Monday, July 11, 2005

Loblaws and John Lederer Rule Canadian Retail Market - For Now!

Loblaws and Loblaws Presdent John Lederer are ruling the Canadian retail world at this time. In a move that is sure to win approval on Toronto's Bay Street, Lederer is taking dead aim at the UFCW Union. Lederer is determined to cut his single biggest expense - wages - by converting Zehrs, Loblaws and Fortino stores into RCSS and No Frills stores and in doing so he'll either limit the effectiveness or completely break the union.

For those of you reading this, that currently work for Zehrs - well you don't. You are working for LCL (Loblaws Companies Limited). The executives at Zehrs are merely puppets on a string. (Ken Code, you should be ashamed) There is no Zehrs - only LCL. Forget about loyalty. Things are NOT the way they used to be. Things will NEVER be the way they used to be . . .

With four announced Zehrs store conversions to the No Frills banner, many jobs are at stake both now and in the immediate future. Sure there are those with enough senority to bump into other stores. But what happens to those that get bumped out the door? What happens in a few years when there are no Zehrs stores to bump into?

Yes, I can hear you saying, "But, we can still go to work at No Frills."

Sure you can. But at what cost?

Here is the offer to the part time employees, as I see it. (Feel free to write and correct me if I'm mistaken.)

A part time employee with 10 years senority will be offered 1.5 weeks pay for every year of service to a maximum of $10,000.00 If the employee is making $400.00 per week and actually has 10 years of service he would receive $400.00 x 1.5 x 10 = $6000.00 to transfer to the No Frills. After taxes and other deductions the employee would receive approximately $4,000.00. This is the good news.

Employees with 10 Years Service will Lose $6.69/Hour

Here is the bad news. The employee with 10 years service, who is likely at top rate of $15.19 per hour will slot in at the 2601 hourly rate at No Frills. According the the chart provided by the union, the hourly rate for employees at 2601 hours is the princely sum of $8.50 per hour. A drop of $15.19 - $8.50 = $6.69 per hour!

A 44% Wage Cut

So, we work for years to get to a decent wage rate and along come our pals at Loblaws and stab us in the back. While the cost of everything - housing, gas, cars, clothes and yes, Food - RISES, Loblaws wants to CUT our wages!

What is our union doing about this mess? What they usually do - not much. they have launched complaints with the Labour Relations Board. While the company has been planning this action for months if not years, it seems that our union president has been planning his retirement and our secretary-treasurer has been planning his next meal. If we lose these cases, we are in big trouble folks.

Friday, December 17, 2004

D-Day for Loblaws, Lederer and Strathroy Zehrs

Today is decision day for Loblaws, Loblaws President John Lederer and the employees at the Stratroy Zehrs store. The mediation will come to an end today and there will either be an agreement or this entire mess will go back to the Ontario Labour Relations Board for a ruling. Stay tuned for a further update.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Time to Ask Loblaws and Lederer some Questions

Throughout the short history of this Blog I have repeatedly asked for suggestions about what we can do to help save the Strathroy Zehrs Store. The results have been dismal to say the least.

So, here is my idea. Let's ask Loblaws and Mr. Lederer some questions. I propose that we start an email/mail/telephone barrage on John Lederer and the head office of Loblaws. Please note that we shouldn't start making wild accusations and using profanity. In fact, this would be counter productive! No matter hwo much you may feel that those at the Loblaws Head Office are *&^%$#*@ idiots - DO NOT say so!

Our cause will be best served by the volume of messages that we send and the questions that we ask. Here are some questions that deserve answers . . .

1) Why do you want to close a store that has had the highest sales in its region for the last three years?
2) Why are you closing stores at a time when you have had a quarterly profit in excess of $268,000,000.00?
3) Why did you insist on last years RCSS agreement if you didn't intend to honour that contract?
4) Do you plan to close more Zehrs Stores in the future? If so, which ones?
5) Do you know how much hardship you are going to cause to this small community?

By asking questions like this you will show Loblaws and John Lederer that you are concerned and you will force them to actually respond to your questions. We need to get aggressive - we cannot afford to remain passive. Stores in Tillsonburg, Alliston, Guelph or ?????? could be next. The time for action is NOW!

Send your questions and concerns to:

Mr. John Lederer, Loblaws President
22 St. Clair Ave. E
Toronto, ON M4T 2S7


Friday, December 03, 2004

Loblaws Q3 profit up 18%

Loblaws sales and profits are up! The following is for those of you who may believe that Loblaws isn't doing well financially. This is a report from the CBC and the $258 million figure is Loblaws profit for the quarter!

Loblaws Q3 profit up 18%
Last Updated Fri, 19 Nov 2004 16:23:07 EST

TORONTO - Grocery retailer Loblaw Companies Ltd. said Friday its third-quarter earnings grew by more than 18 per cent over the previous year.

