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Unifor calls Loblaw ‘appreciation bonus’ an insult to frontline workers

Fair Pay Forever. Retail workers need a raise.
April 30, 2021 - 12:00 AM

April 30, 2021

Toronto - The announcement of a chump change employee ‘appreciation bonus’ by Loblaw Companies Limited is an insult to workers says Unifor, especially given its departing President took home more than $6 million dollars last year.

“The unmitigated greed of Canada’s largest grocery retailer knows no limits,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “This paltry payment to frontline grocery workers, who are keeping us fed throughout this pandemic, is nothing short of a disgrace.”

In response to increased pressure to reinstate the two dollar an hour pandemic pay that the company stripped from workers in June of 2020, Loblaw Companies Limited has instead opted to mete out a one-time payment ranging from as low as $25 to a maximum of $175 for full-time workers. Loblaw has also promised some ‘company-store’ employee discount events.

“Loblaw seems determined to keep workers in its bread line rather than pay them a living wage, all while company executives are living in luxury,” said Dias. “It’s time Galen Weston was held accountable for his contemptable treatment of workers.”

In her final weekly email to employees, outgoing Loblaw President Sarah Davis wrote, “We’re all facing real consequence of this third wave.” Davis, who is exiting the company on May 6, was paid $6.4 million in total compensation in 2020 while Executive Chairman and Director Galen Weston made $3.55 million.

The company will extend three hours of paid time for vaccination to employees outside of areas where it is legislated, as called for by Unifor.  Of the three largest grocery chains only Empire Company Ltd. has reinstated pandemic pay, while Metro has doled out store gift cards to its workers. 

Unifor 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).