More than 500 Calgary Loblaws workers served layoff notice amid possible lockout: Union

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The union represents over 500 workers. Loblaw Distribution Center in Calgary said its members received layoff notices on Monday.

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In a press release sent by Local Union 987 of the Alberta Teamsters (Teamsters 987), more than 527 of the center’s 534 members received notices that come into effect this week.

According to Teamsters 987 spokesman John Taylor, some junior employees have already been laid off.

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Members negotiate a salary increase as part of their collective agreement. The press release said its members “are earning less than Calgary’s acceptable living wage of $22.40, but they too are now facing layoffs just before the holiday season.”

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The union has been in talks with Loblaws since the current deal expired on June 6. Members of Teamsters 987 rejected the employer’s proposal on November 3, as well as the same proposal on November 15 in a vote supervised by the labor board.

“These members are dedicated to helping Loblaw’s products move through its many stores in Western Canada,” said Mr. Taylor.

“As they negotiate for higher wages and a better quality of life, they face unnecessary layoffs as Loblaw’s profits continue to grow. We believe spending time with family is a fundamental right that our members deserve.

“For the money they offered, I’m not going to sit here and say it wasn’t – it was a fantastic financial offer for a long time from the most successful grocery store in the world. country. But whatever the rejection, the biggest reason was the standard of living.

Discussions of a possible lockdown will also affect grocery deliveries and supplies to stores.

Cast specialist Sylvain Charlebois said: “Obviously that will complicate things… It will slow things down.”

He believes Loblaws will find a way to fill stores, and while customers may see space here or there, we shouldn’t expect anything “dramatic.”

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“My impression is that (Loblaw) is already talking to transportation companies, carriers to bypass the center and so instead of sorting out the center, they will sort out at the store level.

“Access is probably the biggest concern I would have – not necessarily prices, because grocers are very careful right now not to be seen as ‘scammers’, because everyone is looking at prices right now “Charlebois said.

Simon Black, associate professor of labor studies at Brock University, says wage increases are important for workers in times of high inflation, but working conditions such as hours, holidays and breaks are also taken into account in the negotiation.

With the labor market still tight, Black says, union workers are trying to seize a moment when they can make real gains in bargaining.

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So far in 2022, tensions have risen in Canadian labor negotiations, with the average length of work stoppages more than doubling over the past year.

Granthshala News has reached out to Loblaws for comment, but has yet to receive a response.

– Tomasia DaSilva, with files from Granthshala News

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