PRESS RELEASE: SEPTEMBER 13, 2010

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Ontario Loblaw Workers Set Strike Deadline

Labour woes.
Workers of Brampton-based grocery chain Loblaw will hit the picket line on Oct. 8 if a contract settlement is not reached, their union says.

Four days of talks between the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) and Loblaw Companies Ltd. wrapped up over the weekend with negotiators on both sides failing to reach a settlement.
As a result, the union's bargaining committee set a strike deadline of 12:01 a.m., Oct. 8.
"Some progress has been made on key issues but we have not reached a settlement," said Kevin Corporon, president of UFCW union local 1000A, which represents Brampton-based Loblaw workers. "We have set a strike deadline ... however we will continue to bargain in good faith to reach a settlement that we can recommend to the members."
The UFCW has been in negotiations with Loblaw since April for a renewed collective agreement for 30,000 store-level workers at banner stores, including Loblaws, Zehrs, Real Canadian Superstores and Fortinos locations throughout the province.
The Brampton-based company argues changes to the collective agreement are necessary if the brand is to remain competitive.
Loblaw says it is working against an uncertain economy and significant challenges from competitors like Wal-Mart and Sobeys Inc.
As such, the company wants to cut wages by up to 25 per cent, increase wait times for benefits eligibility and reduce the number of full-time jobs.
But workers say the concessions proposed by the company are just too hard to swallow.
After several months of unsuccessful negotiations, workers in July voted by more than 97 per cent to give their union a strike mandate.
Further meetings between the union and the company have been scheduled between Sept. 27 and Oct. 2.
A vote to accept or reject the company's final proposal - if there is one - will be held between Oct. 3 and Oct. 6, Corporon noted.

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