CAW Demands Loblaws Keep Marystown Supermarket Open

July 17, 2009, 2:28 PM EST

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CAW President Ken Lewenza is demanding Canadian supermarket giant Loblaws Corporation provide guarantees that the jobs of 76 members employed at the company's Marystown Dominion store will be protected and that the company will keep the 30-year old store open following news the employer may close the store if a new lease deal cannot be reached by September.

"Our main objective is to keep this store open and to protect these jobs," said Lewenza. "This store is too important to the lives of our members and to the community of Marystown and we will make that point perfectly clear to the company."

Lewenza said that a meeting between top union leadership and company executives is expected in the near future.

In protest of the devastating announcement on June 16, workers at the store along with labour and community groups have circulated a petition calling on Loblaws CEO Galen Weston to remove the closure threat in the event a new shorter-term and less costly lease deal cannot be reached. So far, thousands of signatures have been collected.

Bob Orr, Assistant to the CAW National President, said it is not surprising to see the community rallying behind these workers in an effort to protect important jobs in this hard-hit community.

"Marystown, along with most of Newfoundland's Southern Coast, has been hit hard by massive job loss in recent years," Orr said. "Loblaws' threat has caused a great deal of hardship, not just for these supermarket workers but for their families, other residents of the community as well as local suppliers."

A major community rally in support of the workers will be held on Thursday July 23 involving representatives from local labour groups, local politicians and community residents.

The union and company are scheduled to open up contract negotiations in late August, months ahead of the official contract expiration date of December 6.

"We are going to exercise every possible option at our disposal to protect the jobs of our members at this store," said CAW Local 597 President Bill King.  

Loblaws operates 12 grocery stores in Newfoundland under the Dominion Stores banner, all of which are represented by CAW Local 597.


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