metro strike

People show support for Metro strikers as grocery distribution shuts down in Toronto

The Metro strike has, to the surprise of many, persisted for nearly a month now, with just shy of 4,000 unionized workers continuing to fight for higher wages, greater job stability, better benefits and more.

A total of 27 locations of the grocery chain in and around Toronto remain closed as a result, and this week, demonstrators have taken things a step further by picketing at two of the company's distribution centres in the city, interrupting the shipment of goods to stores.

Those supermarkets that are still open may find themselves facing food shortages if the strike persists at this level, as these warehouses — both located in Etobicoke — supply all Metro and Food Basics stores in Ontario.

As the national president of Unifor, the trade union representing the staffers, said in a press release about the move on Wednesday: "Metro can expect secondary picket lines at more of their properties until they come back to the table with a serious wage offer for these workers who are forgoing their paycheques to take a stand against corporate greed."

The supermarket giant, meanwhile, has been asking the union to come back to the bargaining table to no avail. Earlier this month, Unifor refused to meet with negotiators, saying it's still awaiting a better offer that is closer to what employees are demanding.

Metro is now requesting that the Ministry of Labour bring in a conciliation officer to help the two sides reach some sort of agreement.

The release of the grocer's Q3 financials less than two weeks into the strike action definitely did not help things, as sales and, to a much larger degree, profits were substantially up from the same time last year.

Metro raked in a staggering $346.7 million during its fiscal third quarter out of $6.43 billion in revenue; a notable jump of 26.1 per cent from 2022's Q3 profits. Sales were only up 9.6 per cent compared the same period, bolstering claims of price-gouging by Metro, Loblaws, and Empire (Sobeys).

"Frontline grocery workers are tired of being ignored and underpaid by Metro during an affordability crisis," Unifor said in its statement this week. "[They're] rightfully demanding more from one of Canada's richest grocers whose historic profits aren't being fairly shared with the workforce responsible for their success."

It seems based on social media chatter (and in-person support at strike sites) that much of the public, likewise discouraged by exorbitant basic expenses lately, are in support of those striking and are hoping for some kind of change.

Lead photo by

Unifor National

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