Loblaw union negotiates 16% pay increase for warehouse workers

Warehouse start rate increased by $3 an hour from $19 - $22
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AJAX, ON, Nov. 20, 2021 – Canada’s largest union, Unifor, has elevated pay, benefits and working conditions for 1,000 warehouse workers at the Loblaw  Distribution Centre in Ajax, Ontario with the negotiation of a new four-year collective agreement as of today.

Pressure for a livable wage for Canadians by Unifor have led to some key changes for employees at Loblaw. Earlier this month thousands of Unifor members making above minimum wage recently saw a 4-4.5% wage increase because of the proposed minimum wage increase announced in Ontario. This includes 7,000 retail grocery chain workers. This gain stems from Unifor’s collective agreements in retail and service sectors that include wage language tied to minimum wage, referred to as minimum wage plus.

Unifor President Jerry Dias stands at a podium outdoors at minimum wage announcement Nov. 2nd

The provincial government announced legislation that would raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour on January 1, 2022, eliminate the lower rate for liquor servers, and adjust additional special minimum wages including student, homeworker, and hunting and fishing guides.

A November 1, 2021 report by the Ontario Living Wage Network released an updated list of living wage thresholds in various regions of the province, ranging from $16.20 in London to $22.08 in Halton.

For Loblaw warehouse workers the collective agreement was accepted in a ratification vote by the Unifor Local 222 members.

Highlights of the four-year agreement:

  • Warehouse start rate increased by $3 an hour from $19 – $22
  • All other Wage Classifications increase 11% – 14% over four years
  • Signing Bonus of $2,000 for members with four years or more and $1,000 for those with three years or less, including part-time workers.
  • Company RRSP contribution for workers with more than five years service increased from 3.5% to 5%
  • Additional week of vacation added for workers with 15 years of service, for a total of five weeks vacation.
  • Benefit upgrades to vision, dental, hearing and boot allowance
  • Shift Premium increase
  • The creation off a Racial Justice Advocate

“This is a landmark contract in the warehouse sector, with an increase of almost 16% in the start rate and an increase of 11-14% for the other wage classifications over the lifetime of the agreement. The gains in this agreement, including a significant increase in RRSP co-payments, signing bonuses, higher shift premiums and added vacation for longer serving workers, will make a real difference to these workers and raise standards across the industry.”

Unifor National President Jerry Dias

THE 2021 LIVING WAGE RATES:

COMMUNITYLIVING WAGE RATE
Durham Region$17.80
Guelph Wellington$18.10
Haldimand-Norfolk$17.35
Halton Region$20.75
Hamilton$17.20
Hastings-Prince Edward$17.95
Kingston$17.75
Leeds, Grenville, Lanark Counties$18.25
London$16.55
Muskoka$18.55
Niagara Region$18.90
Norththumberland County$18.80
Ottawa$18.60
Peel Region$19.80
Perth and Huron Counties$17.95
Peterborough$18.35
Renfrew County$17.40
Sault Ste. Marie$16.20
Simcoe County$19.05
Sudbury$16.98
Thunder Bay$16.30
Toronto$22.08
Waterloo Region$17.20
Ontario Living Wage Network

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector and represents 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

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