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  • authored by <Fed Up>
  • published Tue, Apr 9, 2002

The Union that didn't want to win

I have been a member of UFCW Local 1400 for over 11 years now and am ashamed of this fact. In their latest negotiations for the Extra Food Stores and the Superstores, the union totally sold out their members by entering into negotiations from a weak position. Get this:

1. All Westfair stores were open for negotiation and contract talks had lagged for just about a year.

2. The distribution centre in Saskatoon has their contract expire in July. UFCW Local 1400.

3. The Superstores in Edmonton are in a strike position as well.

Why did the Local push for a new contract so quickly? Negotiations had dragged on for a long time due to delays by the COMPANY. Why didn't they let it drag out further until the distribution centre was in a strike position as well? With Edmonton in a strike position as well, they would have excellent bargaining power.

Why did they screw up so bad? Because they wanted to.

These guys are inept and should be ashamed to draw a wage from the members they supposedly represent.

Back in October, 2001, the members at the distribution centre were so fed up with their representation from Greg Eyre that a petition was circulated gathering over 170 signatures for the removal of Greg as their rep (out of approximately 200 members). Their response, no.
The articles written by Hugh Finnamore were circulated around the distribution centre and a lot of guys read these to their dismay.

At a meeting that followed, Brian Stewart set aside part of the meeting to specifically address what H.J. had written. Michael Fraser was to have appeared at the meeting but wasn't able to because of flight problems due to September 11th. Instead Paul Meneima was brought in to help the boys out. At this meeting, H.J. was called a liar, an embezzler and had been dismissed by the UFCW for inappropriate behaviour.(this was read from a fax by Paul and was sent by Michael Fraser)
Nothing was accomplished and Greg is still the rep.

Part of the meeting was set aside for the upcoming contract talks. It was brought up at the meeting that everyone's bargaining position would be stronger if the retail contract was negotiated at the same time as the distribution centre. No way, that wouldn't be very nice.

Six years ago when our contract was up, the Steelworkers in Winnipeg distribution were out on strike at the time. They came down and picketed the Saskatoon distribution centre. During a 1400 meeting, it was asked by a member why we didn't go out in solidarity to strengthen our position. Brian's response: "We've dealt with the Steel Workers before and they can't be trusted" Local 1400 settled with no strike and a crummy contract. One of the new guys had enough gumption to speak out against the deal at the ratification vote and was shouted down by Greg Eyre (as well as other members). We didn't need the company to threaten the members, the Local was doing a fine job all on their own. "If you guys don't take this, you'll be out on the street" from Greg Eyre. A sad day for all members and a poor example of solidarity. My only regret was that i didn't speak out. The guys in Winnipeg finally settled but lost their produce section to the Saskatoon distribution centre.

After 11 years as a member, i've had it. Our bargaining position at the distribution centre is now very weak thanks to these guys rushing out to sign any deal. Great job boys. Any comments Greg or Brian?

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Tue, Apr 9, 2002 1:08pm

Your comments about how the union could have leveraged itself to get good contracts for a lot of workers in a number of different bargaining units are proof positive that workers themselves know where their power is and how to put themselves in the best position to win. Workers are great strategists if given a chance to speak and participate.

Now that we have the internet and a site like this one, I'm hoping there can be some online strategizing that takes place before bargaining begins. That way, the union reps will have a harder time saying they know what's best.

One a completely different subject, do I hear you saying that the UFCW was going to fly Mike Fraser (the great one himself) all the way from Toronto just to bad mouth Finnamore? Holy cow, what does that tell us?

  • posted by Scott Mcpherson
  • Tue, Apr 9, 2002 5:28pm

It's too bad fed up, I wish things could have worked out better for you guys out there. Unfortunately, as long as Cliff Evens or any of his minions have anything to do in any way shape or form with the UFCW don't think anything is going to get better. It will continue to get worse as they continue to get older, fatter and richer.

Fraser undermined the entire bargaining process by cutting a deal in Toronto by himself and from now on anytime this employer doesn't like what the local's doing they'll just fly out to Toronto and cut a deal with Fraser. And this is a guy who was was not elected by the members to his position, a position that clearly impacts each of their lives.

As for who the liers are...we all know who's lying and who isn't. We can prove what we say, all they can do is complain we're tearing the movement apart by exposing them for what they really stand for. Hey Mike, "change or get out of the way"....better yet, just get out the way, you don't belong here.

  • posted by HJFinnamore
  • Tue, Apr 9, 2002 8:00pm

For any of you that know the story of how Local 777 came to be, you'll remember that Westfair not only demanded their own local, but they gave three choices for President. They asked for me, but were told that the other locals would go nuts if I were given the job. They then asked for either Gib Whitlock who was running Local 401 or if he wasn't up for the game, they wanted Brian Stewart who was running Local 1400.

Eventually, Whitlock agreed to leave 401 and I was persuaded to leave the Teamsters. I'm not sure whether Brian got a chance to say yes or no, but it's interesting that we were chosen as company favorites. With so many wonderful union guys around, I wonder why Westfair was so keen to see any one of us running their new local?

  • posted by Troll
  • Wed, Apr 10, 2002 7:58am

What's amazing is that all through this dance, we hear nothing from the great Local 1400 President Brian Stewart. What the hell do these so-called presidents get paid the big bucks for if they aren't the chief spokespersons?

  • posted by <Yabba Dabba Doo>
  • Thu, Apr 11, 2002 9:25am

From the Saskatoon Star Phoenix April 11th:

Striking Superstore Workers back on the
job.

About 2000 workers ended their two week strike after voting in favour of the new contract on Monday and Tuesday, said Greg Eyre of UFCW Local 1400.

"We're glad it's over" he said. (Phew, it's hard walking the line when you're used to sitting down all day and all this thinking hurts the brain)

The wage offer remained the same as in the original with the starting rate increasing to $7.75 by the end of the six year agreement.

(The union had originally said that over 70% of its members were making less than $10 an hour. The starting wage rate is $6.50 an hour. By the way minimum wage in Sask is going to $6.65 in November)

The new agreement will create 20 new
full time jobs and includes some improvements to guaranteed hours for part time workers.

(Wow! What a coup! Sometimes counting that high requires taking off your shoes and socks to count toes as well) Out of 2000 employees, that's whopping. Did the number of hours required for a raise go down? No.)

The main difference between the approved contract and the one rejected two weeks ago is the timing of when the employer will provide a $250,000 fund to start a health benefits program for part-time workers.

..... So, when it really comes down to it, the company is really settled to pay what they are currently paying for employees. The monetary cost of this contract to the company is negligible. What a victory! Oh yeah, but they did agree to a dignity and respect clause. Yes, i'm sure that's what the company wanted to avoid all along, not higher wages. It's like they bargained for their manager to say "Good Morning, how are you today?". I can't stop laughing (or is that crying?)

By the way, SUN (Sask Union of Nurses) came to an agreement with the government yesterday. Their ratification vote is in 3 weeks from now so everyone will have a chance to get the information. Now that's a union!

  • posted by <Walking the walk>
  • Thu, Apr 11, 2002 12:23pm

Obviously Yabba is not a local 1400 member or was not at the meetings because if they had been they would know that the hours for increment steps have been cut in half. That raises of $3.75 to $4.25 to the top rates were negotiated, that the gap between the first and second tier while not eliminated was dramaticly reduced. That the number of parttime emplyees with guaranteed hours will nearly double.
While I wish our tired aching feet had won more than we did. I must agree with New Greens post on a different thread where he said that his picketers did not seem to have money or the psycological stamina to stay much longer.
The company said publicly that the next offer would be worse. It wasn't it was better even if only a little, I view that as a victory.
I'll leave the last word to a group of senior cashiers who said to me while walking the line before the vote
"even if the offer doesn't change I'm proud of the stand we've taken We've let the company know we will never again put up with the treatment we've put up with the last 15 years "

  • posted by weiser
  • Thu, Apr 11, 2002 3:13pm

Ya, the "top" rates have to be taken care of because they're what the machine heads and MRs peg their salaries to. And besides, no one is supposed to get to top rate. If you do, you aren't supposed to last long.

As one Westfair VP once said, "we want the 'spin' at the top because that's where the cost is."

Bill P. is the only UFCW President that we've seen so far that has the courage to take care of the bottom rates.

Bill's okay!

