• authored by Rich
  • published Thu, Aug 15, 2002

Anyone work at fortinos?

Heard this morning on the news that Fortinos ( a supermarket based out of Hamilton with about 14 stores or something) was going out on strike.
The company has openly threatened to bring in scabs.
Does anyone on this list know what union represents Fortinos workers and if so what are the plans to stop the scabs.


  • posted by Troll
  • Thu, Aug 15, 2002 9:01am


Aug. 15, 12:56 EDT
Fortinos strike won't shut stores
Jocelyn Bell
The Hamilton Spectator
Fortinos employees went on strike at midnight, but the company plans to use replacement workers to keep stores open.

"Things have unravelled and we're in a work stoppage situation," said Fortinos spokesperson John Thiessen.

The company's 4,200 unionized employees are expected to begin picketing this morning after negotiations dissolved yesterday.

All 18 stores in the chain will be open but the hours will be reduced. During the strike, store hours are from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday. Saturday hours are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m and on Sunday, the stores will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Thiessen said replacement workers will include managers and head office staff who will get a "crash course" on working in a grocery store.

"We will make every effort to provide customers with the quality of service they're used to," Thiessen said.

Although Thiessen declined to comment on the outstanding issues, he said Fortinos made "very fair attempts" to resolve the differences.

Sharon Gall, chief negotiator for Local 175 of the United Food and Commercial Workers union, said contract talks were both difficult and frustrating.

"We certainly spent a lot of time trying to make the employer understand our issues. At times, it felt like we were bargaining alone," she said.

The company was offering a four-year contract that included annual raises of 30 cents an hour for both full- and part-time staff.

The union wants a raise of at least 50 cents an hour in the first year of the contract. It is also seeking sick days and improvements to employee benefits and pensions.

Gall was angered by news that the company would provide replacement workers during the labour dispute.

"Hamilton is a union town. I have a hard time believing that in our city, we're going to see anyone crossing picket lines," she said.

In response, the striking workers plan to delay delivery trucks by an hour each.

  • posted by sleK
  • Thu, Aug 15, 2002 4:35pm


In response, the striking workers plan to delay delivery trucks by an hour each.

Wow! Way to pull out all the stops!
A WHOLE hour!
The company execs' must be cringing at the thought. /sarcasm

Those trucks should be delayed INDEFINITELY!
Leave it to the UFCW to come up with a solution as pansy-assed as that.

  • posted by Dougle
  • Thu, Aug 15, 2002 7:26pm

They came to Maplegrove today and held up the inbound and I think but can't confirm the outbound. They held up the inbound trucks for aprox 5-10 minutes after talking to the police. But before they could get offloaded they have to talk to security and the clerk get into a bay and hand in the paper work etc etc it was about 30 min before they got off loaded. If they were second in line it was longer. The drivers of the inbound trucks didn't even complain when they came inside. We inside are doing our part to help suport them. They are aparently going to Erin Mills tommorow, but I don't understand why The Stores get their produce and grocery only from Maplegrove not the "MILL" I've heard grumblings that their own union members have crossed the lines to go to work. Pathetic... what it's 20 hour a week to get you strike pay... If you need the income I'm pretty sure a temp agency would take you on. You would even get paid that day...

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Fri, Aug 16, 2002 6:07am

Tell us more Dougle. How many people were involved in holding up the trucks? Is management saying anything to the members at Maplegrove?

Also it would be really good to hear from any of the Fortino's members about what's happening and their take on it.

  • posted by <hamilton>
  • Fri, Aug 16, 2002 10:34am

Hamilton Spectator article


It's a question of loyalties for shoppers confronted by picket lines in the first strike ever at Fortinos grocery stores.

Do they give their brand loyalty to the business that John Fortino grew successfully from his early start in Hamilton into a major chain?

Or will trade union loyalties in a city renowned for its strong labour history make shoppers turn away, which strikers at the 11 Hamilton and area stores are counting on?

Strikers also note the 18 Fortinos stores in southern Ontario are now part of the Loblaws and Weston family business empire.

Yesterday, on the first day of the strike by the 4,200 employees, pickets would cheer and applaud as shoppers agreed to go elsewhere.

