Union presence in the warehousing sector
The unionization rate in the overall “Transportation and warehousing” industry classification is very high, sitting at 39.4% in 2020, almost 7% higher than the service sector average.* However, the transportation portion of that classification is heavily unionized, and that number is in no way representative of the unionization rate for the warehouse sector. According to a December 2020 media report on the abysmal working conditions in Amazon distribution centres in the Greater Toronto Area, the union density for the warehouse sector is actually 12%. This means union density in warehouses is 3% lower than the rate for the overall private sector.**
Unifor represents almost 7,000 warehouse workers in Canada. Of that total membership: approximately:
- 57% of those members work in Ontario,
- 24% work in Central and Western Canada,
- 12% work in Quebec, and
- 7% work in Eastern Canada.
Unifor warehouse members work for both third-party logistics companies as well as warehouse operations for companies in other sectors, and major employers include:
- DHL Express
- Loomis Express
- Tracker Logistics Inc.
- Sysco Food Services
- Martin-Brower of Canada
- Loblaws Companies Ltd
- Metro Inc.
- Sobeys Inc.
- Atlantic Wholesaler Ltd.
- Ford Motor Company
- General Motors
- Groupe ATBM
- Penske Logistics
Other unions that represent warehouse workers in Canada include:
International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada (ILWU Canada)
- The ILWU represents 7,200 members across the province of BC, including warehouse workers, as well as 9000 members of affiliates in Western Canada
- Major warehouse employers include companies of the BC Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA)
United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW Canada)
- UFCW says it represents “thousands of logistics workers” in Canada, and in March 2021 a group of Amazon drivers in the GTA attempted unsuccessfully to join the union***
- Major warehouse employers include H&M, Aspect Logistics in Ontario (400 members), National Grocers Maple Grove Distribution Centre (675 members), The Beer Store in Ontario, Labatt, Pepsi-Co, and others
- Union structure includes the Teamsters Canada Warehouse Division
- In September 2021, Teamsters Local 362 filed for union certification for an Amazon distribution centre in Nisku, Alberta, a suburb of Edmonton.**** That location is thought to employ between 600 and 800 people.
- Soon after, Teamsters Canada announced it had active drives at nine Amazon locations across Canada, including in the GTA and locations in Milton, Cambridge and Kitchener, ON.
- Major warehouse employers include VersaCold in Vaughan, ON, Sysco Foods, and others.
* Statistics Canada. Table 14-10-0132-01 Union status by industry. (from https://doi.org/10.25318/1410013201-eng).
** Sara Mojtehedzadeh. “Amazon warehouse workers in Canada saw injury rates double. Then COVID hit. Inside a hidden safety crisis” Toronto Star. (December 10, 2020). (https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2020/12/10/amazon-warehouse-workers-saw-injury-rates-double-then-covid-hit-inside-a-hidden-safety-crisis.html?rf).