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Sobeys employees at Vaughan distribution centre walk off the job

Grocery chain says it's 'disappointed' with decision, believes it put forward a 'fair' deal
Oct. 16, 2023

Over 100 Sobeys employees in Vaughan have walked off the job Sunday in what they say is part of the beginning of a strike against the grocery giant.

In a series of posts on X, formerly known as Twitter, Teamsters Local 419 said members of their union who work at Sobeys Vaughan Distribution Centre voted overwhelmingly for the job action due to "a low ball offer" and other grievances. The strike officially started on Saturday.

"Each grocery distribution centre can handle anywhere from 80 to 150 stores so we believe that this will definitely affect the grocery chain," said Jason Sweet, the president and principal officer of the union, in a statement to CBC Toronto.

"No talks are scheduled at this time. The members are stronger than ever and willing to do what ever it takes."

The union said talks between the grocery chain and union members broke down earlier this week.

On the picket line, Chophel Tseten told CBC Toronto that wages are members' main sticking point, but they are also hoping for improvements in pension and benefits. 

"We're making sure that no products go in and out," said Tseten, a strike captain.

"We're just asking for a competitive rate."

Sobeys said it was "disappointed" with the decision to strike, in a statement to CBC Toronto.

"We have negotiated diligently with the Teamsters to reach an agreement and believe that we have put forward a fair and market-competitive offer," said the company.

Sobeys says it's ready to return to the bargaining table and is hoping for a "swift resolution."

"We can assure you that serving our customers continues to be a top priority, and we are working hard to ensure there is minimal impact on them."

The workers are going on strike a couple months after thousands of Metro employees ended their month-long strike in August.