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Strike begins at some Ontario Loblaw stores

Employees at nine stores in Windsor area are out; stores will stay open

A strike was underway Thursday at nine stores in southwestern Ontario owned by Loblaw Companies.

Workers walked out at midnight at three Zehrs Great Foods outlets in Windsor and another in nearby Kingsville, and at two Real Canadian Superstore outlets in Windsor and at stores in Chatham, Leamingston and Sarnia.

The United Food and Commercial Workers union says 1,600 workers are involved in the legal strike and that negotiations toward a new contract will resume today.

READ: Loblaw workers reject tentative deal

Loblaw, however, says all nine stores will remain open, but with modified store hours (10 a.m. to 8 p.m.) and a reduction of some in-store services.

"In light of the union's decision to reject our offer and to strike, we have turned our attention to serving local customers and supporting our colleagues who will continue to serve them in all nine stores," Kevin Groh, Loblaw's vice-president of corporate affairs, said in a statement Thursday.

UFCW locals 175 and 633 broke off negotiations on May 5 and a subsequent strike vote was 97 per cent in favour.

The union has said the key issues in the dispute are wages, work schedules, benefits and limits on third party providers.

The two UFCW locals represent a total of 28,000 grocery workers at Loblaws Great Food and Superstore, Zehrs, Zehrs Great Food and Superstore, and Fortinos.

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