metro inc cries foul over unifor stalemate, strike drags on
As the strike drags on for nearly four weeks, Metro Inc has filed an unfair labor practice complaint against Unifor, the union representing over 3,000 workers, alleging it isn’t bargaining in good faith. Unifor reiterated that Metro needs to come to the table with a “serious goddam offer” because the strike isn’t ending anytime soon.
But Marie Claude Bacon, a spokeswoman for Metro, said the union refused to return to the bargaining table for the purpose of allowing the company to present an offer to resolve the current labor conflict, despite repeated invitations on Metro’s part. The grocer said the strike is preventing deliveries of fresh products to Metro and Food Basics stores across the province.
It has blocked deliveries of fresh products to all Metro Stores, in the Toronto area, including Food Basics across the province. Picket lines have blocked trucks from getting in and out of two major distribution centres on August 23. Metro says the union peaked up the strike because workers at the two warehouses aren’t involved in the strike.
Lana Payne, Unifor national president, said the union is disappointed that Metro has not come back to the bargaining table with a wage offer that ensures its frontline grocery workers can afford food, rent, and to support their families. “If there is one group of workers who deserve respect, decent pay and decent work, it is grocery store workers in this country.”
Workers have stepped up their efforts over the past week against Metro beyond the company’s 27 stores. Payne said the union has increased picketing at a number of other stores not represented by Unifor. Workers with Unifor Local 414 rejected a tentative agreement on July 29 that negotiators say would have delivered the highest wage increases in decades. It included an increase of $3.75 per hour, for full-time, and senior part-time workers with $1.05 in the first year, and 90 cents in the following three years.
Part-time workers would have received $2.65 an hour over the life of the deal, including paid sick leave for part-timers. Metro was also offering to increase benefits and pensions, and extend the work week to 40 hours. However, Unifor members want a higher raise in the first financial year of the deal.