Superstore employees consider provincewide strike
By: Viola Pruss
| Posted: Friday, Sep 20, 2013 03:45 pm
Local Real Canadian Superstore employees may be out on the picket line in October should parent company Loblaw not consider a province-wide call for longer work hours.
The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 401 union put out a strike notice on Thursday evening, following a 97 per cent strike mandate by Superstore and Liquorstore employees in Edmonton and Calgary last week.
“We told the company now for a little while that they have an Oct. 6 deadline to work with (their employees) and if there is nothing reached by then we will be out,” said union spokesperson Christine McMeckan.
McMeckan said more than 75 per cent of Superstore employees are part-time workers who are struggling to plan their monthly budgets. The company has cut hours in recent years, she said, despite relying heavily on its part-time workers.
As a result, employees are cut off their benefit plans and worry about job security, she said. The union has also warned Loblaw that staffing issues can create problems with customer service and affect food safety, as workers don’t have the time to stock shelves and rotate products.
“When you ask people to do too much work in too little time mistakes are going to happen and things are going to get missed,” she said. “We want the employees to be able to have a job they can stay at and have some security.”
The local union represents about 8,500 Superstore employees across the province. So far, McMeckan said Loblaw has not addressed any of its employee concerns and strike votes are an attempt to get the company to the table.
Earlier this week, the union rejected an offer from Loblaw that proposed separate, lower wage scales for new employees.
McMeckan said employees will cast another vote about going off the job on Sept. 29 and 30. Unless a settlement is reached, workers will go on a province-wide strike just after midnight on Oct. 6.
Loblaw Companies Ltd. could not be reached for comment.