Precarious and Political: Retail Workers’ Struggle and Union Renewal in Ontario Supermarkets


Friday March 24, 2017 12-4pm
Thomas Lounge (@ Oakham House)
Ryerson University
63 Gould St, Toronto, ON M5B 1E9


Over the past two years, major breakthroughs have been made for low-wage workers in unionized supermarkets across Ontario. Recent rounds of collective bargaining, involving tens of thousands of grocery workers in major supermarket chains, have resulted in significant improvements to scheduling practices, work hour protections and wages. Within Ontario’s retail industry – one plagued by the demise of good-paying, full-time jobs and the rise of lower-paid, irregular part-time work – the recent experience of supermarket workers has been a positive development. But is it an isolated one?

Do these contract gains represent a victory for union members, alone? Or does it serve as a beacon of hope to all retail workers that meaningful and material workplace change is possible, through collective action?

Join us for this interactive afternoon session, where we’ll explore the outcomes of supermarket bargaining and contract negotiations in the context of broader union renewal strategies. We’ll also interrogate how these gains in collective bargaining intersect with building a culture of political activism among low-wage workers to combat precarious work, including through the Fight for $15 and Fairness movement. The session will include a panel discussion followed by facilitated table discussions.

All are welcome.

Register soon:

Registration is FREE, but space is limited.

Please RSVP to Sonia Douville no later than March 15, 2017:

A light lunch will be provided to all participants.

Sponsored by:

The Global Labour Research Centre, in partnership with Unifor and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW)


Audio | Stephanie Ross


Audio | Angelo DiCaro


Audio | Tim Deelstra


Audio | Pam Frache