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Fri, Apr 12, 2002 4:44am

Walking the walk: I'm not sure if we have here is conflicting information about the settlement or just incomplete information. Could you fill us in on the following:

What are the increment steps that have been cut in half? What were they before the settlement and what will they be now?

How long does it take for the average worker to work the required hours to move from one step in the wage progression to the next?

What is the gap between the first and second teir now and what was it before?

How many workers are at the top rates (roughly)?

How long does it take to get to the top rates?

Is the starting rate still $6.50 an hour?

On another front, when the company says "Our next offer will be worse", did workers believe that? What did the union leaders say about it? (It's not an unusual thing for company representatives to say. You wouldn't expect them to say "our next offer will be better" would you?)

Anyway, if you could give us some details around the wage progession questions, that would help.

  • posted by Troll
  • Fri, Apr 12, 2002 7:08am

Well, "talking baloney and running away" I sense that you are either an MR or an MR wannabe.

quote:


The company said publicly that the next offer would be worse. It wasn't it was better even if only a little, I view that as a victory.


Give your frigging head a shake. Find one instance where any striking worker ever went back to work with less than was on the table when they went out?

The UFCW had the prime opportunity to shut down Alberta and the distribution centres in Saskakatchewan and Alberta.

The company said, "watch out or we'll get tough," and the UFCW caved. You had the power and you didn't exercise it.

Oh, yes, enjoy all the new Extra Foods stores and all the new dues payers that will come on board as a result.

  • posted by <Walking the walk>
  • Fri, Apr 12, 2002 7:29am

Troll I Think your the one who should give his head a shake. Local 1400 did not gain bargaining rights for any Extra Foods stores in Saskatchewan. We were certified, as in sign the cards apply to the Labor board, certified, for every Extra Foods store in the province long before we entered into this recent round of negotiations.
When you make allegations maybe you know what you are talking about.

  • posted by <Walking the walk>
  • Fri, Apr 12, 2002 7:29am

Troll I Think your the one who should give his head a shake. Local 1400 did not gain bargaining rights for any Extra Foods stores in Saskatchewan. We were certified, as in sign the cards apply to the Labor board, certified, for every Extra Foods store in the province long before we entered into this recent round of negotiations.
When you make allegations maybe you know what you are talking about.

  • posted by globalize_this
  • Fri, Apr 12, 2002 8:07am

"Walking the Walk": I believe Troll is suggesting that the UFCW wants to make sure that they get voluntary recognition for all the new Extra Food stores Westfair is planning to open (see Weiser's post on this thread, about 20 down on the first page). They'd clearly prefer voluntary recognition, as opposed to the hassle of going through the "sign the cards apply to the Labor board, certified" process for each and every new store. They'd also no doubt be concerned that Westfair might undercut their "partner" union by inviting in a lowball competitor like the Teamsters or CLAC (See the Voluntary Wreck article). So Troll is concerned that the UFCW maybe didn't fight the company as hard as it could have.

This is one debate we could have. But I think its more important to know exactly what sort of deal we are talking about, first. Would you mind responding to Remote Viewer's questions? I think they are entirely fair:

quote:


What are the increment steps that have been cut in half? What were they before the settlement and what will they be now?

How long does it take for the average worker to work the required hours to move from one step in the wage progression to the next?

What is the gap between the first and second teir now and what was it before?

How many workers are at the top rates (roughly)?

How long does it take to get to the top rates?

Is the starting rate still $6.50 an hour?

On another front, when the company says "Our next offer will be worse", did workers believe that? What did the union leaders say about it? (It's not an unusual thing for company representatives to say. You wouldn't expect them to say "our next offer will be better" would you?)


Thanks.

  • posted by weiser
  • Fri, Apr 12, 2002 8:20am

Walking the walk (aka running away) sure stayed clear of any mention about any employer in history ever giving less than what was on the table when people walk out.

If you didn't tell your members that "reducing the offer" was pure bull-shit fantasy on the part of Westfair, you should crawl back under the nearest rock. How damned stupid do you think we are. Have you ever heard of the legal term, "Bad Faith"?

And don't give me that "certified" bull-shit either. You've got a voluntary "wreck" and the stores come to you only through an "accretion" clause.

If Westfair wanted to open Gaelen's Markets instead of Extra Foods, you would be SOL. You ain't got nothing except Westfair's good will. You have the accretion clause because Westfair wants to ensure that the UFCW is the union that they will deal with in the stores.

Six years is crap and it didn't have to be. Hang your head in shame.

  • posted by Scott Mcpherson
  • Fri, Apr 12, 2002 9:38am

I agree, you didn't get a damn thing and you've got nothing to be proud of. A $6.50 start rate when min wage is going to $6.65 ? Tell me again how joining this union is in a persons best interests. When you join a union you give up your own rights to the union. The union has the legal right to speak on your behalf. The trade off is that the union is supposed to speak with your best interests at heart and not for it's own and that didn't happen here.

I feel sorry for you and anyone else out there that was once again screwed by this greedy self serving union executive. They've got no balls and no brains just open hands expecting to be filled with money. It's a sad day when members think they've won something when 70% of their ranks earn less than $10 per hrs. That should be the min starting rate!

In 6 years the staff turnover will be 75% and the union executive's won't have to answer for their greedy stupidity because so few will remember. they also won't have to worry about that pesky membership involvement because now that the deal is done 99% of the members won't show up to another meeting. That's good news for them because it solidifies their place in power. This was a self serving sell out and nothing more. Your members would have fought on if they were fighting for something better but the UFCW hate spending the strike fund. They would much rather buy run down hotels and shopping malls and sit themselves on the board of directors.

  • posted by weiser
  • Fri, Apr 12, 2002 9:45am

Think about it. It wasn't the bargining committee that did the deal. They don't live in Toronto.

  • posted by <wailking the walk>
  • Fri, Apr 12, 2002 12:12pm

Weiser; Before you spout off at the mouth you should contact the Sask. labor relations board you will find certifacation orders covering all stores in the province. The collective agreements reflect those orders.
Scott where did you get the false info that the Start rates are $6.50 If you want to debate know your facts.

  • posted by lefkenny
  • Fri, Apr 12, 2002 12:27pm

Wailking the Walk

quote:


Weiser; Before you spout off at the mouth you should contact the Sask. labor relations board you will find certifacation orders covering all stores in the province. The collective agreements reflect those orders.
Scott where did you get the false info that the Start rates are $6.50 If you want to debate know your facts.


If the information is incorrect could you post the correct information stating your source please.

about unions

  • posted by weiser
  • Fri, Apr 12, 2002 1:31pm

wailking the walk, well, what exactly are the start rates?

If you be so damned proud of the crap that your pal bargained, answer remote viewer's qestions:

quote:


What are the increment steps that have been cut in half? What were they before the settlement and what will they be now?

How long does it take for the average worker to work the required hours to move from one step in the wage progression to the next?

What is the gap between the first and second teir now and what was it before?

How many workers are at the top rates (roughly)?

How long does it take to get to the top rates?

Is the starting rate still $6.50 an hour?

On another front, when the company says "Our next offer will be worse", did workers believe that? What did the union leaders say about it? (It's not an unusual thing for company representatives to say. You wouldn't expect them to say "our next offer will be better" would you?)


The contract was an abomination before the strike and it's an abomination now. The UFCW had the power and it couldn't or wouldn't use it.

Shame on you!

  • posted by weiser
  • Fri, Apr 12, 2002 4:00pm

Wailking the Walk, we are still waiting for the answers.

  • posted by <walking The Walk>
  • Fri, Apr 12, 2002 4:18pm

Actually Weiser you made the initial allegation about voluntary recognition so you should

have to back up your statement. or there different rules for union reformers. If your going

make allegations please have the decency to back them up .

  • posted by weiser
  • Fri, Apr 12, 2002 4:22pm

Hey, no problemo. I'll take your word that there is a certification for every store in Saskatchewan. There. Now are you happy?

Now, back to the questions that you're too embarassed to answer....

That is if you have the honesty and fortitude.

(eidit: to please walking the walk, so he might take the time to answer some questions)

  • posted by <walking the Walk>
  • Fri, Apr 12, 2002 5:05pm

Why would I answer questions from a person who just admited that he posted allegations
that aren't true and who's shown that when he's cornered with his own lies he resorts to rude
comments.
If the aminisrator of this forum permits these type of responses they clearly are running a onesided operation which doesn't desrve the support or involvement of fair-minded people

  • posted by weiser
  • Fri, Apr 12, 2002 7:41pm

I really don't know if I'm right or you are. However, to get on with what's really important, I'm willing to let you say you're right.

