Sobeys Battling Grocery Workers In Sydney, Cape Breton – Union Says They’re Miles Apart

Unifor Local 1971, which represents Sobeys employees at the grocery giant’s Sydney location, says they are miles apart in negotiations with Sobeys and talks are heading for conciliation after failing to reach an agreement. The union, which stands as Canada’s largest in the private sector, is pushing for significant improvements, similar to those it has secured for other grocery workers across the country.

Jennifer Murray, Unifor’s Atlantic Regional Director, emphasized the union’s commitment to achieving equitable standards for the Sydney Sobeys workers, stating, “Sobeys definitely knows Unifor is after significant and meaningful gains for grocery workers like we have already achieved for thousands of our members working in supermarkets in Canada.”

This comes at a time when Sobeys’ parent company, Empire, has reported substantial profits, with over $23 billion in sales and $1.8 billion in earnings before taxes over the past nine months.

“Unifor has established a pattern in the grocery sector and we intend to see members in Sydney, Cape Breton reach that same standard as they deserve nothing less.” said Murray.

Unifor represents 119 members at the Sydney store, striving for fair compensation reflecting their essential contributions to the company’s success. The push for better wages and benefits mirrors recent developments at Empire owned Pete’s Frootique in Halifax, where workers, through SEIU Local 2, secured a new collective agreement. The agreement raised wages from $15.45 to to a high of $19.57 for non-probationary employees. Most workers were set to earn $15.60 by April. Additionally, the deal introduced paid sick days, just cause and seniority protections.

With the province raising the minimum wage to $15.20 on April 1, these negotiations highlight the ongoing efforts of unions to improve conditions for grocery workers, who play a critical role in the retail sector.

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