Workers at Ontario’s No Frills Stores Set for Monday Strike Amid Wage and Working Conditions Dispute

A person exits the pedistrian ramp in front of an ominous-looking No Frills grocery store in Toronto, on Aug 11, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Rachel Verbin

Over 1,200 workers at 17 No Frills grocery stores in Ontario are braced for a potential strike, with a deadline set for 12:01 a.m. on Monday. These developments come amidst ongoing contract negotiations that have hit a critical juncture.

Stalemate in Negotiations

Unifor, the union representing the workers, has been in talks with Loblaw Companies Limited, the parent company of No Frills. Despite ongoing discussions, a significant gap remains, primarily focused on wage increases and enhanced working conditions. Unifor’s stand is backed by its national president, Lana Payne, who emphasized the necessity for Loblaw to “come to the table prepared to raise wages and improve working conditions.”

Loblaw’s Financial Context

This labor dispute occurs in the backdrop of Loblaw’s recent financial success. The company reported a substantial increase in profit, with a third-quarter earning of $621 million, marking an upswing from $556 million in the same quarter last year.

A No Frills store in the GTA

Precedent of Strikes

The current situation mirrors a recent strike involving Unifor members at the Metro grocery store chain in the Toronto area. That strike, lasting five weeks, eventually led to a resolution. The outcome of this previous dispute may play a role in shaping the expectations and strategies in the ongoing negotiations with No Frills.

Implications for Customers and the Company

A strike could significantly impact operations at No Frills stores across Ontario. These stores, known for their budget-friendly offerings, are a popular choice among many shoppers. A disruption could not only inconvenience customers but also dent Loblaw’s image and financial performance.