Whether the stores are certified is a minor point. The major point is that the Westfair agreements are pieces of shit. The UFCW had a chance to do something about that and it caved.

BTW, a lie is saying something when you know for sure it's not the truth. Saying something and finding out that you may be wrong is simply making a mistake.

There are few if any lies on this site. People tell the truth or they avoid answering questions so that they don't get blown out of the water, so to speak.

The trolls, machine heads and MRs are the ones who come here and tell half truths, take cheap shots and avoid answering questions.

Okay, pal, you said:

quote:


Scott where did you get the false info that the Start rates are $6.50 If you want to debate know your facts.


Well, Mr. Walks the Walk, start talking the talk. We want to debate.

Now give us the facts!

quote:


What are the increment steps that have been cut in half? What were they before the settlement and what will they be now?

How long does it take for the average worker to work the required hours to move from one step in the wage progression to the next?

What is the gap between the first and second teir now and what was it before?

How many workers are at the top rates (roughly)?

How long does it take to get to the top rates?

You say the starting rate isn't $6.50 an hour, so what exactly is the lowest rate?

How much money goes on the start rate in each of the six long years?

On another front, when the company says "Our next offer will be worse", did workers believe that? What did the union leaders say about it? (It's not an unusual thing for company representatives to say. You wouldn't expect them to say "our next offer will be better" would you?)


Are you going to answer or whine and dodge.

  • posted by Scott Mcpherson
  • Sat, Apr 13, 2002 2:23am

Look, I didn't pull $6.50 out of thin air someone posted that on this web site from 1400. If it's wrong than instead of trying to show off tell us what the rates are. Regardless I know damn well they're not $10 and they sure as hell aren't double the Provincial min and as far as I'm concerned anything less is unacceptable. If you really think your new deal is something to crow about than I really do feel sorry you. Good luck.

  • posted by HJFinnamore
  • Sat, Apr 13, 2002 7:15am

quote:


posted by <Walking the walk>:
Troll I Think your the one who should give his head a shake. Local 1400 did not gain bargaining rights for any Extra Foods stores in Saskatchewan. We were certified, as in sign the cards apply to the Labor board, certified, for every Extra Foods store in the province long before we entered into this recent round of negotiations.
When you make allegations maybe you know what you are talking about.


I don't think anyone made a point about gaining bargaining rights so much as the UFCW potentially losing lots and lots of members should Westfair do something to prevent the UFCW from getting all the new members in the promised new stores. Westfair could do just the same as the OFG and threaten to make up a new banner and open the stores under the new banner. Now we wouln't want that, now would we.

Sometimes accuracy depends on timing. You can be right one day and wrong the next.

For example, when Loblaws demanded their own local for the BC Superstores, the whole deal was done with a voluntary recognition. The Loblaws local's jurisdiction was defined by the International after the specified stores were agreed to between the UFCW and Loblaws VP Andy Smith.

The Local had jurisdiction for all Superstores, the Westfair Distribution Center and two Extra Foods Stores. The jurisdiction for anything else fell to either Local 1518 or Local 2000. In fact, Bill Wynn confirmed the exact jurisdiction by special letter.

Not one of those units were certified--that is until Retail Wholesale Local 580 was approached by the Distribution Supervisors, in the Spring of 1995, who wished to unionize, but didn't want the UFCW to represent them.

At that point, the UFCW immediately headed to the BC Labour Board to apply to have all their Westfair locations certified. They were in a panic that the voluntary wreck left them vulnerable to raid.

The members really had no say in whether their units were certified or not because the UFCW had signed cards from all of them already. The employer had them sign before they were hired.

It was really important to get the Distribution Center locked into the same bargaining unit as the retail stores. That way the Distribution Center could never strike on its own.

Apparently, the Distribution Center employees have been told that they can have their own bargaining meetings separate from retail. However, anyone who knows labour law can tell that is smoke an mirrors if it ever comes down to strike.

The Distribution Centre can cut a wonderful deal that makes them happy campers, but if retail decides to go out on strike the Distribution centre will be on strike too. Conversely, if the Distribution centre can't achieve what it wants, but the retail members love their deal and accept it, Distribution can't strike and they have to accept whatever is on the table.

So yes, even Loblaws old local was eventually certified for all Westfair units, that wasn't always so. It's a matter of timing whether a comment about certification is right or a mistake. However, sometimes, the the question goes deeper. It's really about the reason for voluntary wrecks or certifications.

The UFCW is famous for voluntary wrecks and secret deals, so "walk the walk" you're throwing out what's known as a "red herring" designed to lead people away from important questions that you know have stinky answers.

I have to agree, Superstore contracts stink to high heaven. That goes for the expired Saskatchewan agreement that added over a year to an already stinky contract and for the new extra-long, six-year piece of crap.

You may be walking the walk, but if you are, you're up to you're knees in crap.

BTW, I think Cliff Evans said something about his boys being tough and being able to take hard talk. Drop the thin-skin routine and answer some questions.

  • posted by <know -it-all>
  • Sat, Apr 13, 2002 8:47am

I thought I read somewhere the UFCW had a policy of no contracts of more than three years. Does anyone know if thats true? Guess I don't know it all, but I'm willing to learn.

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Sat, Apr 13, 2002 9:04am

I've never heard of the UFCW having such a policy. I think one of our contributors said he thought the CAW had this kind of policy.

  • posted by Troll
  • Sat, Apr 13, 2002 9:16am

There is a Retail Bargaining Policy but you'll see the UFCW seems to have put it back in the secrecy bin.

I'd like Mr. Walk the Walk to tell us exactly how the Saskatchewan deal complies with the "Retail Bargaining Policy."

I'm sure it doesn't condone putrid six-year contracts.

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Sat, Apr 13, 2002 9:44am

I think what's happening in this thread is that the UFCW just doesn't want to admit that it bargained the minimum wage - again. They point to the top rates and hope that nobody asks the questions like "So who gets that rate anyway?" or "What do most of the workers get paid?"

I'm wondering if the pay scales in the Local 1400 agreement are structured anything like the Swiss Chalet Ontario agreement There are 3 tiers in that agreement. The rates for the highest tier aren't published. The 2nd tier has a top rate of $10.76 per hour for a classification called Kitchen Help. Now, I'm sure that if you said, "our members in the restaurant industry get $10.76 an hour", that would impress people because almost everyone in the industry gets minimum wage.

If you look a little further though, you'll see how unimpressive this pay scale really is. You'll see, first of all, that it takes 60 months to get to this top rate. How many people last that long in this kind of workplace? Not many would be my guess.

If you look further still, you'll see that starting rate for Waitresses and Waiters in the second and third tiers is $5.95 per hour. That's the Ontario minimum wage for workers who serve liquor and one of the lowest minimum wages in Canada. (The general minimum wage in Ontario is $6.85.) I would guess that the majority of the workers at these restaurants fall into this classifications. My hunch is also that this is a predominantly female classification.

So, the wait staff start at $5.95 per hour. After 12 months they go to $6.00. After 24 months they go to $6.05. After 60 months they go to $6.20. Wow - 5 years to get a lousy 25 cent an hour increase!

But hey, I'll bet they've said more than once, "We have the best contract in the industry".

  • posted by DuffBeer
  • Sat, Apr 13, 2002 1:44pm

Well, for the sake of those workers, I hope the ratified agreement is better than this:

WESTFAIR BARGAINING 2001 - 2002

quote:


March 17, 10:30 a.m. The company claims they've made an offer that includes a "substantial offer of wage increases". You deserve the REAL TRUTH about the company's offer. Click here... for the REAL TRUTH VOL. 3 (in PDF Adobe format)

The Real Truth: About Money (Vol. 3)

The Company claims that they've made an offer that includes a substantial offer of wage increases. Westfair employees deserve the real truth. Following is the truth about the Company's offer, your Union's offer and the truth about what Westfair is already paying UFCW members in Swan River, Manitoba.

First tier employees

After receiving no wage increase at all for six years, employees who are on the first tier in Saskatoon, Regina and Melville, who were hired before 1995 and earn $15.34 (GM clerk), $17.73 or more (Food clerk/cashier) or $19.09 (Meatcutters & Bakers), are only being offered between 6.8% and 8.4% TOTAL over the Company's proposed 7-year agreement.

