Unifor workers at Food Basics ratify contract


TORONTO, Nov. 7, 2016 /CNW/ - Unifor members of Local 414 at 20 Food Basics stores in communities across Ontario ratified a new four-year collective agreement by 79 per cent. Votes were held in various locations from October 30 to November 6.

"Grocery store workers are often forced to cope with low wages and erratic schedules," said Keith Osborne, Unifor Director of Retail. "The advancements achieved by the bargaining committee will make a real difference in the daily lives of our members."

The new contract includes annual wage increases for full and part-time employees in each year of the contract, a revised part-time wage grid, benefit boosts and improved scheduling among other gains. The deal contains the same core provisions included in the Unifor-Metro supermarket contract negotiated in 2015. Full and part-time members will receive a $1.00 per hour pay increase over the term of the contract along with a new minimum wage plus provision for part-time clerks, which guarantees automatic adjustment to hourly pay in the event of an increase in the minimum wage rate. Additionally, the new agreement includes a store-by-store scheduling audit that aims to create more full-time jobs in the future, updated gender neutral language in the contract and the inclusion of a policy on workplace violence and harassment.

"We bargained tough with the full weight of Unifor behind us, and we achieved our goals," said Christine Connor, President of Unifor Local 414. "The gains made here are an example of why being in a union matters."

The bargaining team also successfully negotiated the implementation of Unifor's ground breaking Women's Advocate Program. The program trains representatives to assist women facing intimate violence and abuse with the aim to create healthier workplaces, secure homes and safer communities.

This collective agreement, which expires October 31, 2020, covers Food Basics store workers in Brampton, Brockville, Chatham, Cornwall, Kingston, Milton, Mississauga, Ottawa, Richmond Hill, Scarborough, St. Catharines, Thornhill and Toronto. 

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.