No to Amazon Quebec Alcohol

Société des Alcools du Québec (SAQ) employees are denouncing the “Amazon-like” vision of the state institution, which plans to deploy a new automated ordering system at its distribution center in Montreal.

“We don’t want to work for Amazon Quebec alcohol! Lisa Courtemanche, president of the SAQ Office and Store Employees Association (SEMB-SAQ-CSN) said in a press release.

Employees disapprove of Amazon's vision for SAQ

Jean-Michel Genoa Gagnon’s photo

On May 5, employees of the SAQ.com platform learned that they would be moving to the main warehouse of the Montreal Distribution Center and that they would change their union accreditation.

The union believes that this restructuring, the first repercussions of which will appear from September, may eventually lead to the loss of “good jobs in Quebec”.

“There is no job security for all 53 permanent employees and even fewer than 150 part-time employees. Unacceptable!” Ms. Courtemanche lamented.

According to our information, part-time employees may be hit the hardest. Many of them can be assigned to other tasks, especially in stores.

The proposal was rejected

The union says it rejected SAQ’s initial proposal, which “would have only allowed a portion of 200 workers to be moved to the new facilities”.

The president is proposing instead a “decentralization of operations” approach, which would avoid bringing in bottles from Montreal that are already available in the regions. This would reduce the environmental impacts on freight transportation.

Employees disapprove of Amazon's vision for SAQ

Photo by Jean-Michel Genoa Gagnon

“We want to be consulted: we have solutions that will allow for greater human development,” said Ms. Cortemanche.

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No job losses

Last year, as part of its 2021-2023 modernization plan, SAQ announced a $45.8 million investment, the largest in two decades, to expand and modernize its facilities in the capital.

This project should eventually make it possible to increase the product offer online to 20,000 and allow delivery within one day. On Friday, there were 2,685 kinds of wine and spirits SAQ.com.

The state-owned company asserts that due to the labor shortage, it will need all affected employees to prepare orders and serve customers in its branches.

“Our unit’s picking activities will be standardized without job losses,” company spokesperson Clemence Beaulieu-Gendron responded.

“Our online ordering site is fully operational and does not allow us to respond to the growth in online sales,” she added.

SEMB-SAQ-CSN has 5,500 members in Quebec.

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