Grocery execs paid millions while denying pandemic pay to workers

TORONTO, Jan. 4, 2022 /CNW/ – Top executives at Canada’s grocery giants have been paid millions in bonuses while continuing to deny pandemic pay to frontline essential grocery workers. 

“These same executives took away $2 an hour pandemic pay from their workers after only a few weeks of the first wave back in June 2020,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “The CEO’s and top execs continue to reap the rewards of COVID-19 boosted sales while their workers face the risks to keep food on the table for Canadians.”

The Globe and Mail reports that executives at Metro Inc., Loblaw Companies Ltd. and Sobeys parent company Empire Company Ltd. received near maximum personal bonuses during their most recent fiscal years. In the past two fiscal years, Empire CEO Michael Medline made more than $20 million including stock options. In its last fiscal year, Metro paid CEO Eric La Flèche more than $5 million, including stocks and options, while Loblaw Executive Chairman Galen G. Weston made $3.55 million and now retired President Sarah Davis more than $4.5 million.

With major grocery chains poised to maintain record sales in 2022, as restrictions increase to combat the highly contagious Omicron variant, Unifor is reiterating calls for the immediate reinstatement of the $2 pandemic pay for workers.

“The salaries and bonuses for those at the top are supported by a business structure that refuses to provide full-time jobs to frontline workers, with many of their part-time workforce only receiving a pay increase when minimum wage goes up,” said Unifor Assistant to the National President Chris MacDonald. “Many of these workers are struggling to get by while their corporate bosses are rewarded with multi-million dollar payouts.”  


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