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  • authored by news
  • published Sun, Apr 21, 2002

Safeway to ask for final offer vote in Thunder Bay

Safeway to ask for final offer vote in Thunder Bay strike

According to a tersely worded media release issued by Canada Safeway yesterday, high level discussions between representatives of the company and UFCW Local 175 failed to bring the two sides any closer to ending a strike in Thunder Bay, Ontario, that has been going on since October of last year.

The statement also indicates that the company will be requesting a government-supervised vote on its final offer. Under Ontario labour laws an employer can request such a vote once during a strike or lockout.

  • posted by Richard
  • Mon, Apr 22, 2002 7:14am

My word has it that Thunder Bay is the "softening up" ground for the BC and Alberta negotiations. It's no big deal to leave TB out for a few months to show the rest of Canada how tough Safeway is.

They've proved their point, and the members are starving, so now's the time to offer them sustenence.

Will Wayne boy fold as an example for the rest of Canada, or will the UFCW pump big bucks into the TB strike to ensure the strikers are well taken care of?

What the UFCW does in TB will show you how committed they are to beating Safeway in BC and Alberta.

  • posted by DuffBeer
  • Mon, Apr 22, 2002 10:32pm

Safeway threatens to liquidate, union says

quote:


By Kris Ketonen - The Chronicle-Journal

April 22, 2002

Canada Safeway is threatening to 'liquidate' Thunder Bay's market if striking city employees don't accept the company's latest contract offer, a union negotiating team spokesman says.

John Fuller said the offer - presented to the union after last week's failed round of talks - is designed to make employees pay for the time they've spent on strike.

'They said, ‘if you don't accept that,' they'll liquidate the market,' Fuller said yesterday after the offer was presented to more than 300 United Food and Commercial Workers Local 175 members at a morning meeting in Thunder Bay.
'They wouldn't say what that meant,' Fuller said of the liquidation comment.

There have long been rumours that the city's Safeway stores would be sold to Sobey's, which runs the IGA chain.

'We believe that this strike was to a large degree engineered and has been continued by the company from its outset for whatever agenda they want to put in place, either across Canada or in the U.S.,' Fuller said.
The membership, he said, feels 'betrayed.'

There are 15-20 items in the company's latest offer that Fuller said posed problems.

For example, the company wants a four-year contract term, elimination of the employee training and education fund, and sick time cut from 148 hours to 48 hours a year.
The company also wants to cut the employee Christmas bonus, which works out to one week's pay for full-time employees.
The company is also seeking the right to introduce counter-ready meats, which would eliminate several jobs in the stores' meat departments.
Finally, the company wants to 'penalize employees' vacation and sick days for the amount of time they've been on strike,' Fuller said.

Safeway intends to have union members vote on the offer in a government-supervised vote, Fuller said.

There was no word on when that might happen.

It could be delayed by the ongoing Ontario Public Service Employees Union strike, as several workers who would process the vote application are on that picket line.

When the vote is announced, Fuller said, the union will hold another meeting to take members through the offer step by step.

Labour laws, however, allow the offer to be changed between now and the final offer, he said.

'We're basically in a holding pattern until they (Safeway) decide when they're going to apply (for the vote),' Fuller said.
'It's sort of in the company's hands.'

The employees have been on strike since Oct. 1.

Safeway representatives weren't available yesterday.


  • posted by siggy
  • Tue, Apr 23, 2002 9:03am

What happens to collective agreements negotiated prior to a sale to another company in the same business?

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Tue, Apr 23, 2002 10:20am

Successor rights legislation applies. The new owner acquires the collective agreement as if they were the original signatory.

  • posted by siggy
  • Tue, Apr 23, 2002 10:32am

If successorship applies then an agreement filled with concessions would look real good on the *for sale* sign not?

Signing off on concessions does not guarantee the company will change its' already in the works agenda, whether that agenda is to remain in the market, leave the market or sell its' share of the market.

Is it fair to conclude at this point the companys' decision has been made and the outcome of the vote will have little or no impact?

  • posted by weiser
  • Tue, Apr 23, 2002 10:55am

Safeway threatens to "liqidate" in TB. Safeway threatens to close in Alberta. Safeway threatens to close in BC:

quote:


The Vancouver Sun, July 5, 1996, Final Edition, p.B3.

Fawkes said the contract negotiated last weekend, which members are voting on in a series of meetings that conclude Friday, is the best
that can be achieved with Safeway threatening to sell its holdings if the strike continues.

Fawkes said he would vote for the contract if he were a Safeway or Overwaitea employee.


You'll notice that OFG learned the "we'll close" routine for the Island stores a few months back. They just can't help themselves because it works so well with the UFCW.

If Safeway sells, the contracts go with the stores. If Safeway sells, another competitor will enter the market.

Safeway is not about to pull out of Canada. If they leave one of the most lucrative markets in North America, someone will buy their business.

They shut right up about closing down in Alberta when Westfair Foods took out full-page ads offering to buy all of Safeways Alberta Stores.

Whenever, I hear, "we're closing" I start to smell something really stinky that's about to happen.