The Toronto-based company said it made $258 million (94 cents a share), up from $218 million (79 cents a share) a year earlier.

Six analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had forecast Loblaws earnings would average 92 cents in the quarter.

Sales for the third quarter increased 6 per cent to $8.1 billion from $7.7 billion in 2003, and the company said that all regions across the country experienced sales growth over the prior year.

The company also that sales growth in non-food categories continued to surpass that of food categories in the third quarter, a trend seen in previous quarters.

Loblaws said its same-store sales grew by 1.5 per cent in the quarter.

Following the end of the quarter, Loblaws said it launched reorganizations of its merchandising, procurement and operations groups.

"The company believes these changes will make it a more efficient and effective operation, helping to better serve its customers and fortify its position as a strong, competitive force in Canadian retailing," the firm said.

Loblaws expects continued good sales and net earnings growth for the remaining quarter of 2004. "We expect this trend to continue into 2005," Loblaws said.

Shares of the Loblaws were off 51 cents at $68.80 on the TSX.

Written by CBC News Online staff
Headlines: Business

Loblaws and Lederer

Loblaws and Lederer, what kind of people are they? If you've read the previous post you know that the mediation process has been extended and that the date for the next session is December 17th. If the mediation doesn't result in a settlement, formal Board proceedings will begin on December 20th which means that there will only be 19 days for a decision to be made until the announced closing of the store.
19 days which includes the Xmas and New Years Holidays . . . . Given the speed that the OLRB has operated at in the past, a decision within this period of time is rather doubtful. Which prompts this question:

Will Loblaws and Lederer Close the store
if no decison is made before January 8th?

Loblaws will have a choice to leave the store open or close it up, throwing people out of work at that time. If it comes to this, we'll really see what kind of people are running the Loblaws Companies. Will Loblaws leave the store open and keep people working or will Loblaws close the store as planned? We'll see.

Zehrs Strathroy Mediation Extended

E-News from UFCW Local 1977


December 2, 2004

After two full days of mediation on the UFCW Local 1977 Unfair Labour Practices complaint against Zehrs the union and the company agreed to meet again on Friday, December 17, the next available date for the Mediator. The parties met at the offices of the Ontario Labour Relations Board in Toronto on November 30 and December 2.

OLRB Chair Kevin Whitaker, who is also acting as Mediator, has imposed a news blackout on the mediation proceedings until they are concluded.
Should mediation not result in a settlement, formal Board proceedings on Local 1977's complaint will begin on December 20.

"I know how difficult the waiting is for those who will be affected by
the outcome of these talks at the labour board," said Local 1977
President Brian Williamson. "The anxiety in the Strathroy store is
understandably very high, as well as in those stores that could be
affected by bumps resulting from a Strathroy closing.

"We are making every possible effort to reach a mediated settlement
that respects our Zehrs members' collective bargaining agreement
rights. We are prepared to talk around the clock if there is any chance
whatsoever of achieving this goal."

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

New Feature

Want to make a comment about an article or someone else's comments? Now you can see them all on the first page. Just put your name (or store #)and your comment in the box and click on 'TAG'. You can still make comments for individual articles by clicking on the word 'Comments'.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Ideas - Not Complaints

This item is in response to a comment that was critical of the way this blog is being handled and said that it was in poor taste. Point taken, however if you had taken the time to read ALL of the posts you would have seen that the purpose of the blog is to generate ideas to help the people in Strathroy. It is clear that you believe that your job is not in jeopardy or you wouldn't be so cavalier in your approach to this situation. Also, you have failed to leave us with any constructive ideas.
Anyone can criticize something . . . Take some time, think what you would do if YOUR job was about to end in six weeks and post those thoughts. I'd like to challenge everyone to use the 'put-a-gun-to-your-head' mentality to come up with some positive ideas.
What would you do if it was your job that was going to be lost?

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Loblaws President Lederer Speaks

I think that it is important for all of us to understand the kind of people that we are dealing with. In 2002, the Green Peace Organization requested that Loblaws do a better job labelling its PC and NoName brands with regard to genetically engineered ingredients. Mr. Lederer wrote back to Green Peace and stated that Loblaws would not make any changes in policy. In that letter, the Loblaws President stated (this is a direct quote!)

"I am sure you can appreciate that as a retailer, it is important to act responsibly according to well-defined government standards."

'Act responsibly according to well-defined government standards' - does anyone think he is acting responsibly now? Hardly! And,'well-defined government standards' seem to have nothing to do with Loblaws blatant flaunting of this Provinces' Labour Laws.

In short, use the law if it suits your purpose - and break it if you want!

