Raging Grannies bring Loblaws into 2012

Sing along with Raging Grannies as they take the battle 

for employee rights at Loblaws into the New Year of 2012
By Shannon Lee Manion
True North Perspective Contributing Editor
Loblaws calls the cops on Raging Grannies
In the background at the top of the stairs store manager at the Rideau Street, Ottawa, Loblaws store, calls the police on two relentless but good humoured Raging Grannies who believe in fair play. That's Ria Heynen on the stairs and song writer Pat Howard in the blue hat and red shawl. — Photo by Shannon Lee Mannion, mid-December 2011.
An intensified strategy is planned for the new year by the Raging Grannies, a social justice activist group who deplore what is happening at Loblaws stores. There will be another flash-demo in a week or two but predominently, the Grans are trying to raise awareness of the miserable labour situation at the chain with mainstream media so that at least one of them with the luxury of investigative reporters can pick up the ball and run with it.
The alternate media is picking up the story and there have been several articles in True North Perspective and in the Glebe Report and this week, Esther Matharu, a member of the Raging Grannies, was interviewed by OpenFile.
Most of the big-time television documentary programs have been informed, including Market Place, La Facture and Go Public. It remains to be seen whether The Ottawa Citizen and The Sun respond.
On New Year's Eve, at an open mike stage, four Raging Grannies gave voice to the song sung at Loblaws demonstrations. Here are the very catchy words written by long-time Raging Granny, activist and song-writer, Pat Howard:
Loblaw's Sucks (tune:  Jingle Bells)
Loblaw's made a deal
The unions said okay
If someone wants to work
They must take lower pay
And then besides the cuts
Their time it will increase
And if the workers don't agree
They're handed their release.
Disorder at Loblaws

The heavy hand of Loblaws management has resulted in poor service from exhausted, demoralized staff and empty shelves to greet customers. — Photo by Shannon Lee Mannion.

Loblaws sucks, their union sucks

We should all protest
We won't see a smiling face
Workers at their best
Longer hours, lower pay
What are unions for?
If unions work for companies
Let's show them the door.
They say Wal Mart's the cause
The giant is to blame
They say they must compete
And treat their staff the same
These companies grow rich
Their workers can't get by
And nobody is happy now
And we all wonder why.
Big companies don't care
Because they want it all
Employees they don't dare
Complain and take the fall
And that's why they depend
On unions to do that
The unions went and made a deal
And left the people flat.
To reiterate the problem, Loblaws reported a 39 million dollar increase in profits, up 19.8% from the previous year, and yet their loyal employees are having wages slashed and benefits reduced. Employees are forced to work Sundays with no shift premium and there is no over-time pay, only time in lieu of. Most long-term staff have taken buy-outs and early retirement, not knowing what else to do. Long line-ups at the cash and empty shelves indicate not enough staff. Those left are over-worked.
There is no joy, only unhappiness.