New Agreement at Zellers Warehouse: Strike Over, Solidarity Wins the Day

October 2, 2009, 2:15 PM EST

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CAW Local 1000 members at the Zellers warehouse in Scarborough, Ontario have voted 83 per cent in favour of a new three-year agreement that brings to an end a lengthy strike by 310 workers.

Bob Orr, assistant to the CAW president, said it was a tough and at times frustrating dispute that required great solidarity from the membership. The new agreement provides wage increases in the second and third years as well as a $1,000 signing bonus.

"We were able to move the employer away from several of their harshest proposals and the vote is reflective of the memberships' acceptance and support of what was bargained and the work of the bargaining committee," Orr said.  

"The time and effort that our members spent in fighting the employer's agenda was nothing short of courageous," Orr said. "The involvement of other CAW Locals and area offices from coast to coast was extremely helpful in sending a message of solidarity to our Zellers Local 1000 members and the employer."

CAW plant chairperson Stephen Moses said the settlement underscores not only the importance of solidarity among the workers, but also the importance of belonging to a strong national union. "Without the backing and support of a strong national union like the CAW we would not have been able to fight back effectively," Moses said.

Moses thanked CAW National President Ken Lewenza, Bob Orr and other staff as well as the membership for working hard to raise awareness of the struggle of this group of workers and for keeping the dispute in the public eye.
In support of these striking warehouse workers, many of who are new Canadians, CAW members and locals held protests, demonstrations, information pickets and other events from British Columbia to Pointe-Claire, Quebec.

At the start of bargaining many months ago the company had demanded drastic wage and benefit cuts. The strike, which began July 16, was a direct result of the employer's demands for far reaching concessions. 

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