Grocery store beer sales should offer opportunity for good jobs


TORONTO, Dec. 16, 2015 /CNW/ - As beer sales roll-out in supermarkets across Ontario , Unifor demands stores offer opportunities to improve jobs and working conditions in the retail sector.

The new provincial framework allowing beer to be sold in grocery stores takes place amidst an ongoing conversation about the need for good jobs in Ontario, especially in the supermarket sector. "Workers in retail, including grocery stores, face significant challenges around minimum hours of work, notice of shifts and schedule changes, and they experience low wages, among others," said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. "With this new power to sell beer employers have a responsibility to address precarious working conditions and create good jobs for the project to flourish."

Unifor also expressed a number of questions about the impact that beer sales will have on retail workers. Along with raising concerns about health and safety issues, Keith Osborne, Unifor's Retail and Wholesale Industry Director said, "With the introduction of beer products and added responsibilities, including SmartServe Certification, alcohol handling, and checking ID, the union expects part-time jobs to be converted into full-time, and that fair compensation be awarded."

Unifor is one of the country's largest retail worker unions, with more than 20,000 members working in supermarkets, pharmacies, appliance stores, and other retail shops across Canada.

"Our members continue to raise the floor in retail, bargaining long-overdue improvements to working conditions and wages," said Dias. "The Ontario government and employers need to work with unions to find tangible solutions to balance the creation of good jobs, respect for workers' rights, and strengthen the economy."

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy, and Paperworkers unions merged.