History of IKEA Richmond Lockout

After 527 days the lockout of over 300 workers at IKEA in Richmond BC is over! Congratulations on standing tall Teamsters Local 213 Members!!!!


Many significant events, some international, have taken place to support the cause of the locked out Teamsters Local 213 members.

In November 2013, an international fact-finding commission from UNI Global Union and the International Transport Workers’ Federation came to Vancouver to meet with the union, interview IKEA workers, and hold a public hearing. It brought to light IKEA’s unfair labour practices and was well reported by the local news media.

The commission’s report states:
IKEA Richmond’s management has abandoned the stated values of the ‘IKEA family’ by adopting a radical anti-worker agenda that opposes unionization campaigns and encourages union decertification. The lockout of 350 employees since May 13, 2013 for rejecting a discriminatory wage system and subsequent worker intimidation is not compatible with the ideals and practices espoused in IKEA’s own global standards and it is also certainly out of keeping with the vast majority of labour negotiations, strikes, and lockouts in British Columbia.

The commission recommended ending the lockout and returning to the negotiating table in good faith and with no preconditions until a mutually acceptable collective agreement has been achieved. That did not happen.

In December, a delegation from Teamsters Local 213 went to Sweden to meet with union leaders and shed light on the problem “in the motherland,” said Business Representative Anita Dawson. “We got a good response.”

An international day of solidarity was declared on Dec. 17, 2013. Members from several local unions in B.C. gathered at the IKEA store for a rally.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union took part in a Dockers’ Day of Solidarity with rallies in 10 ports around the world. ILWU Local 502 (B.C.) members went to the picket line at the Richmond IKEA and rallied at Delta Port, Fraser Surrey Docks and their union hall. Rank-and-file members and casual workers raised $12,000 for the IKEA workers.

ILWU rallies were also held in Sweden, the Netherlands, Australia, Japan, Norway, Finland, Belgium, and Denmark.

Under the leadership of the International Transport Workers Federation, workers passed the hat. In total, $20,000 was collected and donated to the picketers.

Divorce with bedroom privileges
Disagreements around the language and monetary sections of the agreement could be resolved. However, the main obstacle is IKEA’s insistence that the workers who succumbed to the company’s invitation to cross the picket line to keep working must be allowed to work side by side with their former Teamster colleagues.

Without making any monetary sacrifices themselves, these non-union workers would accept the benefits of union membership and the outcomes of the negotiating committee’s hard work. “It’s like divorce with bedroom privileges,” said Dawson.

Crossing a picket line is a violation of a fundamental principle of the union movement. “It’s unacceptable,” she added. “They crossed the picket line in breach of our constitution and bylaws. The members feel betrayed by these people. They signed a petition saying they did not want these former members back in. The members are driving this.”

The union has pointed out repeatedly that the company could transfer these workers to the Coquitlam store if it chose to do so. “We would be back at the bargaining table if it hadn’t made this the issue,” said Dawson.

In April of this year, Walter Canta, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 213, went to Stockholm Sweden to seek further support from UNI global Union. You can expect to see action resulting from those meetings.

Regular updates
IKEA lockout (Facebook)
IKEA hurts families (Teamster member’s blog)

Teamster 213 reports
Canadian Federation of Students Support Letter
BC Labour Board rules IKEA commits unfair labour practices
Photo collage
IKEA Richmond lockout one year rally (video)
IKEA Richmond lockout one year later
Today in labour history – May 13, 2013
Solidarity barbecue photos
A visit to the Teamsters locked out by IKEA in Richmond (video)
A message from Robert Bouvier, president of Teamsters Canada (video)

International Commission of Inquiry
How IKEA is hurting families, UNI/ITF fact-finding commission’s report
ITF/UNI global commission of inquiry into IKEA’s practices

News media report

IKEA strike over after 17 months, but ‘won’t be like old times’ (Richmond Review, Oct. 22, 2014)
Ikea Deal Reached (Breakfast Television, Oct. 22, 2014)
Ikea and union strike a deal after 17-month dispute (The Province, Oct. 22, 2014)
IKEA Richmond strike has finally been resolved (Van City Buzz, Oct. 22, 2014)
Vince Ready imposes 10-year deal in bitter Ikea dispute (Vancouver Sun, Oct. 22, 2014)
Don’t Shop at IKEA (The Peak, Sept. 15, 2014)
 IKEA bargained in bad faith, says labour board (Richmond Review, July 30, 2014)
Labour Relations Board ruled company bargained in bad faith (Vancouver Sun, July 25, 2014)
Ikea rapped for offering locked-out B.C. employees incentives to cross picket (The Province, July 25, 2014)
LRB rules in favour of striking IKEA workers in Richmond (Global, July 25, 2014)
IKEA Richmond workers’ union wins case in latest 14 month long labour dispute issue (Vancity Buzz, July 25, 2014)
IKEA Richmond Violated Provincial Law With Lockout Bargains: Labour Board (Huffington Post BC, July 25, 2014)
IKEA rapped for unfair labour practices in year-long lockout (CBC, July 25, 2014)
#BoycottIKEA (Rank and File, June 23, 2014)
Locked out for a year, Richmond IKEA workers won’t back down (Tyee, May 13, 2014)
IKEA Labour dispute reaches one year mark (Breakfast Television)
Courageous Richmond IKEA workers face long odds (24 hours Vancouver, May 13, 2014)
IKEA workers enter astonishing second year on the picket line (Yahoo Canada News, May 12, 2014)
Picket line duty “sucks”, The Province, May 12, 2014
No end insight for IKEA labour dispute, Vancouver Sun, May 8, 2014
Picket line still surrounds IKEA one year later, Richmond Review, May 7, 2014
IKEA dispute enters year two, Richmond News, May 6, 2014
Local 213 Secretary Treasurer responds to Vancouver Sun article, May 24, 2014
Opinion: IKEA must not punish loyal workers, March 24, 2014
IKEA billionaires emerge in Kamprad family on Ikano stakes, Bloomberg Businessweek, March 5, 2014

While taking part in the 2014 IBT Women’s Conference, the Canadian delegation showed their solidarity with Ikea’s employees. They also took the opportunity to discuss the continuing lock-out at Ikea in Richmond (British Columbia) and to show their support to families affected by this labour dispute.
While taking part in the 2014 IBT Women’s Conference, the Canadian delegation showed their solidarity with Ikea’s employees. They also took the opportunity to discuss the continuing lock-out at Ikea in Richmond (British Columbia) and to show their support to families affected by this labour dispute.