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Loblaw rakes in first-quarter profits while denying workers pandemic pay

Fair Pay Forever. Retail workers need a raise.
May 5, 2021 - 12:00 AM

May 05, 2021

TORONTO - Loblaw Companies Ltd. has raked in a 30% increase in first-quarter profits while the company continues to deny grocery workers pandemic pay.

“Profits are rising faster than overpriced bread, but Loblaw refuses to fairly compensate frontline workers who put their health at risk to do their jobs everyday,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “Increased pandemic profits have been very good to the corporate bottom line and to shareholder payouts, yet Galen Weston has the nerve to begrudge grocery workers $2 an hour pandemic pay.”

Today Loblaw reported a $313 million Q1 profit, up from $240 million a year ago, with a total revenue of $11.87 billion, up from $11.80 billion last year. Food retail same-stores sales growth held steady in comparison to the stockpiling shopping that occurred in 2020 near the end of the same quarter.

The profit announcement comes just days after the company informed workers of a

one-time ‘appreciation bonus’, ranging as low as $25 and maxing out at $175 for full-time employees. This as Galen G. Weston returns to the role of Chairman and President of Loblaw Companies Ltd. with the departure of President Sarah Davis, who was paid $6.4 million in total compensation in 2020.

Of the three largest grocery chains only Empire Company Ltd. has reinstated pandemic pay, while Metro has also doled out store gift cards to its workers. 

Unifor represents approximately 5,400 Loblaw workers at supermarkets, pharmacies, warehouses and bakeries (under Weston Foods) in Ontario, Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.  

The union continues to demand provincial governments expedite the vaccination of all essential workers, including grocery store and warehouse, to reduce exposure to COVID-19 for workers, their families and their communities.

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector and represents 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

For media inquiries or to arrange a Skype, Zoom or Facetime interview please contact Unifor Communications Representative Kathleen O’Keefe at kathleen.okeefe@unifor.org or 416-896-3303 (cell).