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Super Marché workers vote to strike

Hearst, ON About 25 hard-working members of UFCW Local 175 from the Super Marché de Hearst are struggling to understand their employer’s cold-hearted actions. They have reacted by voting overwhelmingly in favour of strike action at a May 14, 2008 meeting.

"This employer’s actions are one of the worst cases of bargaining in bad faith that our Local Union has ever witnessed," says Local 175 President Shawn Haggerty. "We are bringing charges against this employer under the Ontario Labour Relations Act. If a Lockout or Strike should occur, I ask that the community of Hearst do everything possible to support these workers."

On May 13, 2008, after the company had scheduled and then cancelled negotiating meetings with the Union, on three separate occasions, the conciliation officer advised the Union that the company had requested a "No Board." By doing so, the company asked the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) to give its approval to proceed with a Lockout or Strike Action. Normally a "No Board" is only requested after the two sides have struggled to reach a contract and finally reached an impasse. In this instance, the company appeared not to have even attempted to bargain a new contract with the Union.

To make matters even worse, approximately one year ago, the employer had implored the workers to extend the existing collective agreement. They agreed with reluctance, forgoing any contract improvements in the process. "These workers deserved contract improvements a year ago," says Haggerty. "And instead, the employer responds to their sacrifice by refusing to even start talks on a better contract."

If the OLRB grants the employer’s request then the company can choose to initiate a Lockout or the members can elect to begin strike action as early as June 1, 2008.


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