Strike Resolved: GTA Metro Employees Celebrate Victory in Wage Negotiations

In the resolution to a month-long strike, 3,700 Metro workers in the Greater Toronto Area have reached an agreement ensuring improved wages. This week’s vote approved a five-year contract granting a $4.50 hourly wage increase that includes a retroactive $1.50 raise and a 50-cent bump starting January 1. Workers, who’ve been striking since July 29, could return to their posts as early as Friday morning.

This breakthrough came after an unexpected twist: workers had originally declined a four-year proposal offering $3.75 in wage increases. This offer— unexpectedly rejected on July 28— led to the strike’s commencement the following day. A notable grievance was Metro’s discontinuation of the $2 “hero pay” bonus, initially provided during the early COVID-19 pandemic days.

Inflation then further intensified the workers’ demands; with inflation rates peaking at 8.1% in the previous June, many Metro employees could no longer afford to shop at their own workplaces. According to Unifor, full-time Metro workers in the GTA earn an average of $22.60 hourly, while their part-time counterparts receive $16.62.

Amid the strike, tensions escalated. Initially, union members picketed exclusively at the 27 shut locations, However, they expanded their efforts, protesting outside some open non-Unifor Metro stores and eventually blocked supply trucks at the Etobicoke warehouses. This blockade resulted in empty shelves at various Metro and Food Basics outlets throughout Ontario. Metro responded by lodging an unfair labor practice complaint against the union, claiming the union had declined numerous offers to restart negotiations.

Matters took a legal turn when Metro sought an injunction to halt the blockade, alleging illicit activities by the picketers during the protest. By Monday, both parties were presenting their cases before Superior Court Justice William S. Chalmers. The injunction was approved the subsequent day.

Information for this story was found via Unifor and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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