"We are overwhelmed by the support and it's what we expect in Hamilton," says Sharon Gall, chief negotiator for Local 175 of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.

But management staff for the Fortinos franchise operators were also at the entrances and urging customers to come inside.

Fortinos spokesman John Thiessen stresses that the stores are operating and "we have plenty of staff and product."

And many customers, sometimes averting their eyes from the pickets and cashiers they have come to know, were going in.

Customer Dave Simpson, who is self-employed, says he has no trade union loyalty and wasn't hesitant about crossing the line.

"I was actually hoping there would be some manager's specials with the strike," he says.

He came out with bags of groceries. Inside the store, there was plenty of milk and baked goods. But deli and butcher shop counters and the crushed-ice carousels for salads were bare.

Pickets say they have been successful in turning away or delaying many delivery trucks.

At the Dundurn Place store yesterday, trucks were being told by pickets to wait an hour and half before they could enter.

Police are monitoring the strike in Hamilton and the three stores in Burlington. There are also stores in Brampton, North York, Etobicoke, Woodbridge and Maple.

Police labour relations officer John Thomson in Hamilton says because it's a first strike at the stores, there are "growing pains on every side" as acceptable protocols for delaying deliveries are negotiated.

At some stores, it's a half-hour wait. But at the Dundurn store, managers were going out to a delivery van loaded with cakes and carrying them into the store rather than have the van wait 90 minutes.

Thiessen declined to elaborate in detail on the major issues in the dispute and the current wage rates because, he says, it is hoped negotiators for both sides will soon be able to get back to bargaining.

The strike is actually a "puzzler" because Fortinos thought there was a deal last week which was recommended for approval by union negotiators, he says.

Gall says the employees -- more than 3,000 of whom are part time -- are angry and voted down the tentative deal.

It's a reversal of the situation in 1998 when union negotiators recommended rejection of a deal but employees voted narrowly to accept it.

Gall says sometimes it takes some workers longer than others to get upset about conditions and they are all a lot angrier than four years ago.

For the 900 full-time employees, a major issue is sick pay. Full-time non-union employees in some of the boutique areas of the supersized stores get sick pay but full-time union members in the stores do not, says Gall.

Both full- and part-time employees want more than the 30-cent hourly increase offered. It takes part-time clerks and cashiers eight years to climb from the starting rate of $6.85 to $10.69 hourly, she says.

During the strike, Fortinos stores have reduced hours to 10 a.m to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Some store departments will be closed.

Retail analyst John Williams says profit margins are thin in the grocery industry and Fortinos will obviously lose some market share to competitors if the strike drags on.

Despite the surprising breakdown in this round of bargaining, the chain has a history of successful contract negotiations and management practices.

And because it is a dominant player in the Hamilton area with limited competition and loyal customers, Fortinos will get shoppers back quickly when the strike is over, says Williams of J. C. Williams Group.

On the other hand, Gall says at this point loyalty to Fortinos does not exist in the minds of the striking employees.

You can contact Peter Van Harten at or at 905-526-3328.

  • posted by weiser
  • Fri, Aug 16, 2002 1:28pm


The strike is actually a "puzzler" because Fortinos thought there was a deal last week which was recommended for approval by union negotiators, he says.

Sounds a lot like what happened at Zehrs.

Bargaining is blowing up in the UFCW's face time and time again. The Power Source is fed up with sliding deeper and deeper into poverty.

The UFCW didn't expect Power Source resolve with Zehrs, Saskatchewan Superstores, Thunder Bay Safeway, and now Hamilton Fortinos.

I think this article sounds pretty familiar

  • posted by Dougle
  • Fri, Aug 16, 2002 2:16pm

There were only 3 people holding up the truck and managment said that they knew that they were going out but they thought that they would be out last week. Managment at Maplegrove aren' t that worried. No one from Frotino's was there today business as usual.

  • posted by <ejd>
  • Fri, Aug 16, 2002 3:27pm

just to give u an idea about local 175 when they represented us at the fortinos warehouse,,we were $6 an hour less than 1000a..thats a small example of how archaeic and outdated their contract is...

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