July 24, 2020
ST. JOHN’S – Unifor members at Dominion grocery stores across Newfoundland have delivered an overwhelming 94% strike mandate, after negotiations with Loblaw Companies Limited have failed to produce a new collective agreement.
“These frontline workers have stepped up to serve their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic but Dominion continues to deny them full-time jobs and fair pay,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias.
The union has set a strike deadline a week from today at 12:01 a.m. Friday July 31, 2020.
“Last year Dominion cut 60 full-time positions at stores in Newfoundland while its parent company Loblaw raked in more than $1 billion in net profits,” said Carolyn Wrice, President of Unifor Local 597. “Now Loblaw has stripped pandemic pay from these essential workers despite the ongoing risk of COVID-19 while they refuse to offer a fair wage increase during contract negotiations.”
Yesterday, Loblaw announced $162 million in second quarter net profits, bringing total 2020 profits to nearly half a billion dollars and likely on pace to break the $1 billion profit mark by year’s end.
“Sadly, the company used its quarterly results as an opportunity to blame the $2 pandemic pay and COVID-19 protective equipment for frontline workers as an excuse for a dip in the corporation’s overall net profit,” said Dias. “It speaks to the sheer greed of Loblaw management that they begrudge a meager increase for workers that make less than $15 an hour for the most part despite the fact that sales at its grocery stores increased a whopping 10% over last year.”
“We want to thank the public for their unwavering support during the pandemic and we ask them to stand by us as we seek secure jobs, decent wages and better working conditions at Dominion stores across Newfoundland,” said Wrice. “There is still an opportunity for Loblaw to do the right thing and come to the table with a decent offer that shows these workers the respect that they deserve.”
Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector and represents 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.