[caption id="attachment_71679" align="aligncenter" width="620"] Superstore workers began their strike action Sunday morning at the entrance doors at the Calgary Tr. and 51 Ave. store and across Alberta, in Edmonton, October 6, 2013. Wages, benefits and reduced working hours are some of the issues they’re striking on. (ED KAISER-EDMONTON JOURNAL)
Photograph by: Ed Kaiser , Edmonton Journal
A tentative deal was struck between the union that represents thousands of Superstore workers and the company that owns the Canadian grocery chain on Monday.
The UFCW announced the deal on its Facebook page and says an agreement was struck at around 4 a.m.
ATTENTION SUPERSTORE & LIQUORSTORE WORKERS! PROUD AND ENTHUSIASTIC PICKET LINES RESULT IN TENTATIVE NEW COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT!!!
Around the clock negotiations between union officials and Loblaw bargaining team have been ongoing since last Thursday.
Sequestered in a Calgary hotel in a basement meeting room, your union negotiating committee has been unrelenting in pursuing a new deal for Alberta Superstore & Liquorstore employees.
That deal has been struck!
At around 4 a.m. today, an agreement was reached in principle between Loblaw and UFCW Local 401. The agreement offers hope to Superstore employees for their coming years of employment. The union negotiating committee is unanimously recommending the settlement and immediate arrangements will be made to give union members across the province a chance to vote on the deal.
Ratification votes will take place as early as this Tuesday across the province.
Picketing will continue and Superstore employees are asked to maintain picket lines. As details of the tentative agreement are finalised and a plan for a smooth return to the stores is considered, it is important that Loblaw continue to understand that we are committed to bargaining strong together until a new deal is finalised.
The new agreement will present employees with a number of significant improvements over and above the company’s last offer. We strongly believe that these improvements will bring new hope to employment at Superstores & Liquorstores.
It is crystal clear that the threat of a strike had some impact on Loblaw’s approach to negotiations. But the difference was made when employees walked off the job. Enthusiasm and solidarity of picketers finally got Galen Weston to understand the need for a greater balance in workplace relations. Customer support was overwhelming.
Union leaders will now be very busy making arrangements for special ratification meetings and votes. We will let you know as soon as we can regarding our plans.
Your bargaining committee
Original Story Below
Superstore Employees Still on Strike
About 8,500 unionized Superstore employees went on strike on Sunday, October 6th at 12:01 AM. All of the 28 Superstore locations remain open while Loblaw and Superstore workers try to make negotiations.
The two sides are far from coming to an agreement on several key issues that started the strike, including fair wages. Employees at Superstore have been trying to bargain since January 2013, but no agreements have been made. About 93 percent of the unionized workers voted in favour of a strike a few weeks ago.
Organizers complain that the starting hourly wage for some employees is $11.65, and it takes 4,500 hours to get up to the top wage of $20.90. Part-time employees get a maximum of 20 hours per week, so getting up to the top pay bracket could take six to eight years.
“Over the last several years hours have been cut drastically in some areas,” Christine McMeckan, a spokesperson for UFCW 401, said. “Superstore doesn’t deny this. The company is continually saying that they’re doing it to cut costs. What we’re saying is the cost is too high. Workers can’t afford to make ends meet anymore and food safety issues arise as a result.”
Union workers say Loblaw owner Galen Weston, is out of touch with employees and customer's needs, but Loblaw is hopeful that they can reach a settlement that will benefit everyone. Superstore employees have been facing high employee turnovers and their hours have been cut, but they still have to maintain quality and safety in the stores.
The unionized workers on strike are picketing in front of the stores, trying to stop customers from entering the building. Many customers returned left, while others passed the strikers and entered the stores. Some shoppers said they will continue to shop at Superstore because it has cheaper prices. The only other store that is cheaper is Walmart, and they treat their employees just as bad.