KINCARDINE, ON, Oct. 26, 2016 /CNW/ - More than 100 Sobeys workers in Kincardine voted last night to join Unifor, Canada's largest union in the private sector.
Workers at the supermarket, located about two hours northeast of Toronto, are one of only two groups of unionized store employees under the Sobeys banner in the province of Ontario. The new bargaining unit includes full-time and part-time workers, as well as students.
"This is an incredible achievement for Sobeys workers in Kincardine, and for all retail workers across the province facing precarious work conditions," said Unifor Assistant to the National Secretary-Treasurer, Jenny Ahn. "These workers understand that with a national union like Unifor to represent them in bargaining, they are best placed to establish fairness and respect in the workplace."
The Sobeys supermarket chain, owned by Nova-Scotia based Empire Company Limited, is Canada's second largest grocery retailer, generating more than $24 billion in food sales last year. Unlike its primary competitors (Metro and Loblaws), the Sobeys supermarket chain is largely non-unionized – particularly in Ontario.
Since its formation in 2013, Unifor has negotiated ground-breaking pay models for part-time workers and language that stabilizes erratic work schedules for retail workers in the province.
"Every group of workers will have their own unique set of challenges, and that's no different at Sobeys," said Unifor Retail and Wholesale Industry Director, Keith Osborne. "But there are important sectoral issues that all retail workers face, and Unifor is looking forward to bringing innovative ideas to the bargaining table as we prepare to negotiate the first contract."
Unifor represents more than 310,000 workers, including 20,000 retail workers across Canada. Unifor currently represents workers at the Sobeys' distribution centre in Whitby, Frescho workers in London (a sister chain to Sobeys), as well as Sobeys' stores in Port Hawkesbury and Sydney, Nova Scotia. Unifor was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.
For further information: please contact Unifor Communications Director, Denise Hammond at [email protected] (cell) (416) 707-5794.