New deal for grocery staff

Municipal workers avoid strike in rancorous talks

Negotiations recently completed between the Metro supermarket chain in Ontario and Local 414 of the Canadian Auto Workers were “very challenging,” according to president Christine Connor.

However, they “still yielded some positive results for the members.”

“Metro came into these talks with a grab-bag of concessionary demands,” Connor continued. Competition within the sector, and with new players such as Wal-Mart, continues to be the central factor influencing retail food negotiations.

As is common for supermarket agreements recently, there are lump sums in two of the four years of the contract and wage increases to employees at the end rates of the wage grid only in the other two years.

The settlement between CUPE and the City of Hamilton came as both parties were preparing to initiate a work stoppage.

Local president Derron Vernon accused the city of dealing directly with members and negotiating in the media. He blamed the acrimony for increasing voter turnout at the strike vote by 125 per cent and the margin by 15 percentage points.

Wage increases were a stumbling block, with the city offering one per cent per year over four years and the union asking for two per cent per year over two. In the end, there was a wage freeze in the first year and 1.9 per cent in each of the next three.

Latest stories