After receiving no wage increase at all for six years, employees on the first tier in Prince Albert and Yorkton, who were hired before 1995 and earn $12.86 (GM clerk), or $15.53 or more (Food clerk/cashier), are only being offered between 7.7% and 8.4% TOTAL over the Company's proposed 7-year agreement. The last document provided by the Company shows an offer of a wage decrease for Meatcutters and Bakers of $1.47 per hour. This may be a typo, although the Company claims they had fixed all the typos in the document.

After receiving no wage increase at all for six years, employees who are on the first tier in Humboldt, Melfort, Tisdale, Nipawin, Kindersley and Meadow Lake who were hired before 1995 and earn $12.20 or more (Food clerk/cashier), or $13.75 (Meatcutter & Bakers) are being offered approximately 17% TOTAL over the Company's proposed 7-year agreement, leaving them still more than $4.00 an hour behind their urban counterparts.

Second tier employees

Food service clerks

Currently, food service clerks in Saskatoon, Regina and Moose Jaw start at $6.50/hr. (50 cents above minimum wage), reaching top rate of $12.50/hr. after 5,000 hours worked. All other stores in Saskatchewan start at $6.50/hr. except rural Extra Foods, which start at $6.00, all reaching a top rate of $11.75 after 6,000 hours. The company proposes to increase the hours needed to get to top rate to 8,000 hours, (9,000 hours outside Saskatoon, Regina and Moose Jaw) with a top rate reaching $15/hr in May 2007 ($14.25 outside Saskatoon, Regina, Moose Jaw).

Further, the company has proposed that the start rate be increased to $7/hr after an agreement is reached (30 cents above the new minimum wage), rising to $8/hr in 2006.

Today, unionized employees at Extra Foods in Swan River, Manitoba start at $7.65/hr. ($7.75 in January 2003), reaching a top rate of $15.30/hr ($15.55 in January 2003), after 7,500 hours worked.

GM clerks

Currently, GM clerks start at $6.25/hr. and $6.00 at rural Extra Foods, reaching top rate of $11.50/hr. (Regina, Saskatoon and Moose Jaw) after 5,000 hours worked. All other stores in Saskatchewan reach a top rate of $10.25 after 6,000 hours. The company proposes to increase the hours needed to get to top rate to 8,000 hours, (9,000 hours outside Saskatoon, Regina and Moose Jaw) with top rates reaching $12.80/hr in May 2007 ($11.55 outside Saskatoon, Regina, Moose Jaw).

Further, the company has proposed that the start rate be increased to $7/hr after an agreement is reached (30 cents above the new minimum wage), rising to $8/hr in 2007.

Today, unionized employees at Extra Foods in Swan River, Manitoba start at $7.65/hr. ($7.75 in January 2003), reaching a top rate of $12.55/hr ($12.80 in January 2003), after 7,500 hours worked.

Meatcutter & Bakers

Currently, Meatcutters and Bakers start at $8/hr. and $6.50 at rural Extra Foods, reaching top rate of $14.75/hr. (Regina, Saskatoon and Moose Jaw)after 5,000 hours worked. All other stores in Saskatchewan reach a top rate of $13.75 after 6,000 hours. The company proposes to increase the hours needed to get to top rate to 8,000 hours, (9,000 hours outside Saskatoon, Regina and Moose Jaw) with top rates reaching $17.25/hr in May 2007 ($16.25 outside Saskatoon, Regina, Moose Jaw).

Further, the company has proposed that the start rate be increased to $8.50/hr ($7 rural Extra Foods) after an agreement is reached , rising to $9.50/hr in 2007 ($8 in rural Extra Foods).

Today, unionized employees at Extra Foods in Swan River, Manitoba start at $8.65/hr. ($8.75 in January 2003), reaching a top rate of $17.30/hr ($17.55 in January 2003), after 7,500 hours worked.

Courtesy clerks

Courtesy clerks currently start at $6.25/hr. with a top rate of $9.25 after 3,200 hours. At the end of the company's prpoposed agreement in 2007, courtesy clerks will be starting at $7.25, topping out at $9.85. Earlier, the company had offered $10/hr. at the end of the agreement but has since reduced the offer.

What has your union asked for?

We've asked that all Westfair employees in Saskatchewan be paid exactly the same as their employees in Swan River, Manitoba.
Ask your manager why the Company doesn't think you're worth as much as their employees in Swan River, Manitoba.
For more information check the website at www.ufcw1400.ca or call
384-5787 (Saskatoon) or 1-800-274-4036 (elsewhere in SK)


  • posted by Troll
  • Sat, Apr 13, 2002 1:50pm

Well, "walk the walk" I see some pretty skimpy bottom rates above. Did Westfair give a whole whack-o-dough on the bottom rates?

Now, "walk the walk" you wouldn't have been trying to mislead us here, now would you?

  • posted by weiser
  • Sun, Apr 14, 2002 7:19am

I was looking over an old newspaper article from a while back, and can now better understand where the UFCW is comming from. Tommy Fawkes, a UFCW "voice" said:

quote:


The UFCW says its decision to negotiate the deal with Overwaitea simply acknowledged the new reality of the industry. 'Overwaitea, Safeway and [others] have all said they're not interested in providing careers any more,' Fawkes said.

'I think not to tell people entering the retail grocery business today that there's no future here is wrong,' he said. 'This is a job to get you a better education, or a trip to Europe. It's not the job you're going to retire in.'


So, as the UFCW seems to be saying, "don't worry about long-term employment because your's isn't a 'real' job anyway. Accept what you have and move on. Don't fight. The employer has spoken."

  • posted by siggy
  • Sun, Apr 14, 2002 8:04am

quote:


The UFCW says its decision to negotiate the deal with Overwaitea simply acknowledged the new reality of the industry. "Overwaitea, Safeway and [others] have all said they're not interested in providing careers any more


I was there when they jammed this down our throats.

"new reality of the industry" these words came out of every MR at every opportunity.
Those of us who were there, knew the real reality. The 777 deal was about to bite the rest of us.

It was like trying to stop a train wreck that had already happened. They negotiated behind our backs and told us they weren't negotiating. They surprised us with a ratification vote 6 mos prior to the end of our existing agreement. They changed the long standing *me too* order with Safeway. Safeway always negotiated first then Save-on did the *me too* deal. They knew they would never be able to get this concessionary stuff ratified by the more militant Safeway members.

Either way it was the general consensus this deal had been cut years before. It was Part 2 of 777

  • posted by weiser
  • Sun, Apr 14, 2002 9:32am

quote:


It's not the job you're going to retire in.'


When you consider that the bulk of the UFCW membership is in retail, you'd wonder why the hell the Canadian Commercial Workers Industry Pension Plan (CCWIPP) is such a big deal to the UFCW.

Wouldn't the new employees be better off having the extra 45 or 50 per hour in their pockets rather than having it used to fund Cliff's hotel deals?

  • posted by Richard
  • Sun, Apr 14, 2002 1:22pm

quote:


The UFCW says its decision to negotiate the deal with Overwaitea simply acknowledged the new reality of the industry. 'Overwaitea, Safeway and [others] have all said they're not interested in providing careers any more,' Fawkes said.

'I think not to tell people entering the retail grocery business today that there's no future here is wrong,' he said. 'This is a job to get you a better education, or a trip to Europe. It's not the job you're going to retire in.'


What good is a union if it can't provide you with job security?

So the grocery giants said they weren't interested in providing careers anymore? So, big shit! Every time we go into bargaining, they say they aren't interested in giving a raise. So, Really Big Shit!

Unions are about making the employers INTERESTED in doing things union members want and need.

To say retail job are to get you a better education is to say that those who work retail don't have good educations. Many many retail workers have better educations than Fawkes and the likes of him. How &%%*$#@ condescending!

He's the same son of a B who blamed the almost closure of the Vancouver Island stores on the membership for not agreeing to concessions. I saw the news clip. What a smug %$&*%#@!

  • posted by no faith
  • Sun, Apr 14, 2002 8:36pm

the strike was all about RESPECT. Bolony!! It was all about..I just havent figured it out just yet. Maybe Brian Stewart was trying to get himself into the history books as the one who broke Westfairs back? I think NOT!
The only one that is broke is all the strikers that didnt get paid for 2 weeks fighting for exactly the same contract that they originally voted no for. Behind the door bargaining seems to be the word of the week when it comes to ufcw 1400. 250,000 into a fund that the workers cant touch until 2005. I dont understand. Who counted the yes votes??????

