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Canada: supermarket executives take to shop floor
Planet Labor, 9 April 2020, n°11820 - www.planetlabor.com

Managers are rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty. That’s the message being sent out by several supermarket chains. Loblaw, Empire, Longo, and the Canadian subsidiary of WalMart, have all asked head office managers to take the lift down to the shop floors and support their core employees. In this time of Covid-19 related crisis and fear, Anthony Longo, the general manager of the Longo’s deli chain in Ontario, wants to tell its 5,000 employees that they are not alone. He too is taking risks and frequently visiting the delis and warehouses. He is restocking shelves and preparing online orders. Meanwhile, his CFO is busy working in the call centre. In similar fashion, Loblaw, the parent company of more than 2,000 supermarkets under the Real Canadian Superstores and Shoppers Drug Mart banners, has sent 400 head office volunteers into its outlets to work with staff on the front lines, the goal being to let its 135,000 colleagues know they are by their side. The same is true at Empire, owner of Sobeys, Safeway and the FreshCo supermarkets. The group did a spot survey of its managers to find out where they could best help and two hundred volunteers went to work in the outlets. ‘You should be proud that not only are you taking on a challenge during this crucial period, but you will also get to see and have a better understanding of a different side of the business,” they were told in an email.