Forty-seven United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) members at automotive leather supplier Dominion Tanners in Winnipeg are out of work after the company declared bankruptcy on July 24, according to a statement on the union's website.

The statement said that 47 Local 832 [branch] members were notified that Dominion Tanners would cease operations at their Winnipeg plant effective immediately and that the workers' services would no longer be required.

The union said the plant workers were all on vacation when word of the closure was received - the company usually shuts down for a two-week period in July for plant cleaning and maintenance.

"The closure is a turbulent end for the company that had been battling with severe cash-flow issues, apparently brought on by a shrinking client base," the union statement said.

The UCFW said Dominion Tanners closed its tanning operations on May 15, a move that resulted in the layoff of some 100 union workers but the union and the company were both hopeful the company would rebound through a plan to produce finished leathers for the automotive industry.

The union added that, on July 23, the Toronto Stock Exchange halted trading for shares of Tanbridge Corporation, Dominion Tanner's parent company, after four of six company directors resigned. The next day, Dominion Tanners announced the company had gone into bankruptcy.

The union expects the company will meet their obligations on vacation and severance pay as well as any claims outstanding under the benefit programme. Members' pensions are protected as they are administered outside the company, the union statement noted.

Dominion Tanners' website is still operating and shows that the company's head office is also in Winnipeg. The manufacturing operation there is the company's largest facility - a chrome tannery, manufacturing finished leathers, servicing the automotive market, shoe and boot market and the garment and upholstery markets.

There is also an associated company in Pennsylvania, USA, and sales operations in Toronto and Winnipeg.