  • posted by lefkenny
  • Tue, Apr 23, 2002 11:02am

I do believe safeway tried the same tactic in Manitoba.

aboutunions

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Tue, Apr 23, 2002 11:03am

I am always suspicious about threats of closure especially in advance of a vote on a final offer. Decisions to leave a market (if that's what is meant by liquidating?) are not made hastily or lightly. I'd be curious if this is the first time that anyone has heard of Safeway planning a departure from Thunder Bay? If it is, then I'd be very suspicious.

If the company has a history of making such threats during negotiations or strikes, then I'd be even more suspicious.

If I were the union, I would be considering filing bad faith bargaining or unfair labour practices charges (although that would mean having to do business with the OLRB and, as I understand it, the UFCW considers that to be "scabbing" - oh, what a dilemma!)

On the other hand, if the company is planning to vamoose, those plans have probably been on the drawing board for some time and will come to fruitition whatever the outcome of the vote. Workers may be better off resisting a concessionary contract. If the company closes its doors, it will only mean less severance, less vacation pay, less everything.

A crappy collective agreement may make the business more attractive to potential buyers (an incentive to sell), but it also makes it a more profitable operation for the existing owner (an incentive to keep the business). Oh, another dilemma.

I think the workers should demand a meeting (a town hall style meeting) with the corporate brass and ask some pointed questions about their intentions - and maybe send them a pointed message as well.

  • posted by weiser
  • Tue, Apr 23, 2002 12:58pm

Why is it that everytime an employer says, "give me what I want, or I'll close," the union immediately cranks up and starts telling people to accept or they will all be lost. Heck, even Westfair Foods has formalized the schtick. In their Financial Statements, they say that they aren't afraid to pull out of markets if they have to.

I can understand the first time, but time in and time out, they swallow the same story.

Is this what partnering is all about?

  • posted by DuffBeer
  • Tue, Apr 23, 2002 2:20pm

Safeway confirms closure threat

quote:


By Kris Ketonen - The Chronicle-Journal

April 23, 2002

Canada Safeway has confirmed it will close its Thunder Bay stores if striking employees don't accept the company's latest contract offer.

The official word came yesterday from Toby Oswald-Felker, Safeway's Calgary-based vice-president of public affairs.

'If they do vote against the final offer, we have told the union that we would be forced to permanently close the Thunder Bay stores,' she said.

The statement doesn't scare union representatives.

'We'll start encouraging potential buyers to go up and pick up three very lucrative stores,' said John Fuller, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 175 negotiating team spokesman, adding he's confident current employees will be rehired if there's a sale.

'Employers tend to want to keep good, strong employees that the customers recognize.'

There have long been rumours that the company would close or sell the Thunder Bay stores, with Sobey's and its IGA chain repeatedly mentioned as potential buyers.

There was no word from Oswald-Felker yesterday on a possible sale.

The offer the members will vote on in a government-supervised vote differs from the offer presented to union members at Sunday morning's meeting, Oswald-Felker said.

Other than that, no details were available from the company yesterday.

But Fuller had some details.

There are minor changes in the new offer, he said. All major points - geared at helping the company recoup some of the losses suffered during the strike - remain intact, Fuller said.

Those include elimination of the employee training and education fund, and cutting sick time from 148 hours to 48 hours a year.

A memo from Fuller distributed to striking Thunder Bay employees yesterday says 11 changes were found in the new offer, but, 'None of these individually, or collectively, would constitute any change that would lead the negotiating committee to alter their position.'

The union does not endorse the offer, received yesterday morning.

It came with a letter from J.P. Witiuk, Safeway's director of labour relations, calling it 'the last, best and final offer.'

Witiuk referred calls for comment to Oswald-Felker, who also called the newest offer 'final.'

Despite the company's claim, Fuller is not prepared to accept the offer as final until the company applies for the government-supervised vote. A copy of the final offer must be included in the application, and labour laws allow the company to change the offer until the application is filed.

Oswald-Felker said the company will apply for the vote today, and it could take place within three weeks.

'Because the situation is so serious, we wanted to utilize every opportunity that was available to us in an effort to make sure we left no stone unturned to try to come to an agreement,' she said of the decision to hold the vote.

Thunder Bay Safeway employees have been on strike since Oct. 1.


  • posted by <Red>
  • Tue, Apr 23, 2002 8:00pm

quote:


Thunder Bay Safeway employees have been on strike since Oct. 1.


And Bernie Christophe stabbed those employees in the back when he refused to take his members out along with them in Manitoba.

  • posted by weiser
  • Tue, Apr 23, 2002 8:17pm

Do you realize that TB, Manitoba and Alberta could have hit the bricks at the same time? Albera's been expired for about a year now.

These guys should be ashamed of themselves.

  • posted by laura
  • Tue, Apr 23, 2002 9:20pm

Safeway seems to use the same threat over and over again. But why wouldn't they as it seems to work so well. We are looking at the same thing in BC next year.
I hope Thunder Bay tells them what they can do with their final offer. It is time for the union to" draw the line in the sand" and support the members.

  • posted by siggy
  • Tue, Apr 23, 2002 10:04pm

What the hell they doin'?

They take Thunderbay out, knowing full well the company is using threats (unfair bargaining practices?) to get concessions, then the machine let's the company walk all over them in Manitoba. If that's not enough the machine then passes up an opportunity to take the company to task in Alberta.

