Workers at a Sudbury hardware store are walking the picket line instead of helping customers Thursday.

The 14 employees at the Rona on Barrydowne Road were locked out as of this morning and picketed in the cold rain outside of the closed store, under the watchful eye of security guards.

Chris Fuller, the regional director for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 175, said the company notified him last night that it was ending contract talks and locking out the workers.

"They feel betrayed, they're hurt, they're upset," he said of his members. 

"We have a lot of very senior people here who have dedicated a lot of time. People with over 40 years seniority who have helped this company along and they feel that the company's turned their backs on them."

Rona lockout

Rona locked out 14 unionized workers at its Sudbury store last week. (Erik White/CBC )

Fuller said there have been several bargaining sessions, but added Rona is unwilling to send the dispute to mediation.

"The crazy thing is there's only one issue," he said. "The employer has taken the position, the unlawful position the union would assert, that senior employees will be required to work on Sundays."

But Rona spokesperson Valerie Gonzalo said that during the last nine months of negotiation, union members twice voted down the company's contract offer.

She said the Sudbury store has not been profitable for several years.