The North Star


Grocery store workers celebrate negotiation wins

Working conditions take on a new flavour in Ontario

Read Time:2 Minute

Subscribe to our newsletter:

On January 2, workers at Loblaws Great Food and Superstore celebrated the ratification of their new collective agreement, bringing with it an anticipated wage increase. This victory follows the successful strike by Metro Grocery workers in the summer of 2023, and sets a new precedent for grocery workers in 2024 and beyond.

The new Loblaws contract was won by 13,000 workers across 60 Ontario stores who began negotiations in November, represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).

This collective agreement provides for substantial raises, the highest in decades at both grocers. Full-time workers should see their wages increase by $4.60 an hour over the course of the agreement, and older part-time workers will see an increase of $4.35 an hour. These improvements are accompanied by improved health and vacation benefits, and greater job security for both part-time and full-time workers. 

Local 1006A UCFW President Wayne Hanley described the contract as “the best in decades” but he emphasizes that this comes after “intense and difficult negotiations”. He explains that large membership support was key to the success: “With the support and participation of membership, we achieved an unprecedented level of improvements for our members in the grocery industry.”

The union negotiating committee, which included 14 rank and file members and local union executive members, “pushed the company to its limit” over the 10 days of bargaining.

Profits for Loblaws' and grocery have been soaring to record highs over recent years. Loblaws took in 18 billion dollars in revenue in the third quarter of 2023, representing a 5 percent increase. Over the period just before and after the summer 2023 Metro strike, corporate profits rose by 26 percent, from $275 million the previous year to $346.7 million.

Prior to their victory, Metro workers were reporting that they could barely afford the groceries they stocked on the shelves. Moreover, union health benefits were put on hold during the strike, further impacting the workers who were only trying to keep up with inflation. 

The one-month-long Metro strike had resulted in significant wage increases for workers of the grocer as part of a five-year contract, including a total $4.50/hour raise for the 3700 workers at 27 Metro stores in the Greater Toronto Area

This proved to be a decisive victory, putting grocery workers across Ontario in a better position to negotiate with Canada's billion-dollar profit-making monopoly grocers.​​​​​​​ The Loblaws union negotiating team followed suit, raising the bar for grocery workers in the province.

Support journalism going against the tide ← To help North Star continue to produce stories from the majority's perspective and in the majority's interest, make a donation! Every contribution matters.