Shoppers Drug Mart strike is over

Shoppers Drug Mart workers could return to work as soon as Tuesday

After nearly three months of job action, employees of the Lakelse Shoppers Drug Mart will be returning to work as soon as Tuesday after accepting an agreement hashed out over the weekend between their union and employer.

Shoppers Drug Mart associate owner, Barb Rea, and the employees’ union, United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 1518 returned to the bargaining table on Friday.

Late Sunday, UFCW said that a new contract had been ratified by its members.

Employees walked off the job May 1st, and were fighting for a contract similar to those in the Lower Mainland. The workers were asking for wage increases, contract language improvements, a pension plan and benefits.

The new two-year contract, which will expire in 2014, includes “language improvements, a signing bonus and wage increase for all members,” said a statement by the union. The contract does not include a pension plan.

This weekend was the second attempt at negotiations since the strike began. The last round of talks, held earlier this month under the supervision of mediator Grant McArthur, ended with the employee membership rejecting the owner’s offer by a vote of 85 per cent.

There was no mediator present during this round of negotiations, with the owner and the union negotiating committee meeting face to face.

The road to an agreement was not easy, with tactics from both sides escalating over the last few weeks.

Workers will be returning to the job this week, called in to work by seniority.