Warehouse Workers in Toronto Strike Against Extensive Concession Demands

July 16, 2009, 1:58 PM EST

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CAW members working at the Zellers Distribution Centre in Scarborough were pushed to take strike action early this morning in response to a series of extensive company demands for major wage and benefit concessions.

The company's demands have sparked outrage among the 325 warehouse workers, said Dwayne Gunness, President of CAW Local 1000, representing workers at the facility.

"Our negotiating committee has worked very hard over the past days to settle this contract without taking strike action," Gunness said. "Unfortunately the company has refused to move away from their laundry list of concessionary demands which will erode the quality of work and quality of life for our members. We simply won't accept that."

Stephen Moses, CAW Chairperson at the Zellers warehouse, said the company has proposed wage cuts of $8 per hour for material handlers, to increase the use of temporary employment agency workers, eliminate severance pay language, eliminate job posting provisions and dramatically cut vacation entitlements, among other demands.

"Our members were offered a 1 per cent wage increase over the course of a three year agreement, which is absolutely unacceptable," Moses said.

CAW National Staff Representative Munir Khalid said the bargaining committee is unanimous in their determination to defeat these far-reaching regressive demands.

"We are calling on the employer to immediately return to the bargain table and negotiate a fair collective agreement," Khalid said, adding that no further meetings have been set. 

The contract expired on May 31, 2009.

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