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Produce shortages confront Yellowknifers at some grocery stores

Yellowknife Independent Grocers have been experiencing shortages of produce lately.
Produce shelves sit largely empty at the downtown Independent Grocer. Kaicheng Xin/NNSL Photo

Yellowknife Independent Grocers have been experiencing shortages of produce lately.

The national grocer laid off 527 of their employees, all union members, at a warehouse in Calgary used to supply their distribution centre, according to the Calgary Herald. That warehouse now sits empty, the Alberta newspaper reported.

In relation to questions posed about Yellowknife, Loblaw public relations stated, “Some locations in Western Canada, including the Independent Grocer in Yellowknife, are experiencing produce shortages due to a number of factors. We are working hard to get products back on shelves and appreciate our customers’ patience and understanding as we work through this period.”

Loblaw did not respond to questions about “the number of factors” that caused this situation.

In an interview with the Calgary Herald, John Taylor, business agent for Local 987, said labour negotiations included a 32 per cent pay increase for full-time employees and 40 per cent for part-time workers, which would make for some of the most competitive wages in the industry. This proposal was rejected multiple times.

Taylor said that part of the problem lies in the employees’ shift structure.

Teamsters Local Union 987 later said that 66 per cent of its voting members ultimately accepted a final offer from Loblaw — Independent Grocers’ parent company — barely avoiding in impending worker stoppage.

The Co-op appeared to have a sufficient supply of fruits and vegetables in stock recently.

Yellowknife endured produce shortages for periods last winter but it was blamed on pandemic supply chain issues at that time.