While all that is happening the machine even went so far as to bring 175 members to B.C. to bring home the retail reality to 1518 members. And now they're acting all surprised because the company has confirmed what everyone knew at the beginning. This is what Safeway does best!!!

The 175 rep said 'We'll start encouraging potential buyers to go up and pick up three very lucrative stores,' said John Fuller, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 175 negotiating team spokesman, adding he's confident current employees will be rehired if there's a sale".

Safeway used 3 stores to manipulate the machine in the whole of Canada. If thay want to leave Canada then ufcw should help them pack.

The members have had enough threats to last them a career.

  • posted by weiser
  • Wed, Apr 24, 2002 10:19am

Thunder Bay is a great laboratory. Safeway can mix up a batch of scary stuff and if it blows up, who cares because there are only three stores. Besides, the explosion will scare employees right accross the continent.

The union can act tough without much consequence because with only three stores, the stike pay is a comparative drop in the bucket.

I'm really astounded that the UFCW didn't use its available strength to shut Safeway down from TB to Alberta.

  • posted by DuffBeer
  • Wed, Apr 24, 2002 3:59pm

Safeway applies for vote on new offer

quote:


By Kris Ketonen - The Chronicle-Journal
April 24, 2002

Canada Safeway has applied to the Ministry of Labour for a supervised vote on the company's final contract offer in an ongoing Thunder Bay strike.

The application was officially made yesterday, and the company expects the vote to be held within three weeks, said Safeway vice-president of public affairs Toby Oswald-Felker.

The exact date is in the government's hands. A ministry spokesman said the application will be assigned to Ontario Labour Relations Board field staff, who will conduct the vote.

The board will meet in the next few days to iron out the specifics, such as how voting information will be sent to union members and the time of the vote, the spokesman said.

Striking Safeway workers are represented by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 175.

The ongoing Ontario Public Service Employees Union strike shouldn't delay the vote, the spokesman said.

Oswald-Felker said the final contract offer is the same offer that was presented to the union Monday morning. It contains several items geared to make employees help pay for company losses during the strike, which began Oct. 1.

No details on the offer were available from the company.

However, union representatives have said one of the major issues is work hours. The company wants part-time employees to be available around the clock for shifts, making it impossible for part-timers to hold another job.

Christmas bonuses, the number of sick days, and the employee training and education fund are on the chopping block.


  • posted by Troll
  • Wed, Apr 24, 2002 4:12pm

Give me a friggin' break:

quote:


Oswald-Felker said the final contract offer is the same offer that was presented to the union Monday morning. It contains several items geared to make employees help pay for company losses during the strike, which began Oct. 1.

No details on the offer were available from the company.


That should mean all out war if the UFCW has the guts to call one.

UFCW

Is the UFCW going to allow Safeway to piss all over it?

  • posted by <rebelwithoutapause>
  • Wed, Apr 24, 2002 6:21pm

Well how now Wayne Hanley? Maybe you should have been minding the fort instead of hangin' out in the boardroom.

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Wed, Apr 24, 2002 7:01pm

The company's actions are quite outrageous. They've as much as said: "We're going to punish you for going out on strike. If you refuse to take our punishment for exercising your legal rights, we'll close our doors and throw you out of work."

I certainly hope that the UFCW intends to file unfair labour practice charges over this.

Or does the UFCW only take its members to court?

  • posted by siggy
  • Wed, Apr 24, 2002 7:16pm

quote:


I'm really astounded that the UFCW didn't use its available strength


I wish I was astounded. Unfortunately it is what the Power Source has come to expect.

No steps forward, how many steps back Mr. Company?

  • posted by Richard
  • Wed, Apr 24, 2002 7:23pm

quote:


UFCW

Is the UFCW going to allow Safeway to piss all over it?


Shouln't it be, "Is the UFCW going to allow Safeway to piss all over UFCW members?"

The big difference is nothing Safeway does really affects the UFCW as a corporation. It's UFCW members who are the individuals who get hurt.

If the UFCW capitulates on this one, you might as well question what you pay dues for. Who needs a union if an employer can punish union members for going on strike? And that goes doubly so considering the total lack of support Manitoba gave TB and the fact that Alberta has done squat to turn up the heat on Safeway.

Maybe it's time for Mike Fraser and his pal Hanley to take Collective Bargaining 101.

  • posted by siggy
  • Wed, Apr 24, 2002 7:29pm

quote:


Shouln't it be, "Is the UFCW going to allow Safeway to piss all over UFCW members?


Doesn't matter how you phrase it Richard, it's raining yellow in mouseland.

  • posted by weiser
  • Wed, Apr 24, 2002 8:05pm

quote:


National Post, October 26, 2001, National Edition, p.FP9.
WINNIPEG - The union representing Canada Safeway workers in Manitoba has filed charges of bargaining in bad faith against the company. The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 832, said the grocery chain is threatening to sell its Manitoba stores if the union doesn't accept a cut in pay and benefits. The chain declined
comment.


And the UFCW says, "Run Away! Run Away!"

  • posted by weiser
  • Wed, Apr 24, 2002 8:22pm

quote:


A double take on Safeway's doubletalk
The Edmonton Journal, April 26, 1997, Final Edition, p.H1.
By Linda Goyette

Plunk your quarter into an empty grocery cart and meet me anywhere but Safeway. We're going shopping today for corporate doubletalk.

