Teamsters accepts Loblaw offer, preventing potential lockout hours before it was set to begin

Teamsters Local Union 987 accepted an offer from Loblaw hours before a lockout was set to begin on Friday. More than 500 distribution centre employees had been laid off. (Aaron Vincent Elkaim/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Teamsters Local Union 987 accepted an offer from Loblaw hours before a lockout was set to begin on Friday. More than 500 distribution centre employees had been laid off. (Aaron Vincent Elkaim/The Canadian Press - image credit)

A union representing more than 500 workers at a Loblaw warehouse in Calgary accepted a deal with its employer hours before a lockout was set to begin on Friday.

In a statement released on Saturday, Teamsters Local Union 987 said that 66 per cent of its voting members accepted a final offer from Loblaw just before being locked out of their Calgary Freeport facility.

A total of 534 employees at the distribution centre had been laid off as the company prepared for a lockout.

The union had been in contract negotiations with the grocery and drugstore retailer since their previous agreement expired on June 6.

In a recent interview with CBC News, Teamsters 987 business agent John Taylor said that Loblaw would not discuss anything that did not include wages.

"A portion of the distribution centre workers who earn hourly wages are not only struggling with earning less than the acceptable living wage for Calgary of $22.40, but they are also now facing layoffs," said Taylor at the time.

He added that there were issues regarding consecutive days off and rules and regulations surrounding working conditions that the union brought up, but that were not addressed by the company.

Initial offer rejected twice

Teamsters 987 rejected the employer's initial offer on Nov. 3, and again rejected the same offer on Nov. 15 — which was a labour-board-supervised proposal vote.

Loblaw had prepared for a lockout given the offer rejections, but that has now been avoided after union members accepted a deal.

Catherine Thomas, the vice president of communications with Loblaw, said her company was satisfied that a work stoppage was avoided.

"This was a strong offer with some of the most competitive wages in the industry," she said.

Loblaw did not provide any details about the offer, or whether or not any of the other concerns that Taylor had previously mentioned were addressed.

Teamsters 987 did not respond to requests for comment.