More than 3,000 Sobeys employees at 40 Safeway stores across the Lower Mainland have voted overwhelmingly to strike if negotiations fail in the coming weeks.
United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1518, which covers Sobeys employees from Whistler to Hope, says its members voted 98 per cent in favor of the move.
President Kim Novak of UFCW Local 1518 said members have been talking with their employers for months and have seen little progress on improving wages while company profits are soaring. arrow.
“We negotiated with them [Sobeys] for over eight months and during that time they have not exceeded a 1 percent salary increase each year, and in some years, no salary increase at all,” Novak explained.
“Sobeys is seeing rising profits and sales, and our members are being left behind. Our goal now is to reach an agreement that we can take back to our members that reflects higher wages, access to full-time jobs and respect for the work they do.
It comes as the federal government summons the heads of Canada’s major grocery chains to Ottawa this fall to begin discussions on a plan to reduce the cost of food for Canadians, as inflation continues to take a toll. impact on grocery bills.
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Besides pay increases, Novak says she also wants to see members move up to full-time membership more quickly, citing cases where some employees, despite their hard work, have worked more than a decade without guaranteed hours.
“We have workers who have been here for over 15 years and are still waiting to be considered full-time,” Novak added.
“We want that barrier removed so you can actually work full time and have respect for the hard work you put in 40 hours a week.”
Still, Novak says it’s better for everyone if a strike can be avoided.
Negotiations between the union and Sobeys are scheduled for September 20-29.
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