Last updated October 24, 2023
Here are answers to some of the most frequent questions we’ve been getting about the UFCW 247 Safeway Tentative Agreement. Please note, this information is updated frequently, so be sure to come back regularly.
Still have questions? Our bargaining committee members will be visiting stores all week to review the tentative agreement with members and answer questions. Members can also reach out to us with their questions or to have a committee member or union representative respond before voting. Just call 1-800-667-2205 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please check our website for full details on the Ratification Vote process, which will be held over October 18-20 through SimplyVoting. Online voting starts at 9 AM PDT on October 18 and ends at 3 PM PDT on October 18, 2023. Voting results will be announced as soon as they are available, likely before 5 PM on Friday, October 20, 2023.
This agreement balances the interests of all UFCW 247 Safeway members – there is something in this agreement for everyone. Here are some highlights:
Safeway members should have a look at the full Tentative Agreement before voting. It is available on our website at www.ufcw247.com/safeway-bargaining
What each person would get under the new agreement depends on a number of factors, including date of hire, Grid A or Grid B, position in the scale (within the scale or at the top), as well as things like hours worked at Safeway.
You should be able to find your total hours worked on your pay advise. You can ask your Store Manager to enquire on your behalf or call the Safeway Employee Service Centre at 1-800-295-3348.
Members with specific questions can also always reach out to a bargaining committee member when they visit your store this week or call the union office at 1-800-667-2205.
All UFCW 247 members in the province employed at Safeway Meat, Deli, and Seafood departments are eligible to vote on the Tentative Agreement. This includes members in both Zone 1 (BC Lower Mainland) and Zone 2 (Rest of BC), members on medical, maternity, or parental leave, as well as employees have not yet passed probation.
Our UFCW Local 247 Bargaining Committee believes this agreement achieves many of the key goals our members had for this round of bargaining and is strongly recommending that members vote YES to accept the agreement.
If member vote YES, then the terms of the Tentative Agreement will be incorporated into the UFCW 247 Safeway Collective Agreement covering the Meat, Deli, and Seafood departments across BC.
Specific terms would come into effective as agreed in the Tentative Agreement. For example, the 2023 wage increases would be retroactive to April 1, 2023, while the creation of new Grid B full-time positions would come into effect within 3 months of ratification of the agreement.
If the Tentative Agreement is rejected, we will advise the company of the rejection and coordinate serving strike notice alongside UFCW Local 1518, likely the following week. Remember, serving strike notice doesn’t mean we are going on strike and setting up picket lines right away.
While strike notice is normally 72 hours, as required by the BC Labour Relations Code, it is expected that Sobeys could seek to extend that notice period because the dispute would involve perishable goods. It is also possible that Sobeys could service notice of a lockout. It is also possible that further bargaining could occur before a strike or lockout with the assistance of a mediator.
Please note we have extensive information about strikes and picketing available for Safeway members on the Safeway Strike Vote FAQ page on our website.
Sometimes the win is keeping what you have. The company was trying to get takeaways on many key issues in our Collective Agreement, and they were unsuccessful.
For example, they were looking for reductions in benefit contributions that we felt would have a negative impact on members’ medical and dental benefits and the wellbeing of these plans in the long run. There was also a proposal to try to have our members pay a portion of their own benefits, which would have taken more money out of our members’ pockets. Critically, the company also wanted to remove all manager and assistant manager positions from the union, making them excluded from union membership.
Our committee resisted these company proposals, and so these proposed changes from the company did not make it into the Tentative Agreement.
Negotiating voluntary severance is rarely a union proposal, as it largely benefits the company in the long-run. That said, our bargaining committee understood the importance of voluntary severance, especially for our long-term members who have seen the transition from Safeway to Sobeys/Safeway and would like to move on.
If the Tentative Agreement is accepted, voluntary severance is something the company will offer to Grid A members who are not key personnel. Offering voluntary severance is based on the terms set out in LOU# 23 of the current Collective Agreement (an LOU that would be renewed if this Tentative Agreement is accepted) or under a store conversion situation covered in page 33 of the Tentative Agreement.
We have heard from members in key personnel positions who would like to have access to the voluntary severance and are looking for ways to do that, including possibly stepping down from their positions. Members who step down from a key personnel position should not expect to be offered a voluntary severance, nor should they expect voluntary severance to be offered right away. If they were to step down, they run the risk of not receiving a voluntary severance at all and no longer being in a key personnel position.
When considering this, we recommend doing your due diligence, including becoming fully aware of the demotion process set out in Article 13.10 of the Collective Agreement, contacting the company’s HR Advisor to ask about eligibility for voluntary severance before seeking to step down, and considering any possible risks and consequences before making any moves.
It is possible to have your wage loss benefit rates recalculated with consideration for the retroactive increases to your pay that have been ratified by your Union and your Employer. Wage increases in this Collective Agreement are retroactive to April 1, 2023, and so the negotiated increases are monies you would have been entitled to receive had you been able to work during that time.
To look into this, we recommend reaching out to your WorkSafeBC Adjudicator, advising them of the newly ratified Collective Agreement that includes retroactive wage increases going back to April 1, 2023, and requesting an adjustment to your wage loss earnings calculation. You may need to provide them a copy of the Tentative Agreement.