,benefit reductions and contract work out schemes.Workers are not going to go along with these slave like conditions.
    All workers need a union so that they won’t be reduced to slaves by the employers.Labour and capital got nothing in common.That has been proved hundreds of times.Workers always had to fight for their rights and we needs to be united against the gov. and the employers.

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