Cornwall Labour Prez & City Councilor Elaine MacDonald Shows Zero Solidarity for Montreal Loblaws Workers – March 4, 2012

CFN –  I have always felt that workers needed protection from abusive management.   As a young person I worked in factories and the hospitality trades; both areas famous for being tough and hard jobs tough on their employees.

The Union movements were needed when created, but what’s happened over the years?   Where is the protection and support for workers?

Covering stories here in Cornwall there is one stream of consistency other than abuses by City management, and that’s the capitulation of Unions in protecting their employees?   Is it fear of losing jobs or unionization?  Is it capitulation to management?   Has the union movement simply been infiltrated and taken over by people like Labour Council Poobah Elaine MacDonald here in Cornwall Ontario?

Ms MacDonald is also a city Councilor.   Recently I covered an event here in Cornwall; a protest over the Harper government proposed cuts to Pensions.

I asked Elaine what she thought about Loblaws shutting down their distribution centre in Montreal, and the loss of jobs to 600 or so unionized staff making between $20-$30 per hour and opening a centre here in Cornwall that would be a non-union plant.

What was most disturbing about her answers was the complete lack of compassion and empathy for those about to lose their jobs.

I spoke with Ms Julija Hunter from Loblaws who had the following to say:

“At this time, I’m not in a position to discuss future plans for our land in Cornwall or discuss our supply chain network strategy as it pertains to Montreal.”


What do you think valued viewers of the Cornwall Free News?  Is Cornwall about to become a haven for companies trying to ditch Unions, language laws, and high taxes in Quebec in favour of lower cost non-union labour here in Cornwall Ontario?

Is Loblaws being fair to its workforce if it does this or just trying to survive against the brutal competition from Walmart as it encroaches more and more into the grocery biz?

You can post your comments below.

Cornwall Free News


  1. I find this very ironic . Last week it was kick down her colleague and now her and Mr Gardiner are trying to save political face with this stand! Ya !

  2. Let’s look at basics.
    If you have a facility in Quebec your work force is forced to comunicate in French only, period bill 101.
    Reality at the moment is that English is the world wide language of commerce. Now 10 years down the road it may well be Mandrin, but now it is English. If Lablows has “John McIntosh” or a “Cynthia Doyle” in their employ whose next step up the managerial ladder would be to run a distribution center and they are unilingual English speakers then they are unable to take that step if the Center is in Quebec (bill 101 again). Now I have nothing against Bill 101 I think it is a great thing for a people to preserve its language, but if it interfers with the running of my company I would do as Loblaws is doing and move to a locality that allows me to promote my people regardless of their mother toungue.

    I am surprised that more companies are not doing the same thing.

  3. Based on the revolution of retailing, Loblaws (Provigo) is just another commercial enterprise trying to cater to its customers within a hostile regulated and competitive environment. Past competitors such as Steinberg’s Supermarket have cancelled operations due to such environmental pressures. The ultimate faith of all commercial enterprises remains in their abilities and willingness to survive compliance and delivery pressures enforced by all stakeholders especially by fee paying customers. Unions have regulated themselves out of markets willingness to absorb compliance cost. State bodies have taken over governing controls of private enterprises that only those organization engaged in fascist crony corporatism will remain in operations over time. Private capital is fleeing. Elaine MacDonald is still promoting the socialist ideas that private enterprises are abusing customers, employees and governments. But the reality is that private capital is fleeing the abusive environments imposed by socialist state agencies. Private capital is fleeing to where confidential capital is treated well. Even Cornwall doesn’t treat private capital very well but capital is being mistreated in Quebec. Even the Bank of Montreal does not have its head office in the city of Montreal, Quebec. Where you running to store your private confidential capital? The return of capital is more important than the return on capital.

  4. Author

    Darcy maybe, just maybe, we need responsible regulation so that masses of jobs don’t leave our country? Maybe if we didn’t let the Walmart’s of the world keep factories busy in places like China where manufacturers not only have lower labour costs, but don’t have environmental or any real sort of rules. Dump toxic waste into the water, whoopdie do in China. Up the protein content in baby milk with death inflicting substances. No problems!

    The society we live in here has costs. If enough people want to maintain it then you simply can’t allow items and foods to be sent in willy nilly with almost no regulation from places like China.

    Like we can’t grow apples in Canada? Or Garlic? It’s a very scary and hypocritical world where choices are being made for us without our consent.

