Nfld. & Labrador

Striking Dominion workers to vote on final Loblaw offer Monday

Details of the offer will be presented to workers Monday, when voting will begin.

Offer comes at close of 11th week of picketing

Striking Dominion workers will vote on Loblaw's final offer on Monday, according to a news release from Unifor. (Ted Dillon/CBC)

Striking Dominion workers will soon vote on what their union calls Loblaw's final offer, as workers close their 11th week on the picket line.

According to a press release from Unifor, which represents Dominion workers, the offer came Saturday through provincially appointed mediator Wayne Fowler.

Details of the offer will be presented to workers on Monday, when voting will begin.

Unifor said picket lines will continue during the ratification process and ratification voting will take place at the picket lines across the province over the next week.

The 1,400 workers have been on strike since Aug. 22 — after Loblaw ended a $2-an-hour wage increase for essential workers implemented during the pandemic — calling for more full-time jobs and wage increases. 

The union says more than 80 per cent of Dominion workers are part time and 60 full-time jobs were converted into part-time positions last year.

Pickets have been taking place outside 11 Dominion locations across the province, along with other locations owned by the Loblaw companies, including Weston Foods in Mount Pearl.

Loblaw secured one court injunction against strikers, which prohibited picketing at a Mount Pearl distribution centre, but lost dozens of other injunctions for other picketing locations.

Unifor lawsuit against RNC continues

Unifor is continuing its lawsuit against the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary over an incident when police responded to a picket line at Weston Foods on Oct. 27.

RNC Chief Joe Boland said at least three complaints from businesses that night resulted in 14 officers from the force's public order unit showing up at the picket line. He added that the company has a right to get their vehicles off the parking lot, which was blocked by striking workers.

Kyle Rees, a lawyer representing Unifor, said complaints made by affected businesses should not empower police to break up a picket line, and that all parties involved are trying to figure out what the limits of a picket line are.

Unifor said the RNC should not have been at a picket line in Mount Pearl on Oct. 27. (Mike Moore/CBC)

"Lawyers for both sides of the issue make impassioned and critical arguments about what the correct way to express oneself, and activities that you should be able to carry out on a picket line are," Rees told CBC Radio's On The Go Friday.

"[But] when you're balancing bread that might expire or the charter-protected rights of 1,400 members of a union fighting for a living wage, when those two things are being held in the balance, surely the bread takes a back seat to your charter rights." 

Rees and Unifor were in court Friday, with no injunction being issued in the case. The parties are due back in court on Nov. 16.

"We get the opportunity to argue our case, to present evidence," Rees said.

"That's a whole process that didn't occur in front of the RNC a couple of weeks ago. That's the process that we would have wanted to see occur, and that's the process that has indeed happened since."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from On The Go