Its Time to Get Creative

Time is running out if the jobs of the Zehrs employees in Strathroy are to be saved. There is only about 7 weeks until the store is closed. We need some ideas. We need to find a way (or ways) to make the brass at Loblaws change their minds.

We could try to shame them into changing their minds but it's really hard to shame people that have no morals and no sense of right or wrong. We could try to reason with them, but from all reports, Loblaws President, John Lederer debates issues much the same as Ken Code. In case you haven't seen this show before, it goes something like this: first he disagrees with you and then when he doesn't have a valid reason for his actions, he gets all red in the face and begins to yell - louder and louder, displaying all the diplomacy and tact of Attila the Hun.

No, I don't think that shame will work with these people. What's will work? I don't know and we need to figure this out soon. If you've got any ideas, please, lets hear them! Just click on the 'Comment' found at the bottom of each post and let us hear your thoughts. You don't have to give your name but it would be nice to see your store number.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

The Current Situation

At this point in time, numerous meeting have been held between the union and the company. UFCW National Director, Michael Fraser has met with both Loblaws Industrial Relations Vice President Roy Conliff and with Loblaws President John Lederer. The company is still insisting that the union ignore the RCSS Agreement that they wanted in the first place. First they want a new agreement and now they don't want to abide by it!

The union has responded in two ways with the Ontario Labour Relations Board. An Unfair Labour Practices complaint has been submitted and a Successor Rights Application is being prepared. If the Successor Rights Application is successful it is likely that the union will ask that the existing agreement continue to apply in the new operation.

Doing what is right does not seem to be a priority with the people at Loblaws. They are intent on watching out for their bottom line at the expense of anyone that may get in the way. In this case, the people in the way are from Strathroy. Is your store next?

Just so that we are clear about this situation - the Strathroy Zehrs store has had the highest sales of all Zehrs stores in its region for the last 3 years in a row. This is not a lame duck store that is losing money!

We are dealing with a company that increasingly shows that it has no dignity, no class and no honour. It is hard to work for such an employer and now it is impossible to trust them.

Information from Strathroy

There has been a great deal of talk regarding the Strathroy situation and recently, in an attempt to set the record straight, the employees of the Strathroy store sent out a "Message to all Zehrs Staff from #541 Strathroy". Here are the basic points from that letter:

- Sept. 23/04 Ken Code, Glen Gonder and David Graf(Loblaws) visited the Strathroy Zehrs and informed the staff that on Jan.8/05 the store would close and become a NoFrills unless the staff could convince the union to waive the existing store clause in the RCSS Agreement and treat the expansion of the store as if it were a new store

- the staff formed a committee of 7 people to meet with the union

- Loblaws wish to make changes for 3 reasons. They are (1) the town of Strathroy is in the process of approving a big box retail mall with some 500,000 sq. ft. and (2) they want to convert their stores to RCSS and NoFrills to meet the perceived threat of Walmart and (3) a change in the accounting laws means that they will lose additional monies in taxes if they have to close stores and build new ones. (This loss of revenue will impact earnings which will impact share price.)

- THE STAFF IN STRATHROY HAS NEVER VOTED ON AN OFFER OF ANYTHING! There is no offer in front of the employees - only the union can authorize a vote. The ONLY choice that the staff has is to accept a bump or take severance if offered.

- the union cannot allow the change over to an RCSS (the Strathroy store does NOT meet the criteria of the RCSS Agreement) without violating the collective agreement. This would establish a precedent and employees at other stores would then have a legal issue with the union for violating the contract. The union position is that they must try to protect the rights of ALL the union members in local 1977.

- this is a complicated issue and your help is needed. Ask your supervisors why the company is closing this store without giving them the chance to compete. Let them know that you are concerned. This is important. It affects ALL of us!

- to keep up to date on this situation, bookmark this site and return often. You can also send your email adddress to to get updates,

Monday, November 15, 2004

Loblaws Sucks!

If you are reading this you are likely a Loblaws or Zehrs employee and if you are like me there are lots of days when you think that the Loblaws companies truly suck. Constant cutting of hours, greater expectations by senior staff and adverse working conditions are concerns for all of us. Some days, just the idea of going to work can be painful! But those kinds of problems are not what this site is all about. This site is not here for you to express your personal problems and concerns. It is here for one reason only and that is to help the people in the Strathroy Zehrs Store.
For those of you that don't know what a Blog is, lets just say that it's a different kind of web site. Not only will you get to read the opinions that I have - you'll be able to add your own thoughts and opinions! This is an interactive experience and while you can be sure that I have opinions regarding Zehrs and Loblaws, I really want you to express your thoughts and ideas too. I believe that together we can come up with ideas that will help the Strathroy Zehrs staff and ultimately help all of us to keep our jobs.
If by some chance, you are reading this and you don't know what is happening in Strathroy then be sure to read on. Your store could be next!
Wild Card