Over here in Aisle 4B, you'll find a collection of Safeway ads against striking employees. You've read them in the newspaper and heard them on the radio. Let's do a quick review.

* 'It's about people. It's about a wealthy, U.S.-based union not accepting an offer better than one given to our competition. It's about fairness.'

Albertans will decide for themselves what this strike is about. Many happen to believe it's about people called part-time workers. It's about a wealthy, U.S.-based company not making a fair offer that its huge profits would allow. It's about fairness for employees, not just shareholders.

* 'Why the double standard UFCW?'

Safeway executives are indignant that their company is singled out for criticism and boycotts.

They argue that the union approved a less generous offer at Real Canadian Superstore in 1995. Defending their treatment of Safeway employees, they point to other retail giants like Wal-Mart where non-union employees work for lower wages with fewer benefits.

They ask why Safeway's competitors can get away with a shoddier employment record without a consumer backlash. Fair question. Here's one possible answer.

The Safeway strike in Alberta is in the news now. It is a natural focus of public attention. If Safeway's competitors were refusing to bargain with strikers, they could expect the same contempt from a large segment of the population, even in Alberta where union support is dismal.

Why are these companies so surprised at the criticism? Do they expect Canadians to cheer wildly when they replace permanent, well-paid employees with casual part-timers trapped in a lower wage scale without benefits? Are we supposed to admire the dominant corporate trend of the 1990s to treat North American employees as expendable, cheap labour?

Safeway is not the worst offender, but it's the offender of the moment. The Alberta strike has become a symbol of a deeper social problem: high profits for shareholders; obscene salaries and bonuses for senior executives; wage concessions, disappearing hours and tumbling incomes for a part-time workforce.

* 'For every hour worked, Safeway contributes to a benefit fund.'

Take that double-talk, and chew it. More than 80 per cent of Safeway employees are part-time workers. Part-timers hired since 1993 aren't allowed to work more than 20 hours a week. To sign on for the main benefit package - payment of the Alberta health-care premium, a little life insurance, the prescription drug plan and vision care - a Safeway employee has to work 32 hours a week for 13 consecutive weeks. In other words, the 'new hires' will never qualify. Most can get dental coverage within a year, but the union says only one worker in 20 qualifies for the main benefit plan.

* 'Safeway is bargaining in Alberta. No matter what the union might say, this is not an international issue.'

Albertans will decide for themselves whether the strike is an international issue. Safeway executives in California should remember that customers up here have long memories and a certain affection for the Canadian economy.

In 1990, Canada Safeway made a whopping dividend payment of $539 million to its American parent company to help reduce its debt. It borrowed to finance that payment. Digging into his research files, Mel Hurtig reminded me the other day about something else that happened when Canada Safeway's net profit tumbled that year.

The company's 1990 annual report boasts: 'The debt restructuring and the related dividend is providing long-term tax benefits to the parent.' When corporate profits leave Canada without adequate taxation, Canadians who struggle to pay their own taxes have every reason to resent the shortfall. The lost profits and tax revenue can't be recirculated in the Canadian economy.

In 1993, Canada Safeway pleaded financial trouble and received

$40 million in wage and benefit concessions from Canadian employees who asked for job security in exchange. In 1997, the firm is still determined to cut its overall wage bill in Alberta despite huge and growing profits in both countries.

When a Colorado Safeway checkout clerk starts at $13.44 an hour, and an Alberta Safeway worker starts at $7.50 an hour, forgive Canadians if they consider it an 'international issue.'

* 'Thank you for shopping at Safeway.'

Doubletalk with ice cream on top. Who is shopping at Safeway? Sure, some people are marching through the picket line with their eyes on the sidewalk, but thousands of former customers are shunning the place as if it had a tuberculosis quarantine sign on the door.

Many Albertans will refuse to buy a roll of toilet paper from that store until the company and the union sign a fair contract. The union is ready to negotiate. When will Safeway return to the table?


  • posted by <lark>
  • Wed, Apr 24, 2002 8:52pm

quote:


* 'Why the double standard UFCW?'

Safeway executives are indignant that their company is singled out for criticism and boycotts.

They argue that the union approved a less generous offer at Real Canadian Superstore in 1995. Defending their treatment of Safeway employees, they point to other retail giants like Wal-Mart where non-union employees work for lower wages with fewer benefits.


After reading this part and reflecting on it, if I was in the company's shoes, I would ask for the same thing too. The UFCW created this whole mess with their crummy two tiered wage contracts and concessions to Loblaws. If you give it to one, then they all want it. Safeway wants the same competitive (low) wages that their competitors are paying. If the UFCW hadn't lowered the bar.... round and round it goes.

As for the UFCW soliciting buyers for the stores, now that's a good one.

  • posted by Scott Mcpherson
  • Wed, Apr 24, 2002 10:41pm

It's the same old song and dance every place you look isn't it? same empty threats, same UFCW tap dancing. I just don't get it. When are people going to clue in that retail workers in this industry aren't going to ever be able to make a living if we don't get rid of the UFCW? Tom Fawkes even states that people shouldn't ever get into this industry thinking there is a carreer in it for them. It would be bad enough if he was working for the employers but he's not, this is a UFCW mouth piece talking!

