UFCW wins arbitration: Loblaw Companies to recognize National Day for Truth & Reconciliation

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November 2, 2021

UFCW Achieves Victory in having the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Recognized at Loblaw Companies

November 2, 2021 – Mississauga, ON – United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local Unions have been victorious in challenging Loblaw Companies for refusing to recognize the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a paid holiday, and failing to abide by collective agreement language.

After the federal government passed legislation to create a federal statutory holiday on September 30, known as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Loblaw Companies announced to the Union that it would not recognize the day as a paid holiday.

“Our Members felt strongly that the decision made by Loblaw wasn’t right,” said Shawn Haggerty, President of UFCW Local 175. “Not only was it morally wrong and an incredibly disappointing move by a major Canadian retailer, but it was also a clear violation of a collective agreement that was negotiated in good faith.”

UFCW Local 175 represents tens of thousands of unionized workers at a number of Loblaw Companies Limited banners and locations which have collective agreement language for the automatic recognition of any declared holidays by either the federal or provincial governments as paid holidays. Along with other UFCW Local Unions, Locals 175 & 633 utilized the grievance and arbitration procedure of the collective agreement and referred a series of grievances on the matter to arbitration.

The first UFCW grievance to complete the process resulted in a decision from Arbitrator Norm Jesin on October 26. The decision was a complete victory for the Union.

Arbitrator Jesin determined that the employer should have recognized the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation due to the Union’s collective agreement and ordered Loblaw Companies to compensate all affected employees.

Following this decision, Loblaw Companies agreed to the same terms for other workplaces across UFCW Local Unions in Ontario with similar language in the collective agreement.

“This is a victory for workers and Indigenous communities,” said Haggerty. “As a national employer, Loblaw Companies should have done the right thing from the start. Thanks to the power of the Union, we have been able to right that wrong.”

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was one of the 94 recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Committee of Canada and is intended to honour survivors of the Residential School system and their families and communities, and to commemorate the history of how this country has treated Indigenous Peoples.

UFCW Locals 175 & 633 continues to use the grievance and arbitration process to challenge other employers, such as Rexall, who have also violated language under the respective agreements by failing to recognize the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

Members who have questions should contact their Union Representative.

UFCW Locals 175 & 633 represents more than 70,000 working people across all sectors of the Ontario economy including health care, retail grocery, pharmacy, meat processing, manufacturing, and more.

Media Inquiries: media@ufcw175.com