  • posted by siggy
  • Sun, Apr 14, 2002 8:42pm

Welcome aboard no faith

Can you tell us a little more of what happened? And what is happening now?

  • posted by no faith
  • Sun, Apr 14, 2002 8:46pm

sure, what do you need to know?

  • posted by siggy
  • Sun, Apr 14, 2002 8:56pm

Give us an up close and personal view of what it was like for a Westfair employee/UFCW member.

What were the expectations at the onset? How do people feel now that it is over. What is it like in the workplace now that it is over? Anything you can tell us.

  • posted by weiser
  • Sun, Apr 14, 2002 8:57pm

The strike probably wasn't supposed to have happened. The union lost control of the members for a while. If you keep people poor long enough, they can't miss more than one paycheque before they are out of food and behind in their rent.

The strike could have shut down the distribution centres and the strike could have spread to Alberta. The UFCW could have led the strike of the decade, but it didn't.

You had the power at your fingertips, but the UFCW couldn't or wouldn't use it.

Before Westfair will respect you, they have to first respect your union. I don't know of an employer in Canada that truly respects the UFCW.

Near minimum-wage start rates, mostly unattainable top rates and six-year contracts are a stark reminder of the contempt Westfair has for the UFCW. To get respect, a union has to earn respect. Weak unions can never earn respect.

  • posted by Troll
  • Sun, Apr 14, 2002 9:19pm

You don't bargain respect. Respect comes from a union presence in the workplace every day. I comes from a union that won't take any guff from management. A tough union wouldn't let this sort of crap happen and they sure as heck wouldn't wait for bargaining to straighten the company out:

quote:


HIS CAREER'S IN A PLASTIC BAG NOW

Toronto Sun, August 28, 1997,

An employee of Westfair Foods, parent company of the Real Canadian Superstore, says his superiors are threatening to fire or suspend him if he brings his lunch to work again in a Safeway bag.

Darren Strohan, who works in a Saskatoon warehouse owned by another Westfair Foods' company, said he brought the bag to work Monday and was harassed and belittled for more than 15 minutes by a manager.

'He just flipped and kept yelling ‘Why don't you go work at Safeway?'' Strohan said.

The company's industrial relations representative told him he's lucky he wasn't fired.


If I was the business agent responsible for that warehouse, I'd move in and live there until the bastard managers behaved themselves.

  • posted by <no faith>
  • Sun, Apr 14, 2002 9:26pm

The expectations? Ha, there were none. For anyone that has been in this union for any amount of time, we had no faith in this union right from the get go. It's unfortunate that most of the supporters were kids that didnt even know who the heck these people were. The reps had come in around xmas with a "survey" for all to answer. And we all know how survey's go. They just made it look like they wanted to know what we wanted. And let me tell you, Respect and dignity was far behind MORE MONEY!!! I still am trying to figure out this angle of theirs but it hasnt hit me yet.
The general mood around the store that I work at is pretty quiet except when Glenn and his cronies come in harassing and swearing at people who crossed. It was pretty ugly the day after the strike. Since both sides are not talking it's hard to say what everyone is feeling, personally myself I feel betrayed yet again. 2 weeks on strike for the union to get 250,000 that the membership cant touch until May of 2005.
At least they had a picketers party Saturday night with free booze. What a slap in the face I'd say. Do they really think that most of the membership wont wake up and realize that the union sold them out?

  • posted by Scott Mcpherson
  • Mon, Apr 15, 2002 12:06am

Sure they sold you out, that's what they do time and time again. Sure there are exceptions every once in a while but for the most part the UFCW caves and stuffs the deal down the memberships throat. Everybody is good at something and I think the UFCW is the leader of the pack at this.

But the word is out and speading to more and more people every day. Think about all the employees that go through our stores and leave with a very bad taste about unions. Think about all the people they share that with. Think about what they'll teach their kids about unions.

Company CEO's hold out the promise of pension contributions and new members for union officials like drug dealers hold out the next fix for a junkie. Biz unions are hooked and employers know it and like all junkies it's never going to get better, only worse. Like all junkies lies only work for so long and fool even the blindest so long before the world begins to see them for what they truely are.

Sooner or later the UFCW will no longer exist in the mannor it does today. The self serving hypocrits that dominate this unions elite will be on the unemployment line eventually make no mistake about it. Either because reformers won't put up with their crap, another union has replaced them as the bargaining agent or more likely failing change workers will decide to get rid of them completely. That's "the new reality" of this industry.

Tom...you make what? 100K per year and do???? nothing of real value as far as I can tell. Yet you have the gaul to suggest members should just accept that they're not wanted anymore and move on. I think the members should march down to the hall and stay there until your bags are packed and your desk is cleaned out. As long as people like you are involved with unions workers will always be at the mercy of their employers.

  • posted by siggy
  • Mon, Apr 15, 2002 6:45am

no faith, I am interested in hearing your version of what went down. You could start with some facts about your old CA. Some comparisons. Take us thro the strike vote and on the line, right to where the Westfair employees are today.

Tell us what your union did and said right from the beginning. What were people being told? What you think they weren't being told?

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Mon, Apr 15, 2002 6:52am

What's with this 250K fund and why can't members touch it until 2005? If the fund is to provide benefits for part time workers, why do they have to wait 3 years to get benefits? It takes no time to start a benefit program. Call any insurer in town and they'll tell you how quickly you can get coverage for a group of workers.

Is this so the co. can sit on its $250,000 for 3 years? Who's supposed to be administering this thing?

  • posted by Troll
  • Mon, Apr 15, 2002 6:56am

Take care of the "funds" and offer more dues payers and you got a deal.

Funds are very, very important to machine heads, so are more, much more, members. And the "top" rates are always taken care of. The same top rates that determine the machine heads' salaries.

Do your research. It's the same every time.

  • posted by no faith
  • Mon, Apr 15, 2002 7:39am

It's hard to compare somethings that are so similar. Same 3 year back to back contracts. The contract itself has very few changes, hell it even had the buyout schedule in it again which this union didnt even ask for. Mind you it's still crappy. Where to begin. I'll start with the rates.
Food service clerk-starts at 7 ends at 16.00 after 7500 hours in 2007
(2nd tier tops out at 19.23)
GM service clerk-starts at 7 ends at 12.85
(2nd tier at 16.84)
meat cutter/bakers-start 8.40 ends at 17.90
(2nd tier at 20.59)
courtesy clerks start at 7 end at 10.05
The respect and dignity clause is under Personnal Harassment and goes something to this effect. The Employer agrees that employee's, the people who are a vital part of our success,must be treated with dignity, respect and fairness appropriate in the circumstances.
The parties aree that allegations of inappropriate conduct may be grieved under Article 16. If the parties cannot resolve the issue throught the grievance procedure, the matter may be referred to an arbitrator under section 18. In the event that the arbitrator finds that a violation of this letter has occured, he/she will be limited to referring the case to the following dispute resolution process.
1) the matter will be referred to a mediator from an agreed list of suitable mediators
2) If the matter is not resolved through direct mediation, the mediator will write a report outlining his view of the matter and make recommendations for a resolution.
3) individuals indentified through the process as having engaged in inappropriate conduct will be retrained or appropriately disciplined as determined by the employer.
(GIVE ME A BREAK!!)
A few other bones were tossed like changing availabilites 2 times a year (but not at xmas), 10% of employees in each department can take xmas holidays..oh and this one I love....All the clocks in the stores will be set to close to the same as possible.
-----------------
The union really didnt have much to say. They were basically a non presence in my store. Glenn Stewart our rep would walk around the coffee room at 3pm on friday afternoons and leave again. The only time we saw them when they brought out the survey and forced everyone to fill it out. They came out full force only after the strike vote was taken. They sent out a couple of letters stressing anyone who crossed would get fined. The respect and dignity isssue, etc etc. I guess the irony of all of this is that they beat eveyone up into a frenzy with a strike, that no one could say anything but. You'd get your face bit off if you said anything against them. The big thing at the strike vote was that Gaelen gets bonus's of 2 million dollars..dont you want a peice of that? It was a joke to anyone with even part of a brain. They made themselves look like they were going to the wire for you, they'd fight to the bitter end. At the meeting Greg got into it with a union member and she had him banging on the podium spitting and crying..let me talk. It was pittiful. They kept stressing that they couldnt talk money until all other issues were finished with. The biggest issue was respect and dignity..as they kept saying was the key issue for all the members. There was no respect or dignity for anyone in that room that did not agree with them.

