QUEBEC — Nearly 800 union workers at 13 Maxi stores in Quebec called a strike last week, citing a lack of progress in contract negotiations with Maxi's parent company, Loblaw.
The walk-off, called last Wednesday by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 803 here, affects seven stores in the greater Quebec City area, three in the Mauricie region, one in Montmagny, one in Rimouski and one in Sept-Îles, a union spokesman told SN.
Each store affected by the strike is covered by its own labor agreement, the union said, noting that some workers last negotiated a contract as long as eight years ago. Union members said they are seeking the same contract as the one recently obtained by workers at the Maxi store in Baie-Comeau, Quebec, but said Loblaw management has refused to consider the same working conditions over more than two years of talks.
A Loblaw spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
The UFCW in Quebec was dealt a blow earlier this month when Wal-Mart closed a Tire Lube Express automotive center at a store in Gatineau that had gained union status. The Quebec Labor Board imposed a contract in August that Wal-Mart said had increased costs by more than 30%. The five workers at the center will be offered other positions at Wal-Mart, the company said.
The auto shop is the second Quebec Wal-Mart store to be unionized and later close. The retailer abruptly closed a discount store in Jonquière after workers won certification in 2005.