Grocery chain to terminate benefits of striking workers, union says

Unifor Local 414 to provide insurance benefits to workers on strike as labour dispute with Metro continues

Grocery chain to terminate benefits of striking workers, union says

Metro Ontario Inc. is planning to remove the benefits of their grocery workers on strike, said Unifor Local 414. In line with this, the union is set to provide their members on strike with group insurance benefits through Green Shield Canada.

Members who are participating in strike duty are entitled to benefits which include hospital care, drug, life, accidental and dismemberment premiums, and out-of-province. This will be paid for by the Unifor Strike and Defence Fund.

In order for the striking workers to access their benefits, they must complete an enrolment form that is made available at local picket lines.

Since Saturday, 3,700 unionized store employees from 27 Metro grocery stores have been on strike following their rejection of a deal with the management. The agreement was initially unanimously recommended by the union bargain committee, but its members did not accept it and opted to begin their strike.

Stores that were affected by the strike are those in Toronto, Brantford, Orangeville, Milton, Oakville, Brampton, North York, Islington, Willowdale, Mississauga, Etobicoke, Newmarket, and Scarborough, said Unifor as reported by CBC.

Metro Ontario Inc., a subsidiary of Metro Inc., the company expressed their extreme disappointment as their employees rejected the agreement even with the unanimous recommendation of the union bargaining committee.

“The Company has been negotiating with the union for the past few weeks and reached a fair and equitable agreement that meets the needs of our employees and our customers while ensuring that Metro remains competitive.” Metro said in a press release.

“The settlement provided significant increases for employees in all 4 years of the agreement, as well as pension and benefits improvements for all employees, including part-time employees.” the company added.

Unifor National President Lana Payne said in an article by CTV News that while the union endorsed the deal, it wasn’t enough to properly address the deteriorating working conditions across the grocery sector.

"We are living in a time when working people, particularly working people at grocery stores, are just not making ends meet.” she said.

Payne also said that while the company’s profits are soaring, the workers who earn an average salary ranging from $16-17 per hour would want an increase in their pay as they helped generate Metro’s earnings in the first place.