  • posted by weiser
  • Mon, Apr 15, 2002 8:09am

quote:


Glenn Stewart our rep


Please don't tell me the guy is related to Brian Stewart!

  • posted by Scott Mcpherson
  • Mon, Apr 15, 2002 10:50am

quote:


The Employer agrees that employee's, the people who are a vital part of our success,must be treated with dignity, respect and fairness appropriate in the circumstances


Is this like amending the 10 commandments?
Thou shall not kill....without cause.

  • posted by <Fed Up>
  • Mon, Apr 15, 2002 1:23pm

I'm with you No Faith, Local 1400 had the power to negotiate an effective contract for its members but caved. The COMPANY was dragging its feet on negotiations and the union was in a hurry to sign a contract. If they had waited until the distribution centre was up for negotiation in July, they would have had TRUE bargaining power. It was even brought up at a meeting for Western Grocers employees but Brian said he couldn't drag it out. He said the company would charge him with bargaining in bad faith. Yet when the company drags it out its okay. What the hell would it have mattered at this point if it dragged out further. They had already gone a year without a contract and they could have avoided a LOSING TWO WEEK STRIKE!!!! Would the company have locked them out? NO! At least with a lockout, everyone is out.

Dignity and Respect? This is what they bargained for? Who thought that one up? How stupid!!!! I can see it in the annual report now. "2002 was a bad year for sales but we did manage to bank a lot of dignity and respect. Safeway is kicking our asses but we have dignity and respect."

How absolutely ludicrous!!!!!! The reason the employees are treated poorly is because they are 16 years old and don't have enough maturity to stand up for themselves. The grievance procedure is a joke with NO financial penalty for the company. If there was actual financial penalties, then it would have some teeth.

I know Greg Eyre comes to this site because he told the members at a meeting for Western Grocers employees. Come on Greg, instead of hiding, have some ****s and set the record straight. You sold out your members and had no intention of bargaining for them. Had you waited, you could have had a strong strike position with good morale. You blew it and on purpose.

  • posted by <Fed Up>
  • Mon, Apr 15, 2002 1:28pm

ONCE AGAIN, COME OUT OF HIDING GREG AND GIVE US THE GOODS STRAIGHT UP. SHOW US SOME DIGNITY AND RESPECT.

What's that I hear? Laughter, it seems to be coming from Westfair headquarters. Did they tell you to say that or did you think up this clever little ploy all on your own?

Maybe when it comes time for a raise for you and Brian, we'll forget about the money, hold a big meeting and tell you how much we RESPECT you and how DIGNIFIED you are. That should hold you for another six years.

  • posted by <Fed Up>
  • Mon, Apr 15, 2002 1:36pm

As for beating up people verbally who say anything bad about them, Greg Eyre pulled the same crap on some new guy at Western Grocers six years ago when they ratified their contract. Another member finally stepped in and told Greg to stop yelling. These guys are just unbelievable. Greg's lucky to have a job as the rep for Western Grocers employees. They wanted rid of him back in September but Brian refused.

  • posted by no faith
  • Mon, Apr 15, 2002 6:30pm

Glenn Stewart, Brian Stewart, Darren Piper, those among many others in our local are all related. On that I will not comment because it speaks for itself.
Getting back to the long saga of this strike and all the crap that went with it. We did not know of all the positions this union was in. I'm only finding out now how many other locals could have been in strike position. Local 1400 also takes care of Co-op out of Saskatoon and they just got their strike mandate. Nothing was said to us. I guess being in a powerful position like that makes the Stewart family nervous. They just may have to come up with something brilliant. I wish I had known of this site before the strike. I could have made more of a stand against these boneheads. Maybe the slogan for Co-op will be dignity and respect..the other white meat.

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Mon, Apr 15, 2002 7:14pm

What an absolute joke that "dignity and respect" procedure is. Let me see if I have this straight:

If you are being treated with disrespect, maybe being harassed or verbally abused, you can file a complaint which, if the union doesn't dump it at some point in the grievance procedure, can be taken all the way to arbitration.

Assuming that you prove your case before the rent-a-judge (a difficult thing to do), the rent-a-judge can do nothing for you except refer the case to a mediator.

This powerless rent-a-shmuck will try to patch things up or, more likely, tell you to be a big boy or girl and stop making such a big fuss about these things. If that doesn't set you straight, s/he will, at some expense, write a meaningless report with some crap in it that nobody has to pay attention to.

In the off chance that some company guys are identified as having behaved badly, management can do whatever it wants with them - including nothing.

Why bother going through all these expensive hoops? What you have in the end is exactly what you have right now: management calling all the shots.

This is so pathetic, for the first time in a long while, words fail me.

  • posted by Troll
  • Mon, Apr 15, 2002 7:20pm

Sorry for the double post, but I think when the CSN talks about dignity, they know what it means and they know how to demand it:

quote:


posted by Troll:
The CSN is awesome. Here's their constitution. Take time to read it: CSN

Maybe it's time to organize CSN affiliated unions accross Canada.

Here's their Statement of Principles


  • posted by no faith
  • Mon, Apr 15, 2002 9:37pm

Yes...exactly. Once again they have "fought hard" for this local, went on strike to prove to all that they are the great ones...plllllllt. Respect and dignity. My question was and still is..how do you define respect and dignity? How come there was not some type of definition. My interpretation and yours could be completely different. I really loved the "respect and fairness APPROPRIATE in the circumstances" what the hell is that? Even I can see the hole in that one.

  • posted by siggy
  • Mon, Apr 15, 2002 10:11pm

no faith, you really have to give us more details. UFCW 1518 members are staring down the barrel of a possible strike with our employer and we need to know the gruesome details.

  • posted by HJFinnamore
  • Tue, Apr 16, 2002 7:03am

"No Faith" said:

quote:


Glenn Stewart, Brian Stewart, Darren Piper, those among many others in our local are all related. On that I will not comment because it speaks for itself.


That sort of stuff is rampant in the UFCW, and just about everyone knows it. What's amazing is that one of the issues the UFCW has raised in its suit against me is that I would dare to say that they engage in NEPOTISM.

"No Faith" later said:

quote:


I really loved the "respect and fairness APPROPRIATE in the circumstances" what the hell is that? Even I can see the hole in that one.


That's typical Westfair/UFCW slight of hand (I'm sure they like to call it magic).

Supervisor: "Hey ya' little dweeb rubberhead, get moving and triple your work rate or you'll be out the door without me opening it first."

UFCW Member: "Hey that doesn't sound like you're treating me with dignity and fairness."

Supervisor: "I want you to triple your output, so it's not APPROPRIATE that I treat you with fairness and respect."

What a load. Dignity and respect is always appropriate no matter what the circumstance. The fact that the employer has the sole discretion to determine what happens to any excluded person who breaks the deal is laughable.

Superstore agreements are rife with "in management's sole discretion." That phrase wipes out any benefit mentioned before it.

I think that whomever bargained that language for the union should be punished.

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Tue, Apr 16, 2002 9:59am

I think the whole process is one big indignity. A worker who is being harassed or otherwise mistreated has usually suffered in silence for a long time before coming forward. He or she needs a process that will get results - stop the harassment and remedy their situation - quickly. Being dragged through an arbitration process which can, at best, only get them dragged through a mediation process that can, at best, only get them a management decision, compounds the ill effects of their mistreatment and contributes to the sense of hopelessness and despair that harassment victims experience. It's bad enough being abused by your boss. It's even worse seeing those who are supposed to protect your interests, utterly powerless to do anything for you.

BTW, I've never seen any dispute resolution procedure where arbitration is followed by mediation. Arbitration is supposed to give you a final and binding decision on issues concerning your rights. It's supposed to bring closure to issues, not hand them back to the party that violated your rights for the final decision.

Being from Ontario, I would also be concerned about the effect this language may have on workers whose issues may be proper subject matter for complaints under provincial human rights legislation (i.e., those who believe they are being mistreated because of their gender, age, ethnic background, etc.). Here in Ont the Human Rights Commission tells complainants who are union members and have anti-harassment language in their collective agreements to take their complaints through the grievance procedure rather than filing them with the Commission. I would hate to see a person who is being treated contrary to human rights laws have to go through this back-assward process first.

