May 22nd, 2024

Unifor workers ratify new agreement with Dominion supermarkets in Newfoundland

By The Canadian Press on April 29, 2024.

Chairman of Loblaw Co. Ltd. Galen Weston Jr. answers a question during their annual general meeting in Toronto on Thursday May 2, 2013. Unifor says its members working at 11 Dominion grocery stores across the island of Newfoundland have ratified a new collective agreement. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Unifor says its members working at 11 Dominion grocery stores across Newfoundland have ratified a new collective agreement.

The union announced in a news release late Monday that members voted 88 per cent in favour of the deal, which it says will boost wages $4.50 per hour for full-time workers and $3.20 per hour for part-time workers by the end of the five-year agreement.

It says that for a full-time clerk at the end rate of pay, the wage increases will see more than $35,000 in additional income over the life of the agreement.

Unifor represents roughly 1,600 workers at 11 Dominion stores across the island of Newfoundland, which are owned by Loblaw Cos. Ltd.

The news release says the deal follows a pattern the union set last summer when it secured an agreement for workers at Metro supermarkets in Ontario, followed by another for workers at 17 No Frills supermarkets that are also in Ontario.

Unifor says other highlights of the Dominion agreement include signing bonuses, a reduction in the number of hours needed for part-time workers to maintain eligibility for health benefits, and a commitment from the employer to create and post 22 new full-time positions within the next year.

“Unifor’s strategic and sector-wide bargaining strategy for supermarket workers has delivered the largest wage gains Dominion workers have ever seen,” Unifor national president Lana Payne said in the news release.

“My congratulations to the bargaining committee and the union’s amazing grocery workers in every province for standing together in this fight for fairness.”

The agreement expires October 28, 2028. The workers had been without an agreement since their last one expired Oct. 28, 2023.

More than 3,700 Metro workers in the Greater Toronto Area walked off the job last summer after rejecting their first tentative deal. They accepted an agreement with significant wage gains more than a month later that the union called historic.

Unifor had made it clear at the time that it intended to repeat those gains for other grocery workers it represents.

In 2020, the Dominion workers went on strike for 12 weeks, not long after their pandemic “hero pay” was taken away.

“We’re proud to make such a solid step forward for the people who prepare, stock and sell the food we all need,” Unifor Local 597 president Carolyn Wrice said in the union’s release about the Dominion deal.

“It warms my heart to know the difference these wage increases will have for Dominion workers, and I’m honoured to have worked beside the team of fine folks on the bargaining committee who never wavered through these negotiations.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 29, 2024.

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