“Nothing in, nothing out,” explains the picket captain at the 5559 Dundas Street West Metro distribution centre in front of a line of idling transport trucks stretching more than two kilometres down the road.
On August 23 at 6:00 am, the striking grocery workers’ fight for fair wages moved to round-the-clock secondary picket lines at two Metro distribution warehouses in Toronto. The 3,700 Metro workers walked off the job on July 29, shutting down 27 stores. The workers in Unifor Local 414 are primarily looking for wage increases and benefits for part-time workers from a company that reported net earnings of $346.7 million in the last quarter. The workers have already voted down one tentative agreement and the move to secondary picketing of the distribution centres is supposed to hit Metro even harder.
This morning of August 24, as the sun began to rise and a light rain came down, members of Justice for Workers, Spring Magazine and Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) visited the picket lines. A steady stream of Local 414 members got off at the nearest bus stop and joined in blocking any and all transport trucks from entering the centre, while allowing Unifor members who worked in the centre to enter. Every new truck that entered the long line of traffic being blocked represented more delays and more losses for grocery profiteers, and another key piece of leverage for the workers who create the profits.
While dozens of trucks filled with merchandise sit idle, Metro Inc. is moving quickly to file an unfair labour practice complaint with the Ontario Labour Relations Board against Unifor. They will be arguing that the secondary picketing isn’t bargaining in good faith.
Metro Inc. is filing an unfair labour practice complaint with the Ontario Labour Relations Board against Unifor right now, arguing it isn’t bargaining in good faith, a spokeswoman for the grocer said in a statement. We have seen injunctions successfully used by employers to stop effective picketing by striking workers. We should assume that Metro workers need our support more than ever right now. By following the Justice for Workers blueprint for solidarity, you will find resources to visit a picket line, post a solidarity selfie, and show Metro workers that you stand with them – and show Metro bosses that the working class has had enough.
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