Loblaw and the union representing 26,000 of its employees reached a breakthrough in the impasse that prompted a strike at nine stores and imposed a deadline for a strike at another 60.
After two days of negotiations, the United Food and Commercial Workers union said on Friday it appeared to have reached an agreement for Loblaw to amend the June 2 offer and has changed the strike deadline for 60 stores in the Greater Toronto Area to 12:01 a.m. July 11 from 12:01 a.m. July 5.
"Your union believes it's important for our members to have the opportunity to examine and vote on the amended offer," the union said on its website. "Should this amended offer be rejected, the strike will commence on … July 11 at 12:01 a.m. at all 60 Loblaws Great Food and Superstore locations across the province."
The union added that ratification votes are scheduled across the province from July 5 to July 8. The Ministry of Labour is involved in the discussions and has ordered a media blackout on the parties. Sixty-one per cent of the membership voted to reject the offer by Loblaw.
Employees at nine stores representing 1,600 workers from Locals 175 and 633 in the Windsor, Ont., area are currently on strike as of Thursday morning after the deadline for that deadlock passed without an agreement. Strike action will continue at the nine stores in the meantime.
Local 1000A represents 12,000 of the employees and Locals 175 and 633 represent 14,000.
The union has been divided on the agreements as a portion of the membership representing 50 stores operating as Zehrs, Loblaws, Great Food and Real Canadian Superstores in central and north central Ontario agreed to the six-year deal.
The union has said that wages, schedules, benefits and limits on third-party providers are at issue. Part-time clerks working the lowest number of hours would receive minimum wage (currently $11) for the life of the proposed contract.
"Our senior members are telling us that they made sacrifices for the company, when they needed it most, to help the business grow," read a July 1 statement on the Local 1000A website. "Now, the business is doing well, they expect more and a fair share of those profits."