NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh supports striking Unifor Metro workers in St. John’s appearance

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NDP Leader and Unifor leaders stand in front of a Dominion grocery store

Atlantic Regional Director Jennifer Murray joined Local 597 President Carolyn Wrice and Unifor members in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador to appear in a media briefing alongside NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh to talk about the affordability crisis.

“Today, we are standing in front of a Dominion store in St. John’s. The issues here are the same issues faced by grocery workers across the Atlantic and the rest of the country. These workers are struggling to afford life’s basics like housing and even the food they help sell,” said Murray. “Dominion workers were the first to sound the alarm back in 2020 and the fact that we are still having this fight with Canada’s Big Three Grocers is utterly shameful.”

With 3,700 Unifor members at Metro stores in the Greater Toronto Area on strike for better wages, and grocery prices skyrocketing, more Canadians are voicing frustration and taking action as grocery barons report record-breaking profits.

“We know that Dominion/Loblaws, Metro and Sobeys, these large corporate grocery stores have made record profits, making more money than they’ve ever made before,” said Singh to reporters. “Just in the last year alone, combined profits of these Big Three Grocers was over $3 billion.”

Grocery jobs were once good, family supporting jobs. Now, jobs have become more precarious and have deteriorated in quality.

“Even if these folks were getting full-time hours, the average annual salary is not enough to get by,” said Murray. “And the vast majority of grocery workers, 70% or more, are part-timers with no access to full-time jobs or benefits, making life that much more difficult for them.”

Unifor gathered union leaders and grocery store members in Toronto earlier this year to prepare for bargaining with the three grocery giants.

“Unifor alone has 11,000 grocery workers with current or upcoming contract negotiations right now,” said Murray. “Metro workers are just the first to negotiate, and their level of frustration with their wages and working conditions is going to be seen at every other table. Grocery workers are tired of watching CEO’s get richer while they struggle to afford food, gas, and rent. They’re exhausted and fed-up. And I’m with them, 100 percent.”

Unifor members work under many store banners owned by the Big Three supermarket chains, including at Metro, Dominion, No Frills, Food Basics, Sobeys, Your Independent Grocer, Valu Mart, and Freshco.