Workers vote to ratify new contract, ending short Alberta grocery store strike

Workers at Real Canadian Superstore and Real Canadian Liquorstore outlets in Alberta ratified a new contract Tuesday night, ending a short strike at the grocery store giant.

CALGARY — Workers at Real Canadian Superstore and Real Canadian Liquorstore outlets in Alberta ratified a new contract Tuesday night, ending a short strike at the grocery store giant.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 401 said workers voted overwhelmingly in favour of the deal — 85 per cent in Edmonton, 82 per cent in Calgary and 91 per cent in other communities.

The pact had been reached earlier this week after around-the-clock bargaining in Calgary between union negotiators and bargainers from the parent company, Loblaw.

Workers had set up picket lines at stores across the province early Sunday morning, leaving managers to run the outlets.

Details of the agreement have not been released, but the UFCW says the contract will provide significant improvements over and above the company’s last offer.

The union had recommended acceptance of the package.

Doug O’Halloran, president of the union, said he was a little surprised at the strong vote in favour of the contract.

“I was expecting about 78 per cent,” he said. “I thought there might be a few more votes no. While we got some really good things in the contract, there’s still some issues we weren’t able to achieve, for a guarantee of hours for part-time, but we got a lot of good language that will help.”

The union represents 8,500 workers at the stores in Alberta.

O’Halloran said voter turnout was about 40-45 per cent.

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