TORONTO — Loblaw Cos. here said last week that the growth of nonunion competition in Canada is forcing the company’s hand in its negotiations with labor unions.
As previously reported, the company is in the midst of contract talks with four locals of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union covering nearly 30,000 workers. The workers have already authorized a strike but have not yet taken any action.
“I like being the best payer in the industry, but I also want to give the best customer service, and to give the best customer service we’ve got to have the flexibility that allows us to put the right people in the right place at the right time,” said Allan Leighton, Loblaw’s president and deputy chairman. “And there is a watershed in this industry — there are more non-unionized players than unionized players, and therefore, it’s time for a change. Now my objective and the objective of the negotiating team is to negotiate that.”
The company said it expected negotiations to continue through the current third quarter.
Also, Loblaw on Thursday reported a 6.7% decrease in net income for the second quarter, to about $173 million (U.S.), while net income year-to-date was up 5%, to about $305 million. Sales of $7 billion were up 1.2% for the quarter, which ended June 19. Same-store sales declined 0.3%.