  5. Poor Loblaws.
    Wednesday November 16, 2011… Loblaw Companies Ltd. reported a 19.8% jump in third-quarter profit.

  6. That’s funny. Galen Weston announces that farmer’s markets are dangerous to the public’s health, and his profits take a 20% jump! Gotta love that guy.

  7. Who cares what company comes to Cornwall the youths and adults here can’t get the job, to many petty criminal records have made it impossible to work ,But i guess we can import from Toronto, If local politicans want to do something positive for the community they would fight for the rights of these people.If you think im crazy ask Drake the percentage who they can hire? How can city council be so unaware of whats going on?

  8. @Admin…we give our consent by how, when and where we spend our $$$’s.

  9. Cornwall has,, for many years, been a city taking in companies from Montreal having issues with unions.

    Marconi, Satisfied Brkae just to name a couple. But it is a good situation here and we should not speak out on what is happening in Quebec unless we fully understand the situation

  10. This warehouse in Cornwall will be built because Ottawa is way too small to operate forever.Jim Galloway Distribution Manager of Ottawa and has left and has moved on to Ajax.He was running his rearend off for months at both ends trying to keep operations going because of turmoil at Ajax with employee difficulties.2015 in Ottawa is the termination of their contract and in 2012 the contract is written no guarantee of 40 hrs a week until the contract ends in 2015.The end of Ottawa is written on the walls boys,wake up and smell the coffee.

  11. One thing about Ottawa though and Toronto congradulated them on was they are the best and only standing company to survive the infastructure changes that management and employees made in the buisness to survive not being closed and helped Loblaws immensley and I congardulate each and everyone of you you should be proud lads your a good bunch!!

  12. Where is our pm this week ? worldwind tour of the world as a “salesman” for Canada ..most PM`s do that sort of thing when they are getting close to leaving office …to say sayonara to their politiccal buddies…if jobs come here ..who are we to say no! just hate to see a third party company like” Drake” act like a hiring personel.. you have to pay them for getting the job for you.. that `s what Canada manpower used to do.. get the job for you as a Canadian charge, you could get off unemployment….. hate to have pay someone else for a job …that is what Ms Macdonald should be angry about..this third party hiring system that costs a worker to get a job..

  13. Exactly right Jamie, unions were once needed when created, there is no longer a need.

    George to give you a heads up, the english in Ontario are fighting language here….

    The unions are to blame for job loses and they are hanging on for dear life to survive because of all the closures. They are a political group and depending on the elected party they get support from the gov. In Canada it is the NDP and in the USA, the Democrats.

    The Unions really don’t care about job loses, their big concern is losing dues from the membership. It is just a business to them and right now they are running scared.

    Yes once upon a time they may have been needed, but times have changed and they have become redundant.

  14. Jamie……the key point here is the Montreal employees were earning between $20 and $30. an hour working at a distribution center. Does that not sound somewhat strange?

    Of course the distribution centre will move to another place and if the new hires are smart, they will not get unionized. Is it not the union that drove the place to close by negotiating the salaries and benefits? It gets to the point that it is not feasible for a company to remain where they are if they are barely keeping their head above water.

  15. Author

    But Stella darling don’t you need unionized higher wages to support official bilingualism? Couldn’t we for example (tongue in cheek for dumb people) get cheaper uni-lingual employees than bilingual ones 🙂

  16. Yup. Now that the unions have given us the five day forty-hour work week, safety rules on work site, living wages, and trivial stuff like that, they should be thrown out and declared illegal. Our working conditions and wages should be the same as those in China or Somalia.
    We’re sure heading in that direction, n’est-ce pas?

  17. Jamie….what does language have to do with it?

  18. With the Ontario Health & Safety Act, Labour Relations, Employment Standards, minimum wages and agencies/boards/commissions that we have, there is a lesser need for most unions.

    Management could reduce costs without a team of lawyers and negotiators looking out for the company interest and either hire more or give you a Christmas turkey.
    That cellophane plant – BCL – in the east end told the union in the 80’s, go on strike and we will move to the states. We now have Chinese food, movies and a fire hall on part of the land.

  19. Loblaws coming to Cornwall, isnt a matter of lower wages here.. The politics of Quebec have put a stranglehold on companies..And it makes perfect sense to follow the course of walmart for warehouse locations.. Target followed walmarts lead and has a warehouse in milton, and calgary, and cornwall..the exact same locations as walmart, which gives them country wide coverage.. Why have smaller warehouses everywhere, when you can have 3 super warehouses instead? It makes perfect sense for Loblaws to come here, the wages will be higher and walmart and target will have to compete to retain their pool of professional warehouse staff, so as not to lose them to Loblaws.

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