Nunavut Post

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Grocers pressured to get back ‘hero pay’ amongst Omicron rise


Key takeaways: 

  • Unifor president states withholding ‘hero pay’ from workers is ‘about greed.’
  • Front-line grocery employees were offered a $2-an-hour pay bump in the earlier days of the pandemic by three main grocery chains — Loblaws, Metro and Sobeys.
  • It was revoked after the first wave was reduced, but some are calling for its return amid the recent Omicron-driven wave.

Grocers pressured to get back ‘hero pay:’ 

The loss of Canada’s grocers to reinstate “hero pay” for workers amid an exponential climb in COVID-19 cases is “about greed, period,” the head of the nation’s biggest private-sector union stated Friday. Source –

Unifor national president Jerry Dias stated while front-line supermarket employees are encountering the greatest threats, executives are acquiring the largest rewards.

Top grocery bosses have cashed multi-million dollar bonuses as sales and profits skyrocket during the pandemic — even as they decline to get back pay bumps for workers, he stated.

“Workers on the front line are at risk every day and yet it’s the executives being rewarded handsomely,” Dias stated. “They’re making record profits but don’t have the decency to pay their workers what they’re worth.” Source –

Also read: Nunavut college student extends $3,900 worth of food to assist famished classmates

Pressures mounting for grocers to bring back the ‘hero pay.’

His comments come after the federal NDP critic for economic development, MP Brian Masse, mailed a letter to the heads of Canada’s largest supermarkets this week stating workers are doing dangerous work and again earn a wage premium to hold stores open and shelves stocked.

Three grocery chains — Loblaws, Metro and Sobeys — conducted a $2-an-hour pay bump in the early days of the pandemic. It was revoked after the first wave declined. 

While each chain has sporadically reintroduced either pay bonuses or other incentives, it seems none have delivered employees pay premiums as an effect of the Omicron wave.

Loblaw did not reply to numerous requests for comment, while Metro refused to comment.

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