Sobeys warehouse workers in Milton on...

Sobeys warehouse workers in Milton on strike

Posted in the Georgetown Forum

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North Bay, Canada

#1 Feb 11, 2013
Sobeys warehouse workers in Milton on strike
About 400 Sobeys warehouse workers in Milton are on strike after rejecting a nine-year contract offered by the grocery chain.
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By: Madhavi Acharya-Tom Yew Personal Finance writer, Published on Mon Feb 11 2013
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Republish About 400 Sobeys warehouse workers in Milton are on strike after rejecting a nine-year contract proposal offered by the grocery chain.

The strike began just after midnight Monday, and workers, who are members of Local 175 of the United Food & Commercial Workers, are picketing the Brock Road plant.

There are 480 employees at the Milton facility, said Sobeys spokesperson Sarah Stover.

The company “is not prepared to publicly disclose the details of our ongoing negotiations,” Stover said.

“While Sobeys remains hopeful that there will be a successful conclusion to ongoing negotiations, we have an obligation to ensure we continue to serve our customers regardless of the outcome of discussions,” the company said in a statement emailed to the Star.

“Through our contingency planning, we are well positioned to ensure the flow of goods to stores so we can continue to serve our customers with little or no disruption.”

The company’s final offer included annual wage increases, but the nine-year term of the proposed contract was a major sticking point, said Luc Lacelle, regional director for the United Food and Commercial Workers.

“It’s a long time to be locked into a contract,” Lacelle said.“The economy is volatile and we don’t know where we will be in the near future.”

Workers at the warehouse facility make $21.60 an hour, Lacelle said.

Union members are also concerned about the cost of group insurance and part-time employees working up to 40 hours per week without being reclassified as full-time, Lacelle added.

Sobeys has 112 corporate stores, 215 franchise stores, and three distribution centres in Ontario. They are located in Whitby, Milton, and Vaughan.

The grocery chain has a deal to supply groceries to discount retailer Target, which is opening stores in Canada this year.

Sobeys wasn’t “capable of giving us a guarantee that our facility would be up and operating for the next 9 years,” Lacelle said.“Locking ourselves in to a long term contract with no guarantee, that’s pretty scary for members.”

About 78 per cent of union members rejected the company’s final offer.

At the moment, the two sides are not talking, Lacelle said.

Sobeys is the second-largest grocer in Canada, with estimated sales of $16-billion in 2011.
Mike

North Bay, Canada

#2 Feb 11, 2013
sad

Toronto, Canada

#3 Feb 12, 2013

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