Friday, July 22, 2016

UFCW has concerns ahead of Labour negotiations with Sobeys over new Safeway Extra banner

It's a distant labour issue that at the moment isn't going to have an immediate impact on workers in Prince Rupert, but is a negotiation that offers up another example of the changing landscape of the retail grocery industry in the province.

Grocery store employees working with Sobeys/Safeway will be watching a pair of labour negotiations in other regions of the province quite closely over the next few weeks, no doubt looking to see if those discussions may be providing a glimpse into their future.

Negotiations are about to start between Sobeys and the UFCW with Sobeys having recently received an arbitrators decision recognizing the new brand of Safeway store in British Columbia.

That ruling sets the path forward for Sobeys as it introduces the new Safeway Extra banner and with it the need to negotiate a separate Collective Agreement for the two stores, one in Dawson Creek the other in Langley.

The UFCW outlined their disappointment in that decision to its membership in a June 29th advisory noting that they were continuing to explore legal options to try to address the issue.

The negotiations however will move forward and as they do the union has put the focus of its plans to fight to maintain the wages, benefits pensions and working conditions of its membership, advising Sobeys that the new Safeway Extra contract needs to be based on the same standards as the original Safeway agreement, with job security guarantees a key element of that process.

More on their plan for the negotiations ahead can be found here.

Sobeys expansion into British Columbia and Alberta has continued to offer up some challenges to the East coast based grocery giant.

In a June article in Canadian Grocer, some of  background to those financial challenges was reviewed, which found the company recently reporting a fourth quarter loss of more than 900 million dollars.

Sobeys officials pointed towards integration of its Safeway operations as having an impact on the financial results.

Canadian Grocer also offered up a bit of background with this item, that article explores some of those financial challenges and focuses on the move towards the discount banner options that Sobeys has in Western Canada.

Sobeys hasn't had much to say about their new Safeway Extra banner plans to this point, while labour officials and employees in the stores across the province have concerns when it comes to the new branding and collective agreement provisions.

The path those negotiations take and what impact that they may have in the Northwest could make for some of the discussion when the UFCW hosts its next General Membership meeting in Prince Rupert.

More notes on labour issues in the Northwest can be found on our archive page.

No comments:

Post a Comment