Safeway really doesn't have a lot to loose in Thunder Bay when you think about what they can gain in B.C. and Alberta. The UFCW will have the excuse they need to cave and the members will have to swallow hard once again. I can hear them now..."Safeway pulled out in Ontario when the members didn't take their final offer, they really mean business". Of course that it was only 3 stores in one city won't be widely talked about, just like in Alberta in '92 when they told us "Superstore" has signed with the Teamsters in Montreal and this UFCW goofball from Ontario kept sharring his horror stories about how he went to work one day and found his manager handing out pink slips to people who didn't take a pay cut.

The times change, the places and players differ ever so slightly but they dance the same dance to to same smoke and mirrors song. When are people gonna stop this broken record and get rid of the D.J.?

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 7:24am

Why doesn't the UFCW do what this union did when confronted with an employer that bargained in bad faith and decided to punish workers for exercising their legal rights?

  • posted by DuffBeer
  • Mon, Apr 29, 2002 1:52pm

Anger brews on picket line

quote:


By Kris Ketonen - The Chronicle-Journal
April 26, 2002

Striking Thunder Bay Safeway employees are past pulling any punches when it comes to the company's latest contract offer.

'The company has offered a piece of sh--,' said United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) representative Colby Flank.

'It is extremely insulting to the members that after seven months of being on strike this is what they think of the membership.

'You can't even say that it was an offer,' she said.

Flank spoke during a day-long public demonstration at the Arthur Street Safeway store, a reaction to Safeway's last offer which is geared at making the employees pay for the strike.

The company said if the membership refuses the offer, the Thunder Bay stores will be closed.

Based on the atmosphere yesterday, Flank's attitude is shared by all employees.

About 150 people - bundled up to fend off a chilling wind - walked a long line circling the store. Signs were posted around the site reading 'Just Sell: Desperate but not Stupid,' and 'Very Profitable Store for Sale.'

Members, wearing UFCW bibs and hats, and flying UFCW flags, carried more signs, with the supportive horn-honking of passing vehicles often downing out conversations.

'The community has been excellent with the group, right from the start of the strike,' Flank said. 'The community has been more supportive since they've seen that the company is trying to get the members to pay for the strike.

'We believe the strike was orchestrated by the company, and why should we be paying for it?

'The membership's very angry with the company.'

UFCW was joined on the line yesterday by about 30 striking members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union , who showed solidarity in body and spirit.

'Nobody should be treated like this,' said OPSEU spokesman James Tocker, sporting a UFCW hat.

'To actually put the blame on them (employees) and saying it's because of them . . . that they're losing money? They (Safeway) had the option of settling this strike some time ago, but they didn't,' he said. 'What they're doing is making this an example for the rest of Canada, and that's terrible.'

There is still no date set for a government-supervised vote on the latest offer. Safeway applied for the vote earlier this week.


  • posted by DuffBeer
  • Wed, May 1, 2002 8:51pm

Safeway still thinking of closures in Thunder Bay

quote:


By Kelly Leydier - The Chronicle-Journal
May 01, 2002

Canada Safeway hopes cool heads will prevail at an upcoming meeting with striking employees, a company spokeswoman says.

Company officials will meet with members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 175 on Friday evening in Thunder Bay to talk about the company's latest offer in the drawn-out, emotional labour dispute.

Safeway's public affairs vice-president Toby Oswald-Felker said the company still plans to close Thunder Bay stores if the offer is rejected.

And while there are currently no plans for security at the meeting, Oswald-Felker said she hopes it won't be needed.

'We hope that people are coming to honestly sit down and hear what the company has to say,' she said from Calgary.

'We can't control, but we can hope that this is a critical enough situation that people will want to listen and understand.'

The fate of Thunder Bay's stores remains uncertain. There are no plans for any sales if the offer is rejected. Oswald-Felker said there has been no interest in the three city locations from other companies.

It's a possibility, Oswald-Felker said, that the stores will join the more than 400 'non-operating sites' in North America - that is, Safeway stores that have been closed and are sitting empty.

Those sites and any sales of them become the responsibility of the company's real estate department.

Oswald-Felker also said the company has never completely pulled out of a community before, except for Toronto. Those stores were closed down in the late 1980s.

Union representatives were unavailable for comment yesterday.

The government-supervised vote happens May 7 at the Valhalla Inn. There are two times: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., and 4 - 8 p.m.

Friday's meeting starts at 6 p.m. at the Italian Cultural Centre on Algoma Street.


  • posted by siggy
  • Wed, May 1, 2002 9:06pm

quote:


Oswald-Felker says: 'We can't control, but we can hope that this is a critical enough situation that people will want to listen and understand.'


What the hell kind of statement is that? If anyone knows how critical the situation is, it would be the people who can't pay their bills and whose jobs are on the line (pun intended).

What an arrogant statement. Felker you listen and you understand what the workers who built safeway have to say.

  • posted by HJFinnamore
  • Wed, May 1, 2002 9:21pm

It's interesing that Toby says that safeway has never pulled out of a market except for Toronto. Isn't that interesting because they threaten to pull out of every market they operate in at bargaining time.

