Toronto warehouse workers at grocery giant Metro trigger strike

Workers at a distribution warehouse in Etobicoke, Ont., that supplies Metro and Food Basics grocery stores agreed to strike Saturday, their union says.

More than 900 full-time staff work at the Metro facility in the west of Toronto. They voted Saturday to reject an attempted deal with the grocery store giant the day prior.

Staff have been without a contract since October 2021, the union, Unifor, said.

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Unifor reaches deal with Metro averting looming strike at grocery distribution center

The warehouse stocks grocery stores across southern Ontario along the Kingston-to-Windsor corridor, including the GTHA and Niagara region.

“The members have final say on the tentative agreement and have opted to turn down this offer,” Chris MacDonald, Unifor assistant to the national president, said in a statement.

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Stephanie Bonk, a spokesperson for Metro, said the company “regrets” the decision to strike.

She said the deal workers rejected offered an increase of six per cent to average hourly wages in the first year. It included a “total of 14 per cent wage increase over four years as well as pension and benefits improvements.”

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Workers at Metro distribution warehouse in Toronto could strike by Friday

The union originally said a strike could take place by 12:01 am Friday, a deadline extended when Friday’s tentative agreement was reached.

“Right now, we’re in the process of setting up our picket lines but we will be reaching out to Metro to determine when negotiations will resume,” MacDonald told Global News.

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The picket line will be at the warehouse, not Metro stores.

Metro said its stores would remain stocked and that it had implemented its “contingency plan.”

“We are disappointed with the employees’ decision to strike but remain ready to go back to the table,” Bonk said.

Unifor represents around 315,000 workers in a range of industries across the country, including some at Global News.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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