While Lowe’s offer sheet said it would protect Canadian jobs – or even expand them – if it were to acquire Quebec-based RONA, the Canadian Teamsters aren’t so sure.
The Teamsters Union in Canada has come out against a Lowe’s takeover play for RONA, which the Teamsters describe as “a Québec jewel in the hardware and renovation industry.”
"We're against this potential sale because there are too many unknowns for the members we represent at RONA," commented Serge Bérubé, President of Teamsters Local Union 1999. "We don't want them to end up like the workers at Zellers."
The comment refers to workers at Canadian brand Zellers, which is seeing 100 stores converting to Target locations. The fate of thousands of former Zellers workers is unclear and the uncertainty is generating protests in Canada.
In an earlier pitch to RONA, Lowe’s CEO Robert Niblock wrote: “We expect that the number of people employed by RONA today, both within Quebec and across the rest of Canada, would be the same or greater following the transaction and believe that the combined entity would offer significantly enhanced growth opportunities benefiting all of our employees.”
Rona's management rejected the bid, but Lowe's could sweeten its offer in the coming weeks.