  • posted by HJFinnamore
  • Tue, Apr 16, 2002 11:20am

I went to a Federated Press conference called "Reinventing Union-Management Partnerships" in November 2000. One presentation called "Mediation/Arbitration Techniques" has Ian Anderson, UFCW Local 175 staff lawyer and Chris Lloyd, from Loblaws on it.

I heard things like, "grievors need to be heard" and the "grievor needs to be told," as good reasons to use arbitrators and mediators.

I heard that sometimes when a particularly troublesome employee/member wouldn't accept "no" for an answer, it is helpful to hire a lawyer or mediator to add legitimacy to "no."

Mediation may be good if the mediator is truly independent, and mediation is good if the employer and the union are in conflict. However, when the union and the employer are secretly in agreement, it is an abomination to hire a so-called mediator or arbitrator to add legitimacy to the deal cooked by the employer and union official.

Does an arbitrator or mediator ever participate in a cooked deal? Unfortunately yes--all too often yes. Today many arbitrators and mediators view themselves as facilitators to bring agreement between the union and employer. They do not view themselves as impartial judges. They would rather the Parties walk away with a "deal" than an award.

The employee doesn't pay the bills, so the only ones who need be pleased are the employer and the union official. If both want the arbitrator to deliver a specific message, the arbitrator will write a "consent" award outlining the message given to the arbitrator out of earshot of the grievor.

The Saskatchewan Superstore language is a prime example of what Loblaws and the UFCW see the purpose of arbitration and mediation to be.

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Tue, Apr 16, 2002 1:30pm

I've heard this kind of talk also about the usefulness of mediation. The view is that the members are "unsophisticated" or that they don't know what good for them. They are unreasonable and their insisting on their rights is just a drain on the union's treasury and a strain on good labour-management relations.

It's indicative of an arrogant, condescending view on the part of union officials of their members. It's the same thing that lurks behind Tom Fawkes comments that workers should not expect a "career" in retail anymore and that their jobs are just for vacations and fun money. No wonder the deals the union gets are so mediocre - it doesn't think they deserve any better.

  • posted by Scott Mcpherson
  • Tue, Apr 16, 2002 6:44pm

quote:


However, when the union and the employer are secretly in agreement, it is an abomination to hire a so-called mediator or arbitrator to add legitimacy to the deal cooked by the employer and union official.


Man I can't even articulate how I feel about this whole process. It's been 2 years this may 5th and the emotions are still all there. In retrospect it would have been far smarter for me to take my arbitration to the final day and drop my case before closing arguments to prevent Sanderson from doing the damange he did to not only my employment and reputation, but to the MFD's case against the UFCW as well.

In trying to save my job I couldn't see the true purpose behind my termination. I didn't see the bigger picture I just kept hoping for justice and believed Sanderson was there to do the right thing. I guess his 20+ grand for five days work clouded his decision making process a bit, who knows. One things for certain, I do not believe in this process as is. However I don't know that there is any hope to change it until unions are either cleaned up or cleaned out once and for all.

  • posted by no faith
  • Tue, Apr 16, 2002 7:57pm

I guess what I have to say on the respect issue is that rape victims would be better treated in a court room than a disrespected union member in mediation. I'm afraid once again UFCW and their swiss cheese contract language has let us down. I think that Sask. law has the same process as Ontario's in respect to going through the grievence procedure before human rights can step in. I have phone calls in with sask labor relations they just have to get back to me to answer some of these questions.
Siggy..what do you want to know yet? Hell I can babble on for hours on how much I hate this union and all that run it, but most of it is in "my opinion" and I have really nothing to back it up with besides some of us old timers that have put up with their crap for over 16 years.

  • posted by siggy
  • Tue, Apr 16, 2002 8:03pm

quote:


besides some of us old timers that have put up with their crap for over 16 years.


Detail the crap

  • posted by weiser
  • Tue, Apr 16, 2002 8:10pm

Here's an interesting article.

quote:


Rather than castigate his fellow bureaucrats for failing to sign up more dues paying members, Sweeney would do well to talk to Fannie Payne, a member of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), who works at a major Cleveland grocery chain. (The UFCW which signed up approximately 50,000 new dues payers last year is one of the organizing success stories mentioned in the February 19th New York Times article.)

Payne, herself the subject of a New York Times feature on the working poor, doesn't earn enough money to properly feed her own family. She told New York Times reporter Elizabeth Becker, 'It's difficult to work at a grocery store all day, looking at the food I can't buy. So I imagine filling up my cart with one of those big orders and bringing home enough food for all my kids.'

In Cleveland, the UFCW regularly pays informational picketers to stand outside non-union Super Kmarts. Given the failure of the UFCW to fight for decent wages and benefits for workers like Payne, is it any wonder that workers at these Super Kmarts aren't clamoring for similar 'representation'?


  • posted by siggy
  • Tue, Apr 16, 2002 8:52pm

UFCW 1400 promises to post the details of the new Westfair agreement soon.

While we wait for Local 1400, let's look at what UFCW 1518 says about the Westfair deal.

"The company put forward a new, improved offer during negotiations last weekend, and the union Bargaining Committee brought the new offer forward to be voted upon by Local 1400 members".

Does that sound accurate no faith?

  • posted by <rwdsu>
  • Tue, Apr 16, 2002 9:32pm

No faith is wrong about grieving human rights under Sask labor legislation. In fact the court of appeal overturned lower court decisions that required unions to file grievences on human rights matters but did not rule on whether unions through grievence procedures retain concurrent jurisdiction. I heard at a labor council meeting recently that an arbitrator recently refused to here a arbitration regarding human rights matters siteing lack of jurisdiction. apperantly the union has appealed this decision so maybe we'll get a definitive answer sometime.
I was hoping someone could answer a question some of us have been debating for a while. whether or not you can grieve human rights either through legislation or contract reference how do you fight personal harassment issues that cannot be interpreted as a violation of a persons human rights IE the harasment was not related to your sex creed color etc and was not due to union activity, and was not disiplinary (nothing ends up on your file) it was simply a manager being mean rude or insulting. my view has been that unless your contract has some method of griving personal harassment you are probobly screwed

  • posted by weiser
  • Wed, Apr 17, 2002 6:55am

To my knowledge, the Canada Labour Code is the only code with a reference to abuse of supervisory authority. In most provincial jurisdictions, you have to have something in your CA. In fact many public sector agreements have that sort of language in them.

  • posted by siggy
  • Wed, Apr 17, 2002 7:46am

Is there a different set of standards for supervisory harassment?

and .. Don't CA's have to have a harassment clause of some kind?

and .. What would prevent a person being harassed from placing charges of a personal nature?

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Wed, Apr 17, 2002 9:45am

As far as I know, most collective agreement clauses that deal with harassment only deal with the harassment that is prohibited by provincial human rights codes (that is, harassment that is based on a person's race, gender, age, ethnicity and so on) or sexual harassment. These kinds of clauses don't address what is often called "workplace harassment" - situations where a worker is being mistreated because their supervisor or manager just gets a kick out of mistreating them. Examples of this kind of harassment are: being insulted, being called names, being humiliated, being threatened - that kind of activity.

The Provincial human rights agencies don't deal with this kind of harassment and in order to be able to deal with it through the grievance procedure, the union has to negotiate some language into the agreement that addresses workplace harassment.

I guess someone being harassed could pursue criminal charges against the harasser but I think the problem there would be the "standard of proof". In a criminal case, the harasser would have to be proven guilty "beyong a reasonable doubt" whereas in an arbitration the standard of proof is lower - "balance of probability". That means, it would be harder to prove that harassment took place in a criminal case than before an arbitrator. That's another reason by getting really good language about workplace harassment into collective agreements is so important.

  • posted by Troll
  • Wed, Apr 17, 2002 10:17am

Isn't it amazing that this conversation is happening at all?

Isn't that what unions are supposed to prevent? Why do we have to rely on the government to protect us from workplace bullies? A good union would put a business agent on the case and he or she would haunt the workplace and be all over the employer for even the itsiest infraction.

If the employer wants to allow harassment then the union will harass the employer. Pretty damned simple concept don't you think?

