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Unifor Metro grocery store workers make huge gains at the bargaining table

TORONTO, July 17, 2015 /CNW/ - Members of Unifor Local 414 working at 28 Metro grocery stores across the GTA have voted in favour of a new industry-leading collective agreement for supermarket workers. The deal includes wage increases across the board, an innovative new wage scale for part-time workers, improvements to scheduling practices, the creation of new full-time positions and other gains.

"I am incredibly proud to see Unifor members leading the charge in improving the quality of retail jobs here in Ontario," said Christine Connor, President of Unifor Local 414. "We went into this set of negotiations determined to get a better deal for metro grocery workers, and we have achieved just that."

With this new agreement, 90 per cent of part-time members will see an immediate wage increase, some as high as 21 per cent. Only ten per cent of workers in these stores currently make $15 an hour or more. By 2016, under this new agreement, 40 per cent will make $15 or more.

"It's shocking how much the quality of retail jobs has declined over the past few decades. We went in to this round of bargaining ready to put an end to that decline," said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. "This agreement is a perfect example of how unions can play a role in improving the lives of precarious low wage workers."

Knowing that lack of control over their schedules is a major concern for all retail workers, this agreement makes a number of improvements to scheduling practices. For the first time in this contract, part-time workers will also be entitled to a guaranteed minimum of hours per week after one year of service.

"By increasing notice of schedules to almost a week as well as ensuring part-time workers don't have to wait 5 years before getting any assurances about the hours they will work, we've achieved an agreement that will make a big difference in the lives of our members and their families," said Unifor National Representative Keith Osborne.

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 305,000 workers, more than 20,000 members of whom work in supermarkets, pharmacies, appliance stores and other retail shops across Canada. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged.