Dozens of people gathered on Dresden Row in downtown Halifax on Sunday afternoon in solidarity with the striking workers of Piet Frutik.
The strike began on Saturday.
Employees at the Dresden Row store have voted to join the Service Employees International Union in 2022. The union says it has not been able to negotiate a contract with Sobeys, which owns Piet Frutyk.
Pete’s Frootique announced on social media Saturday that it will close its downtown location indefinitely.
Workers want better wages. Union representatives at the rally told those gathered that most workers were currently working minimum wage and that the last offer the company made to them called for a 5 cents per hour increase. Told.
Terry Armor, who works in the produce section of the market, said the show of solidarity was important and would show Sobeys that the workers were serious about their demands.
Armer said he was not surprised when the company announced it would close its Dresden Row store indefinitely.
“I don’t think they have much of a choice,” he said. “They can’t run the store without us, and we’re standing out here asking for better wages.”
He said if the union had accepted the last offer from Sobeys, checks would have increased by $4.55 based on a 91-hour pay period.
Selina Gagne, a picket leader for striking workers, is a front-end supervisor at the store and has worked there for four years.
She said she was excited and happy that so many people attended the rally. Gagne said it’s heartwarming to see the community step up to help.
“We have a lot of employees, myself included, who are only making $15 an hour, but we all know that the current living wage in Halifax is $26.50,” she said.
“For Mr. Pete and Mr. Sobeys, who offered us a 5-cent raise, this is simply unacceptable. I believe we are all here fighting for a better raise than that.”
Win Meany, a former employee of the store, said she came out to support her former colleagues because she didn’t want them to suffer any more.
He said he left because of low pay and lack of support from the store’s upper management.
He said he believes the union will achieve its goals and thinks it will likely be achieved through pressure from the public rather than goodwill from the company.
Pete’s Frootique store in Bedford remains open.
CBC News reached out to Sobeys for comment via email on Sunday and is awaiting a response.