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  • authored by news
  • published Thu, Apr 25, 2002

Sask Superstore deal a major victory UFCW says

Sask Superstore deal a major victory & members are happy, UFCW says

Workers at Real Canadian Superstore and Wholesale Club stores in Saskatchewan are now back at work after a meeting between UFCW and company officials in Toronto ended their two week strike. The deal they were asked to ratify differs very little from the one they turned down just before the strike began. In MFD Forum members of UFCW Local 1400 have been harshly critical of the contract their union brought back from Toronto. The new 6-year deal has starting rates of $7.00 per hour, just above the provincial minimum wage, a health benefit plan for part-time workers that won't provide any benefits until 2005 and a workplace harassment procedure that gives the company the final say in how managers found guilty of harassing workers will be dealt with. Union officials, however, are singing the praises of the new agreement. The following excerpt from a recent article in the Regina Leader Post shows the depth of their enthusiasm for the deal that some members are calling a sell-out.

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

"We're glad it's over," he said.

The union is disappointed with the six-year length of the contract, but Eyre said the members had final say. "The membership is happy and that's all that matters," Eyre said.

Westfair spokesperson David Ryzebol did not comment beyond saying that "things are going back to normal." At the Real Canadian Superstore 76 per cent of workers voted in favour of the offer and 79 per cent at the Real Canadian Wholesale Club agreed to it.

Eyre extolled the respect and dignity clause in the contract as being "the best I've seen in North America" for food store workers, though it is unchanged from the original offer that was rejected by the union two weeks ago.

The main difference between the approved contract and the one rejected two weeks ago is when the employer will provide a $250,000 fund to start a health benefits program for part-time workers. That sum will be provided in the first year rather than in the third year, as was offered previously.

It will take some time to design the plan, including determining employee contributions and defining benefits, Eyre said. The entire sum provided by the company will be used as the basis of the fund.

The wage offer remained the same as in the original with the starting rate increasing to $7.75 per hour by the end of the six-year agreement. The highest wage, available only to workers who started with the company before 1995, will increase by 21 per cent to more than $19 an hour by the end of the contract. For grocery workers who started after that, the maximum wage will be $16 per hour at the end of the contract. "We got probably the highest increase in retail food in many years," Eyre said.

The new agreement will create 20 new full-time jobs and includes some improvements to guaranteed hours for part-time workers. "More part-timers will have a shot at more hours," Eyre said.

Employees at Extra Foods stores, who are also members of the UFCW, accepted the original offer two weeks ago and did not strike.

The strike was "a major victory" from an organizational point of view because the company had scoffed when the union threatened to strike and when it did, stated it would not make a better offer, Eyre said. The concessions from the company are small, but workers are satisfied, he said. "They stood up to people who hadn't treated them very well. We really hope they will notice you don't treat people that way."

The union gained clout with the company as thousands of people stopped shopping at the stores during the strike, Eyre said.

  • posted by Richard
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 6:58pm

I'd say the UFCW guys don't know Jack Schitt

  • posted by siggy
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 7:05pm

  • posted by no faith
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 7:20pm

Once again I'd like to speak for the better half of the members of the Saskatchewan Strike. THIS UNION SOLD US OUT!!!!!!!!!!!! How the heck can you say this was a better deal for the members? When can the part timers start using these "benefits" What benefits Greg? Where were you when this deal was made? With comments like that how the hell can anyone in this union have any faith whatsoever in you? I'm so sick of comments like that! This company has screwed us and so has this union. IS THERE ANYONE OUT THERE THAT CAN HELP US GET RID OF THIS MICKEY MOUSE TEAM!! Maybe someone else out there can explain the reason why we go on strike. I didnt realize that it was to show the company that we would actually "dare" to do it. Wasnt it supposed to accomplish anything? What did it really accomplish? Lost wages for 2 weeks, and a benefit package part timers cant touch until the exalted grand poobah bow's his royal head and grants the commoners access? Gimme a break!!!!!!

  • posted by truthseeker
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 7:23pm

I work at one of these stores and I have not heard the word "victory" in regards to this strike from a single person who I walked with on the picket line. Nobody is happy,they just gave up. It was a disorganized mess from the start. We did our best on the picket line,it is true that we did a good job of slowing business down. I've been thinking of what went wrong and trying to forget about it but it's not easy.The weather was not on our side and we can't blame UFCW1400 for that.Members were crossing,picket pay was not enough and they were cold. Management had been making phone calls to staff asking them to come back to work.Promising them there would be no fines (and there weren't)enticing them with there $10.00 scab wage.Some of these people couldn't resist and they went.As each one crossed it made it easier for the next one to go back.This didn't need to be a long strike if it had been handled right.I think that Westfair was just waiting to see how things were looking by week 2. In Loblaws 2001 annual report,page 31 they said "The company is willing to accept the short term costs of labour disruption in order to negotiate competitive labour costs and operating conditions for the longer term" and further "the company has good reltions with its employees and unions,and, although possible,no significant labour disruption is anticipated" They sound pretty confident to me and now I think I can see why. I have read the thread "the union who didn't want to win" and I juggle two words back and forth inept -corrupt ??I am trying to be fair but after all I've read,it's not easy to think UFCW did the best job they could for us. If they did their best why won't Greg or Brian come on over to MFD and tell us what went wrong from their point of view.I wish Bill was my president Happy???? ya...so happy I could cry

  • posted by weiser
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 7:30pm

quote:


Eyre extolled the respect and dignity clause in the contract as being "the best I've seen in North America" for food store workers, though it is unchanged from the original offer that was rejected by the union two weeks ago.


Is this something like "the best [you've] ever seen in North America?"

quote:


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.


Don't get out much do ya' Greg?

  • posted by lefkenny
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 7:42pm

quote by truthseeker

quote:


I am trying to be fair but after all I've read,it's not easy to think UFCW did the best job they could for us.


Well, I guess despite that fact that I am not an UFCWer, a MFD purpose has rose to the fore front and that is to tell the members the TRUTH. Members in my opinion have the right to know the truth. It is too bad that only UFCW slight of hands are in the lime light. I am sure there are a lot of examples from other unions that are still well hidden. They are still a well kept secret. Perhaps it has to do with the old addage of not taddle taling on your fellow brothers, or perhaps members are not in the right position to be in the know.

Yes, one more enlightened member.

about unions

  • posted by siggy
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 7:54pm

quote:


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


Unless of course, you are still on probation, in which case you have no rights under the Arbitration and grievance procedure.

So the respect and dignity they walked the line for, froze their asses off for, lost their regular paychecks for, is even conditional. Every member is not entitled to that?
I know I have said it once already today, but Horse Pucky UFCW just plain horse pucky!

  • posted by wannabeCAW
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 9:26pm

Sounds like SASK needs a RESCUE from the
UFCW Master Bargainers or could some say
UFCW Master Concessionaires...........or should
we say "Thanks UFCW" another done deal that
continues the decline of our Standard Of Living.
Guaranteed union dues a success for the exec,
who will take 70% of such dues for the salaries
of such UFCW EXECUTIVE

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