Bargaining had nothing to do with the Toronto pull out. Safeway just couldn't compete in the Toronto market because it was too saturated with conventional retail stores, and the big-box concept hadn't developed yet.

If Safeway would truly pull out of TB, then roll backs won't stop that. I believe TB is the sacrificial lamb to set the stage for Sask, Alta, and BC's bargaining. "Hey, guys, we toasted TB, don't make us do it again!"

What will blow up in Safeway's face is that retail jobs have sunk to such a low level that they aren't worth that much anymore. The TB employees may very well tell Safeway to shove it.

There will be no end to the "hand over the money or we'll close" routine.

  • posted by Troll
  • Thu, May 2, 2002 11:23am

quote:


Safeway: "We'll close!"
Union: "We'll take your last offer."

Safeway: "We'll close!"
Union: "We'll take your last offer."

Safeway: "We'll close!"
Union: "We'll take your last offer."

Safeway: "We'll close!"
Union: "We'll take your last offer."


Nice tune; easy to dance to, but gee, the lyrics are a bit boring and repetitive.

Why the heck is the UFCW so hard on Wal-Mart while the UFCW acts like a "partner" with Safeway? Safeway is not a friend, partner or even remotely concerned about its "relationship" with the "Friendly" Giant (UFCW).

Get with it UFCW. Defend your members or somebody else will.

  • posted by DuffBeer
  • Thu, May 2, 2002 11:14pm

UFCW Local 175 Updates

quote:


Government Supervised Vote at Safeway Strike - April 30th, 2002
This is a special announcement for all UFCW Canada Local 175 members, our supporters in the community, and especially our 400 members in Thunder Bay who have been on strike against Safeway for 7 months to date.

Safeway has requested a government supervised vote over what the company terms their best, last and final offer. The vote will take place on May 7th, 2002 at the Valhalla Inn in Thunder Bay between 9am to 2pm and 4pm to 8pm. Despite the strength and solidarity of our members in Thunder Bay, Safeway's offer is concessionary and absolutely unfair. Therefore, Local 175 strongly encourages our members to flatly reject the company's offer on May 7th.

The company will conduct what they call an information meeting this Friday, May 3rd. The Local Union has requested to attend this meeting to voice the questions and concerns of our members and demand straight answers from Safeway. Local 175 will hold an information meeting for our members where they can find out the truth behind the company's offer.

"At the Local Union meeting, we will show our members the vast discrepancies between Safeway's substandard offer in Thunder Bay and the arbitrator's award for UFCW Canada members in Manitoba," says Local 175 Assistant to the President John Fuller, "From the very beginning of this latest round of talks, our Union has been determined to keep our Members informed, including the distribution of the Manitoba award on April 30th."

"I strongly encourage our members in Thunder Bay to reject Safeway's shameful offer and not bow to the company's threats of closure," says Local 175 President Wayne Hanley, "After 7 long months, our members remain courageous, strong and united in their fight for a decent contract and the Thunder Bay community is behind us more than ever. Even if Safeway closed, we are confident that the market in Thunder Bay would support the opening of another food operation or expansion of a current operator. Safeway knows they have lost the support of Thunder Bay customers due to their callous disregard for the rights of our members. So, we are not surprised if Safeway wants to leave the Thunder Bay market. The company offer reflects that attitude and disregard for Safeway workers, customers and citizens of Thunder Bay."


  • posted by weiser
  • Fri, May 3, 2002 10:39am

So they are shooting for the Manitoba deal:

quote:


"At the Local Union meeting, we will show our members the vast discrepancies between Safeway's substandard offer in Thunder Bay and the arbitrator's award for UFCW Canada members in Manitoba,"


That says a lot. Look out Canada; Manitoba has set the standard for future bargaining.

  • posted by weiser
  • Fri, May 3, 2002 10:56am

quote:


A double take on Safeway's doubletalk
BY: Linda Goyette
The Edmonton Journal, April 26, 1997, Final Edition, p.H1.

…In 1990, Canada Safeway made a whopping dividend payment of $539 million to its American parent company to help reduce its debt. It borrowed to finance that payment. Digging into his research files, Mel Hurtig reminded me the other day about something else that happened when Canada Safeway's net profit tumbled that year.

The company's 1990 annual report boasts: 'The debt restructuring and the related dividend is providing long-term tax benefits to the parent.' When corporate profits leave Canada without adequate taxation, Canadians who struggle to pay their own taxes have every reason to resent the shortfall. The lost profits and tax revenue can't be recirculated in the Canadian economy….


You don't pay back a half-billion-dollar debt in 10 years, so think about it. Is the US going to absorb the debt?

Think of it another way: If Canada Safeway has paid off the half-billion, then it must be pretty damned profitable. This type of stuff is called cooking the books.

Isn't it amazing that the UFCW "brain trust" hasn't once brought up this sort of stuff in their arguments? The best they do is say:

quote:


The Vancouver Sun, July 5, 1996, Final Edition, p.B3.

Fawkes said the contract negotiated last weekend, which members are voting on in a series of meetings that conclude Friday, is the best
that can be achieved with Safeway threatening to sell its holdings if the strike continues.

Fawkes said he would vote for the contract if he were a Safeway or Overwaitea employee.


