Pete’s Frootique Workers Prepare for Strike

The strike is scheduled to start on Nov 18 and a solidarity rally will take place Sunday from 1-2 pm .


Preparations for a strike at Sobey’s owned Pete’s Frootique are going full steam ahead in Halifax. This past Sunday, over 40 Union members gathered at a downtown hotel for a three-hour session on how to effectively run a picket line. A second training took place last night where a similar number of employees attended.
The strike is scheduled to start on Saturday November 18 and a solidarity rally will now take place on Sunday from 1-2 pm at Pete’s Frootique, 1515 Dresden Row, in downtown Halifax.

There have been no new offers from the company since a Conciliator determined an impasse had been reached at negotiations on October 30th. A notice to strike is being sent to the Honourable Jill Balser, Minister of Labour, Skills and Immigration today.

“We are striking and fighting for a fair wage offer,” said Tyson Boyd, an employee with four years of service who currently works in the floral department. “It’s clear to us that Sobey’s is not serious about negotiating; How can you say you want to continue bargaining and at the same time offer workers a nickel?”

Pete’s Frootique pays employees $15 per hour, the provincial minimum wage, and the most recent offer from Sobey’s would provide for a 20 cent per hour raise or less for over 70% of the workers. Most would only see a five-cent increase. There are close to 100 workers in the bargaining unit.

The cost of living in Halifax is skyrocketing. According to a study published by the Center for Policy Alternatives, the increase in the cost of living in Nova Scotia is “unprecedented,” and the living wage “for two adults working full-time (35 hours a week) to support two children” is $26.50 per hour.

Last year, an investigation by the Toronto Star found that “Canada’s three largest supermarket chains are actually making money from inflation.” “A deep dive into the financial statements … reveals that these grocers are raising prices more than they have to and making Canadians pay for it.”

“I hope they’re listening, because we’ve had enough and have waited long enough,” said Nicholle Savoie an employee of four and a half years who works in the cheese department. “It’s unfortunate, but it seems going on strike will be the only way to make them listen.”

The workers are willing to head back to negotiations if there is a serious offer from Sobey’s. They don’t consider a nickel raise a serious offer.

Pete’s Frootique employees voted overwhelmingly to join SEIU Local 2 in May 2022. They were forced to wait for close to a year for the results of the vote as Sobey’s challenged the rights of several workers to be part of the Union at the Labour Board. In March 2023 Sobey’s dropped their challenge recognizing the rights of those workers. A year and a half after the vote to join SEIU and more than six months after the ballots were finally counted, workers continue to wait for a fair offer with decent wages.

“I’m not going to lie,” said Serena Gagne, a cashier who’s worked at Pete’s for four years. “Going on strike is a little nerve-wracking. But the Union trainings have really help us prepare and we deeply believe we deserve fair wages – so we’re ready.”