Workers at Metro distribution warehouse in Toronto could strike by Friday

A general view of a Metro grocery store's parking lot in North York. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Dominic Chan

Workers at a Toronto distribution warehouse that stocks Metro and Food Basics stores across southern Ontario could be on strike by Friday, their union says.

A press release from Unifor said 99 per cent of workers voted to go on strike if a collective agreement can not be reached by April 1.

Unifor represents around 315,000 workers, including at Global News.

“Metro has profited tremendously during the pandemic but it is the shareholders who have benefited, not the front line workers,” Unifor Ontario Regional Director Naureen Rizvi said in a statement.

Read more: Metro sees profit and sales climb despite labour conflict, mild cold and flu season

The contract negotiations effect around 900 full-time warehouse workers in Etobicoke. The staff have been without a contract since October, 2021.

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“We are currently in bargaining with UNIFOR for the renewal of the collective agreement of full-time unionized employees at our Toronto Distribution Centres,” Stephanie Bonk, a spokesperson for Metro, told Global News.

Bonk said Metro was working toward an agreement that meets “the needs of our employees.”

Read more: Metro sales up more than 10% as Canadians eat at home due to COVID-19 pandemic

The warehouse supplies grocery stores along the Kingston to Windsor corridor across southern Ontario, according to the union.

Frank Reynolds, the local union chairperson, said workers wanted “the success that Metro has enjoyed to be reflected in wages, pensions and benefits.”

Metro will implement “its contingency plan” to supply stores if workers strike, Bonk said. Asked for details, she said the grocery store had “no further comment.”

Workers will strike by 12:01 a.m. on April 1 if an agreement is not reached, the union said.

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