Granted, the Local 175 guys are saying, "shove the deal" while making it sound like Manitoba got a bouquet of roses. The Manitoba deal is a stinky deal. When are these guys going to do more than beg for freshest shit on the pile and demand and force a decent settlement?

  • posted by news
  • Fri, May 3, 2002 11:15am

quote:


Safeway, union gear up for vote

By Kris Ketonen - The Chronicle-Journal [Thunder Bay]

May 03, 2002

A United Food and Commercial Workers official says Canadian grocery store chains have expressed interest in buying Thunder Bay's Safeway stores should the company close them.

UFCW negotiating committee spokesman John Fuller said comments by Canada Safeway vice-president of public affairs Toby Oswald-Felker, who noted there are more than 400 non-operational Safeway stores in North America, are 'a threat to the Safeway workers, and a lack of respect for the people that live in Thunder Bay.'

Oswald-Felker has said the Thunder Bay stores will close if the union doesn't accept the company's latest contract offer in Tuesday's vote.

'We know that there are interested food retailers that would go into Thunder Bay,' Fuller said, but he said he couldn't mention names.

Oswald-Felker said yesterday there has been no interest in the stores from other companies, nor has a decision to put them on the market been made.

Fuller said Thunder Bay workers want the same treatment that Safeway's Manitoba workes got.

An arbitrator awarded new part-time employees in Manitoba benefits such as dental and shift premiums, which the company opposed.

Fuller sees no reason why Thunder Bay members shouldn't be granted the same benefits. He said there are more stores covered by the Manitoba agreement - more than 30 - but added the three Thunder Bay stores are successful. Not all in Manitoba are successful, he said.

External factors the company used as a bargaining tool in Manitoba, such as competition, don't exist in Thunder Bay, he said.

Oswald-Felker said each deal is negotiated independently.

'They are in different marketplaces,' she said, adding members can't 'pick and choose' parts of different agreements from across the country.

'The award in Manitoba does not impact Thunder Bay.'

Safeway is hosting a meeting today at the Italian Cultural Centre on Algoma Street at 7 p.m. It's open to Safeway employees - not union officials - and will cover the new offer.

That move, Oswald-Felker said, is to allow the employees - the voters - 'to express themselves and their questions freely.'


The union is holding a meeting at the Lakehead Labour Centre at 7 p.m. Sunday to take its members through the company's offer step-by-step. A pre-meeting rally is set for the centre at 5:30 p.m.[quote] Captive audience with no union representation.


Do we smell an unfair labour practice complaint?

  • posted by Scott Mcpherson
  • Fri, May 3, 2002 1:11pm

quote:


That says a lot. Look out Canada; Manitoba has set the standard for future bargaining


If you remember, Sundin and 1518 were going to make available info from the Manitoba agreement. The thing is I have family all over Manitoba. The cost of living there is the lowest in the country. $8 an hrs doesn't go far but it stretches a little easier in Manitoba than anywhere else in Canada. For local 175 to be begging for a Manitoba deal in Ontario is pathetic. Someone will buy the stores so tell Safeway to shove it!

Safeway wouldn't dare try this if they thought for an instant the UFCW was going to really stick it to them back their members up. Instead of the drivel coming out of the UFCW we should be hearing things like..."gee Safeway I really hope we can work this out for our members here cause I'd hate to see you loose these stores. You never know what could happen in other parts of the country later on. Maybe despite our best efforts our members in B.C. won't be able to reach an agreement while the OFG employees do and your business in B.C. could dry up for a spell. Same thing might happen in Alberta or even in parts of the U.S. Gosh, with the closures of these stores and that type of thing it could really hurt your bottom line couldn't it? Boy we better do what we can to help you out and keep your business viable in Canada eh?

Grow some balls and brains and a spine UFCW. Stop pretending to be a union and act like a union. If employers won't negotiate above board and participate in interest based negotiations and instead resort to this bullshit "carrot and stick" style of extortion then grab a bat and a helmet and lets play some hard ball!

If it's game time then show them the difference between F**king and fooling and stop "asking" employers to pay up. Force them too or break their knee caps. [metephorically speaking of course] It's amazing how fast a person or group can find some extra cash when a metaphoric hammer is about to bust them wide open. If the employers won't respect our members then they should fear them. A bully only pushes as far as people let them.

Otherwise, if that's too harsh for your moral constitution to handle then I suggest everybody stop bitching about Safeways tactics, decertify the union [cause they're not doing a damn thing for ya]and take what you can get.

  • posted by <tired>
  • Fri, May 3, 2002 2:32pm

The ufcw has really put all its members in a bind. The sell out at Loblaws has created this situation. Unfortunately Safeway isn't competitive when their competition is getting cut rate wages and high turn over contracts. The grocery trade in Canada grows by about 1-2% a year which doesn't leave much room for a business to grow. Where do you then grow profits? Look at your costs. The largest cost for retailers is labour and herein lies this big push for lower wages.

With wages at the stores being lowered so much, barely over minimum wage, employees might as well decertify. Contract wage rates are the same as what the retailers would pay under no union just to attract employees. If employers make working conditions too shitty then people will quit as they do now. What really will have changed? The UFCW is happy with 6 year contracts because THEY have job security, not employees. Another six on the gravy train.