  • posted by no faith
  • Thu, Apr 18, 2002 8:25am

--------------------------------------------------
There is little the Government can do here since these are internal union affairs. There is no legislation [under the Trade Union Act] that deals with your concerns. If the employer's harrassment policy under The Occupational Health & Safety Act extends to the behavior of collegues and the union, you may be able to explore a remedy there
--------------------------------------------------
I just took this quote out of a letter I had going to the labor relations dept. here in Sask. I asked them regarding Union harrassment to one of it's own. So, I can't find the company's workplace harrasement policy I have to go by memory and say..I think it has nothing stated in it that mentions union harrassment. Maybe that was one of the deals made behind closed doors? Man I'm frustrated. I keep hitting brick walls.

To answer your question siggy..the new and improved contract? They must mean the few changes to the old contract, not a new deal. Because superstore went out on strike and voted yes on the same contract that they orgininally voted no for(but extra foods said yes). The only difference was the 250,000 the union got for it's strike fund and benefit fund.

  • posted by <STASH>
  • Thu, Apr 18, 2002 11:06am

Starting rates at superstore are $6.50 per hour.

  • posted by no faith
  • Thu, Apr 18, 2002 8:45pm

Start rates with the new contract is now 7.00 it used to be 6.50. And still the union takes off the initiation fee of $25 and regular dues all on the first check. Poor bastards that just start have to work a month to get any money. Their 1st 4 hour shift goes to pay the union, then, the 2nd 4 hour shift goes to union dues. If they only work 16 hours for the first week they get 70 bucks in which the government takes half. It's better off working for walmart..least they have no union dues.

  • posted by no faith
  • Fri, Apr 19, 2002 9:52am

NEW ARTICLE - PART-TIME HEALTH AND WELFARE TRUST

Superstore and Wholesale Club: $250,000 will be contributed to start the plan now. Trustees will determine what benefits this money can provide.

Company will start to pay 15¢ per hour into the fund in May, 2005.

--------------------------------------------------
I just took this off ufcw1400 website. How do you like that for swisscheese language! "the trustees will determine what benefits this money can provide...hmm momma needs a new car!!
I'm in this union, I have no idea who the trustees will be, who makes these decisions? Democracy? Not in this union

  • posted by siggy
  • Fri, Apr 19, 2002 10:57am

from the the wage schedule at ufcw 1400.

Top rate UFCW members working at Westfair stores in Saskatewan earn the equivalant of 3 loaves of bread per hour.

Thanks for nothing Mike and we mean that from the bottom of our wallets.

And Mike, please don't help us in B.C. when it's our turn to bargain, we're trying to make gains.

  • posted by fedupwithufcw
  • Fri, Apr 19, 2002 12:32pm

you can't expect a dino like the ufcw to change, they never ever will. Anytime they take a stand it's all show for the camera's then when the shows over it's back to back door business as usual.

  • posted by weiser
  • Sat, Apr 20, 2002 11:05am

quote:


posted by no faith:
NEW ARTICLE - PART-TIME HEALTH AND WELFARE TRUST

Superstore and Wholesale Club: $250,000 will be contributed to start the plan now. Trustees will determine what benefits this money can provide.

Company will start to pay 15¢ per hour into the fund in May, 2005.

--------------------------------------------------
I just took this off ufcw1400 website. How do you like that for swisscheese language! "the trustees will determine what benefits this money can provide...hmm momma needs a new car!!
I'm in this union, I have no idea who the trustees will be, who makes these decisions? Democracy? Not in this union


Well as we all know, funds are private entities, so it's none of your business who runs them or what happens to them.

There's no way the employer can pay the bottom people an extra 15 cents per hour on their pay rate, but they can kick that amount into a union fund.

Who sends these guys to Hawaii? Benefit funds, of course.

Can you tel me again, how many people have enough hours to qualify for benefits?

The fact that so many people won't benefit one iota is a shame.

  • posted by no faith
  • Sat, Apr 20, 2002 9:12pm

We were told at the first informational strike vote..(I love saying that) that these part time benefits would go to EVERY part time worker, based on a percentage of hours worked, not min. hours. This I have yet to see. But then again, if the parttimers abuse the crap out of this fund, and IF and only if they can actually use it, it's going to go belly up before it even gets a chance. 250,000, left in the hands of these boobs isnt going to last long, and I'm sure Brian and his money savy will bet on horse #3 and loose the entire pot. Dam..where did the money go?? Oh well, you poor parttimers tried..we did our best for you but boo hoo...your going to have to wait until we can get our money back into the red..just wait another 7 years until this contract is up and well get that big bad westfair too put even more into that fund.

  • posted by weiser
  • Sun, Apr 21, 2002 8:10am

Think about it:

A dental cleaning and check-up costs around $75 to $100. It takes between 500 to 700 hours at 15 cents per hour to accru the money. That means that every part timer might accru enough to get his or her teeth cleaned once per year.

It is not enough to pay for full medical premiums for a couple of months or even a drivers licence medical.

Now it they keep the operation of the fund real quiet, few people will know about it and fewer will use it. That leaves the fund in better shape and it can do a lot for the odd person who may find out about it. I know they wouldn't do that, but it seems like the only way it could operate to give any one person a decent benefit.

Hey, I've got it! Local 1400 has a web site. They could put detailed information on the site so all members would know exactly how the fund works and how they can access it.

  • posted by siggy
  • Sun, Apr 21, 2002 9:35am

Does this fund resemble the 1518 Junior Clerk benefits fund?

JR Clerks can be reimbursed up to $200 a yr for medical, dental, what have you. The portion left at the end of the yr can only be carried forward for 1 yr.
It's a use it or lose it deal. The fund has existed for 4 yrs and some jrs. are just now discovering it.

What happens to the funds that weren't claimed if they don't carry forward?

  • posted by no faith
  • Sun, Apr 21, 2002 2:43pm

You see this is the kicker. I do not have any details with this fund except the name. They had just told us that this is what they were going for. I guess the dental plan just wasnt making the union enough money, so they needed a new slush fund. I have no idea how this plan is going to be executed. Come to think about it, they dont push the dental fund with jr's. Hell I'm always telling these kids to use it, but they have to phone the union to get any details, if they are qualified or not. It's a total/ year usage. Use only $2,000 per year, and nothing is allowed to be carried over. There is no details put up in the coffee room, just a number to call for benefit plans. None of these kids/newbies know a damned thing what they are entitled to. And what happens to the "left over" money only they and God himself knows where it goes. I had always assumed it went back into the fund.

  • posted by <George>
  • Sun, Apr 21, 2002 3:59pm

I'd like to tell my story about the local 1400 dental plan.

Prior to the strike I phoned the dental plan to check out some dental work my son is getting done to insure my coverage wouldn't stop during the strike, it did'nt. and to confirm what percentage of coverage we had. I was pleasantly surprised to find that most of the work was covered at the 100% level with some of the major work covered 90%. My wife works fulltime in the public sector her coverage is only 60 to 80% and she has to pay half the cost of the plan. I pay nothing. Everyone in my family is covered for up to $2000 per year thats a potential of $8000 per year for my family.

I also know that you only have to average 10 hours aweek for personal coverage many of the youg people in my store are surprised how easy it is to get coverage when they get the letter for the plan informing them that they are now eligable for benifits. family benifits are avaiable when you average 15 hours per week.

I got most of this info from my union union rep and the technical info about what procedures are covered at what % directly from the plan. My rep offered to make the call for me but it was easier for me to do.

From my experience it is a good dental plan and one of the best things about belonging to the union

  • posted by siggy
  • Sun, Apr 21, 2002 7:09pm

quote:


From my experience it is a good dental plan and one of the best things about belonging to the union


Your right, good benefits are every reason to be union. Don't forget to go out of your way to pass on your experience to workers who might not know about their benefits.
Hi George, good to hear from a happy camper.

  • posted by no faith
  • Sun, Apr 21, 2002 7:31pm

George..yes it is a good plan. That I'm not disputing. So is the pension plan. I'm saying OUR rep in our store does not do squat informing these people what benefits they do have. If you and I have the same rep, then I would like to know why the heck he works so hard for one store and forgets about the other one. Everyone that is new I make sure I tell what benefits they are entitled to. I have tried to get our rep to put up the pamplets in our store that informes the newbies of what benefits they get and how to go about getting them. If they send letters to them stating when they are entitled for dental, then do they send letters to them after they quit stating that they can take out the pension benefits and put them into a lira after 2 years? Doubt it.
Siggy..Yes that is why we have unions, and I used to believe in this one, but I just cant anymore.

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