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Dozens of Workers at a West Island Bakery Just Unionized

But unions in the restaurant world remain relatively uncommon in Montreal

A Première Moisson location in Montreal

Around 180 workers at Montreal bakery chain Première Moisson have voted to unionize, according to reports from the Canadian Press (via the Montreal Gazette).

Workers at a Baie d’Urfé production facility for the chain — which has 25 locations, mostly around Montreal — voted to join a local chapter of the United Food and Commercial Workers union, an affiliate of major Quebec labour federation FTQ.

It seems that Première Moisson bosses attempted to block union efforts: After workers signed a petition to unionize, the company contested that petition (normally, a majority of workers signing such a petition would allow for unionization). That meant a formal vote was held, where a majority of workers elected to form a union.

The Canadian Press notes that workers’ concerns included issues surrounding breaks and rotating shift schedules, as well as the hot working environment of the industrial-scale bakery.

The unionization only covers workers at this particular West Island facility for Première Moisson, and not those who work in its retail bakeries around the city and beyond. Generally speaking, workers in Montreal’s hospitality-adjacent sectors are mostly not members of a union, although it’s more common in larger, factory-like setting such as the bakery involved here.

However, it has become slightly more common in recent years: workers at vegan restaurant Aux Vivres organized and went on strike in 2017 (workers at Aux Vivres’ separate commercial production facility also made moves towards unionization at a later date), while staff at an NDG location of chocolate chain Juliette & Chocolat also unionized in 2019. In 2018, a Quebec labour group also began encouraging fast food workers in the province to unionize.