Superstore workers across the province hit the picket line
Ryan White, CTV Calgary
Published Sunday, October 6, 2013 11:18AM MDT
Last Updated Sunday, October 6, 2013 6:23PM MDT
As of 12:01 a.m. Sunday, 8,000 Superstore employees, from the retail giant's 28 Alberta locations, have walked off the job.
The job action follows ten months of contract negotiations with Loblaw, the parent company of the Real Canadian Superstore, which has resulted in the tabling of an offer which, according to the Calgary & District Labour Council, is a ridiculous proposal.
Loblaw’s offer includes the rejection of a respect and dignity clause.
86 per cent of Superstore employees are part-time and many have had their work hours reduced.
“These people have had their hours cut so drastically that they don’t have enough time to the job that they’re supposed to do,” said Ricardo De Menezes, a union representative of UFCW local 401. “They can’t make a decent living on the wage that they’re paid and the hours that they get.”
“The most anyone can ever get is between 24 and 28 hours a week, and they have to be fully available to the company to get that. Fully available means that they’re available any time, the company can schedule them at any time of the day during the week.”
De Menezes adds the fluid schedule inhibits workers from securing a second job to make ends meet.
Negotiations between UFCW Canada local 401 and Loblaw continue.
Julija Hunter, the V.P. of Public Relations with the Loblaw Companies, issued the following statement to CTV about the current state of negotiations.
“We feel that we are making progress at the bargaining table and we continue to negotiate in good faith. We are hopeful of reaching a settlement in the near future that reflects a sustainable business model needed to support our colleagues and serve our customers.”
"Like most businesses, we have plans that we put into place for situations that may impact our valued customers. Customers are at the heart of all the decisions we make, so we want our customers to know that Alberta Real Canadian Superstore locations will be open daily from 8 am to 10 pm and all Real Canadian Liquorstore locations will be open daily from 10 am to 8 pm. We regret any concern that this situation has caused our customers and want to assure everyone that our colleagues are committed to excellent customer service during this time. And, we respect the Union’s right to demonstrate, and we hope that they are respectful and peaceful in their approach.”
Hunter adds tentative agreements between Loblaw and UFCW local 832 in Manitoba and UFCW local 1400 in Sakatchewan have been reached in the past two weeks.
Superstore locations in Alberta will remain open throughout the strike with reduced hours and a reduction in service in several departments. Managers are attempting to fill the roles left vacated by the striking employees.