Thousands of B.C. Superstore employees hold strike vote this week over wages

The Real Canadian Superstore is seen off the Grandview Highway in Vancouver, B.C. on Mon. July 4, 2022. Nearly 10,000 Loblaw employees are holding a strike vote this week. Global News

Nearly 10,000 retail grocery and warehouse workers for Loblaw will hold a strike vote this week, citing contract concerns with “pay, fairness and equity.”

The workers are employed at 28 Superstores and three distribution warehouses across the province and are members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 247.

“These are inflationary times, and our members have been called pandemic heroes,” said Dan Goodman, union chapter president, in a Sunday news release.

“We all see what groceries are costing these days, and our members are putting those items on the shelves.”

Global News has reached out to Loblaw for comment on this story and will update it when a response is received.

Read more: More than 90% of BCGEU public service members vote to strike, citing inflation

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According to UFCW’s news release, union members rejected an initial offer from Loblaw in April with 97 per cent of members having voted in favour of a strike in May.

Loblaw then returned with a better offer, including signing bonuses for all employees, an improved and unified wage scale benefitting 6,500 employees, and greater wage increases for long-term senior staff.

Goodman described it as a “substantially improved” offer, but said the union will set up picket lines if it is turned down. Loblaw has notified its bargaining committee that if that happens, it will issue a corresponding lockout notice.

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Union members’ votes will be counted on Friday and the results will be posted on its website.

The union said thousands of local members have registered for picket duty and hundreds have received union picket captain training.

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The BC Labour Relations Code requires 72 hours notice for a strike vote, but UFCW said Loblaw is likely to seek an extension of that timeframe as the dispute would involve perishable goods.

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