June 24th, 2020

Gates: Ford must force big grocery stores to reinstate pandemic pay for workers

NIAGARA FALLS – NDP MPP Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls) has urged Doug Ford to intervene after major grocery store operators like Loblaws and Walmart scrapped the $2 wage increase for workers before the pandemic is over. Gates condemned this decision and called on Ford use his powers to get these billion dollar companies to immediately reinstate pandemic pay for the workers.

“When this pandemic began, billion dollar companies like Loblaws and Walmart couldn’t wait to call their workers heroes. Yet, just three months later, now that it’s not in the news – the billionaire families that own these companies have clawed back the $2 pandemic pay they gave their workers," said Gates in the Ontario legislature.

"The Walton family of Walmart is worth over $190 billion. The Weston family, who are Canadians and own Loblaws are worth almost $9 billion. These greedy families are raking in record profits during this pandemic, while their workers are still working at their own risk on the frontlines to keep our communities safe and put food on our shelves.”

Gates pointed out that many local grocers, including one in Niagara Falls, are still doing the right thing by paying their workers extra as the pandemic continues, while Walmart and Loblaws had suddenly clawed back the benefit despite making record profits during this crisis. Loblaw’s profits for example soared by almost 21 per cent in the first three months of 2020, compared to this time last year.

"In Niagara Falls, it’s actually the small independent, locally owned grocery stores that are paying for the pandemic pay out of their own pockets. Will your Government, commit here today, to stand up for these frontline heroes whose raises have been taken away by the billionaire families like those that own Walmart and Loblaws. Will you commit to using the powers of this Government to get their raises back?,” Gates said to the premier.