The union representing Alberta Real Canadian Superstore workers says 97 percent of employees have voted in favor of a strike, according to a press release issued on September 24.
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Scott Payne, labor relations officer for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 401, said Wednesday that employees voted in favor of the strike because they are frustrated with the Superstore’s latest offer and feel the store does not value their work and sacrifices. .
“Supermarket workers couldn’t afford to work from home during the pandemic,” he said on behalf of UFCW 401 President Thomas Hesse.
“They were deemed essential and rose to the occasion, going to work every day to bring food to Albertans’ tables when they needed it most.”
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Of the 40 Superstores in Alberta, more than 30 had outbreaks, Payne said, noting that some workers died due to exposure to COVID-19.
“These workers were scared every time they entered their stores. They were on the front line, dealing with the public during the pandemic, ”he said.
“They had to fight for minimal health and safety precautions, deal with overwhelmed and angry customers who took out their own anxieties around the pandemic.”
He said the Superstore launched the hero pay but “got it back” even as the network profited. Superstore must show employees that they matter, he said.
“There is no silver bullet here in terms of answers. There are a wide variety of issues that are causing the frustration expressed by 97 percent of the Superstore union members’ strike votes last week, from wages to benefits to scheduling and beyond, “he said.
“But if there’s one unifying theme to that anger and frustration, it’s feeling like they just don’t matter.”
The union emphasized unity and solidarity, saying that if the strike occurs, “your union will ask you and your family not to shop at Superstore, or at any of the Loblaws-owned businesses such as No Frills, T&T Supermarket or Shoppers Drug. Tuesday “
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The union said that a strike vote is valid for 120 days, adding that a union “is only obliged to notify the company 72 hours in advance of the strike action.”
“Ironically, the point of voting to strike is to try to avoid a strike,” said UFCW 401 Secretary and Treasurer Richelle Stewart.
“A strike vote is a tool to tell the company that unless they negotiate fairly, employees can take their jobs.”
Hesse said they will return to the negotiating table next week.
Loblaws, owner of Superstore, said: “We do not comment during the negotiation, however this is usually a normal part of the process.”
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