Protests outside Loblaws on Carlton and Church streets

Protesters gathered outside the Loblaws Thursday afternoon on Carlton and Church streets, right off Ryerson’s Mattamy Athletic Centre, to speak out against what they said were low wages.

Employees of the Confederation of National Trade Unions — known by its French initials, CSN — from Abitibi-Teminscaminque, Que., have travelled and protested in several Montreal regions, as well Sherbrooke, Que., and now are in Ontario to raise awareness of their cause.

Glenda Woodbury, treasurer of the CSN union in Temiscamingue, says that some of Loblaws’ lowest-paid employees have asked for a three per cent raise, which is about an additional 40 cents per hour.

She also mentioned that an employee who has worked for more than 20 years at the chain has made a fixed wage of $12.40 an hour.

According to the union, Loblaw Companies CEO Galen Weston Jr. has refused to negotiate the raises for workers at the Rouyn-Noranda, Que., Maxi store. Maxi is a discount grocery retailer based in Quebec; it is a subsidiary of Loblaw.

“What we’re doing here is to make people aware of our situation and maybe it’ll get through to Galen.” says Woodbury. “We want to negotiate a fair contract.”

Ryerson’s MAC — formely known as Maple Leaf Gardens, a little-used building — has been developed jointly by Loblaw and Ryerson. The university paid for one-third of the $60 million in renovations.

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