SAFEWAY BARGAINING UPDATE #5
Your Bargaining Committee has concluded another session of negotiations with Safeway the week of June 12th, 13th, & 14th 2023.
Your committee felt it beneficial to proceed to the monetary phase during this set of negotiations. Wage improvements are a top priority for our members and the Company negotiators need to hear and understand this.
“We hope that Sobeys Corporate realizes that the current labour concerns are obvious, and lack of staffing is mostly due to below market wages” said Doug (Meat Cutter, Kelowna).
For some of your bargaining committee, the negotiations process is also a new experience.
Bargaining is a result of many backs and forth with proposals and counter proposals from the Union and the Company. Solutions are sought that are agreeable to both sides of the negotiations.
First time committee members Oenone and Erin found the process interesting and a great learning experience.
While progress has been slow and steady, “the process itself is eye opening”, said first time committee member, Oenone (Deli Clerk, Nelson). “I have always wondered what happened in bargaining AND how did we agreed to this language” said Erin (Production clerk, Vernon), “you have to get involved to see how this works and this has been a huge learning experience” she added.
For some experienced committee members who have sat in negotiations before, the process feels very different, and it is quite apparent that we are dealing with a very different company. Committee member Brian (Meat Cutter, Lower Mainland), states “it felt like we were always working towards the same goals, and you knew who everyone was, at the table”. The goal before was to improve the store, customer experience and look at what the staff needed. “There are some different faces at the table from the Company and we are definitely negotiating with Sobeys, not Safeway” Brian added.
As your committee felt that progress has been somewhat slow to date, your committee also felt that it was needed to present a comprehensive wage proposals list to the Company. It is unusual times, and this step was needed to get the process moving forward to where our members want and need to be at.
“We have taken this unusual step to table a monetary wage proposal to get the Company to understand and address our members concerns”, said Union Negotiator Cathy Shannon (Assistant to the President).
Normally single monetary improvement proposals are looked at and discussed as individual proposals.
“The Company needs to know the framework required to support their existing employees that are suffering from lack of staffing and also to recognize the hard work our members do in their departments, day in and day out” Cathy added.
While we are hopeful that this will give the Company an idea on what areas we wish to focus on, we remain cautious that we can make progress now that we are at the monetary stage of negotiations.
The next bargaining dates are set for July 5th and 6th 2023.
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