Quebec workers strike, settlement in Alberta

A strike at a number of Maxi stores in eastern Quebec began
recently, just as members in rural Alberta ratified a contract
with Real Canadian Superstore (RCSS). Both RCSS and
Maxi (the latter as part of Provigo) are banners of Loblaw
Companies Limited (LCL).

On October 23 in Alberta, UFCW Canada Local 401
members working at RCSS locations outside of Calgary
and Edmonton wrapped up province-wide voting, ratifying
a new contract by 86%. Members in the two large urban
centres had ratified their contracts earlier in the month, just
as strikes were set to begin.

In Quebec, meanwhile, almost 800 members of UFCW
Canada Local 503 at 13 Maxi stores in eastern Quebec went
on strike October 22, in the wake of two-and-a-half years
of go-nowhere bargaining with LCL. Some of the members
have had their salary and working conditions frozen for the
last six to eight years depending on their location.

The Maxi strike began after the company rejected agreeing
to the same terms recently gained by Local 503 members
at a Maxi store in Baie Comeau. Of the 13 stores affected by
the strikes, seven are located in the greater Quebec City area, three in the Mauricie region, and one each in Montmagny, Rimouski, and Sept-Îles.

“At the 13 stores, members voted anywhere from 96%
to 100% to go on strike,” says André Dumas, president of
Local 503. “Their spirits are good, and they are backed up as
members of the National Defence Fund with extra picket pay
on top of their regular strike benefit to carry on a long strike
if that’s what it takes to win a fair deal.”

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