There really should be government legislation calling for union renewal votes every few years so that disgruntled employees would have an easier time decertifying. The UFCW makes me SICK.

The ufcw makes me sick.

The ufcw makes me sick.

The ufcw makes me sick.

The ufcw makes me sick.

The ufcw makes me sick.

The ufcw makes me sick.

All work and no play........

  • posted by weiser
  • Fri, May 3, 2002 4:31pm

Hey Toby, you said this:

quote:


'We hope that people are coming to honestly sit down and hear what the company has to say,' she said from Calgary.


Shouldn't you have said:

quote:


'We hope that people are coming to sit down and hear what the company has to honestly say,' she said from Calgary.


Are you going to tell the employees about the half-billion-dollar loan that Canada Safeway took out to help the US parent? Is it paid back? Is Canada Safeway still making payments? Is Canada Safeway reeling in the dough?

  • posted by DuffBeer
  • Sat, May 4, 2002 2:10pm

Safeway makes its pitch

quote:


By Jim Kelly - The Chronicle-Journal
May 04, 2002

Canada Safeway workers in Thunder Bay have been given an ultimatum by president and chief operating officer Chuck Mulvenna.

Either accept the company's 'best and final' offer or lose their jobs with no lump sum payments, buyouts or severance packages.

That was spelled out loud and clear yesterday at the Italian Cultural Centre, where Mulvenna explained Safeway's final offer to an audience that was both hostile and receptive.

A large screen at the front of the banquet hall depicted the ultimatum in detail.

The company said a 'No' vote means no lump sums, no buyout money, no severance, the permanent closure of Thunder Bay stores and with it the loss of jobs.

'You eliminate the opportunity for your co-workers to receive the lump sums or buyouts,' the company's final words flashed on the screen to about 300 employees who along with others who didn't attend the meeting will vote on the offer on Tuesday.

'This is a win-win decision for the employees,' Mulvenna told reporters after the meeting.

'No matter how they feel about Safeway, let them look at the alternative. If the contract is rejected we will close and exit Thunder Bay,' he said.

'This is probably the most important decision of their career.'

Mulvenna was asked what the mood was inside the meeting which was closed to news media as well as United Food and Commercial Workers officials.

He conceded there was some hostility. 'People not in favour of the offer were very vocal.'

Some others, who discussed the offer with Mulvenna after the meeting, appeared conciliatory.

Mulvenna estimated the seven-week strike cost the company about $7.5 million in lost business at the city's three stores.

While most of the employees sat through about three hours of the company's presentations many stormed out of the meeting long before it was over.

Some, anger spilling across their faces, were seen discarding the 12-page final offer in nearby garbage cans.

'Shut the stores down and let us get on with our lives,' said one man who refused to give his name.

'Safeway workers are getting screwed,' yelled a woman.

'The mood in that room is angry,' said another woman.

A union official from Toronto, who wasn't allowed in the meeting, said he sensed that the employees were bitter.

'They're pissed off,' said UFCW representative Kim Stumpf. 'I don't see them ratifying the contract.'

Before the final vote Tuesday, the union is holding a meeting Sunday night at the Lakehead Labour Centre to take the members through the contract step-by-step.

'Hopefully on Tuesday, cooler heads will prevail,' Mulvenna said.


  • posted by DuffBeer
  • Sat, May 4, 2002 2:16pm

quote:


A union official from Toronto, who wasn't allowed in the meeting, said he sensed that the employees were bitter.


Well, Duh!

  • posted by weiser
  • Sat, May 4, 2002 2:18pm

Arrogant, or what?

  • posted by siggy
  • Sat, May 4, 2002 2:36pm

quote:


Mulvenna estimated the seven-week strike cost the company about $7.5 million in lost business at the city's three stores.


Well wait 'til I get the tissue. Why is it corporations are allowed to threaten browbeat and bullyrag?

Nothing would have been lost if Safeway had sat down at the beginning and divvied some of it up with the workers.

$7.5 mil in 7wks is alot of market share to just walk away from. Bye bye Slaveway. Hello fair employer.

  • posted by <Red>
  • Sat, May 4, 2002 2:48pm

Dare I point out again that Safeway would have lost a lot more than $7.5 million had Manitoba and Alberta walked out along with Thunder Bay.

For all its tough talk, the UFCW set these poor workers up to fail in Thunder Bay. I think these members should tell Safeway where to stick its ultimatum. Then they should turn around and ask their union what the hell it's been doing in allowing things to come to this.

  • posted by weiser
  • Sat, May 4, 2002 2:53pm

How unusual. Three more Safeway stores in Ontario vote to strike:

quote:


UFCW has strike mandate at 3 more Safeway stores

By Staff - The Chronicle-Journal

May 04, 2002

Unionized Safeway employees west of Thunder Bay have voted in favour of strike action to back contract demands.

United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 175 representative Bill Kalka said yesterday that 'there was overwhelming support for strike action' by the 400 full- and part-time union employees in Canada Safeway stores in Dryden, Fort Frances and Kenora.

Kalka added he hopes Safeway will respond to the strike mandate by scheduling more contract talks.

The union strike vote on Sunday followed talks in Fort Frances between Safeway management and union negotiations on April 24.

Kalka said earlier that union officials from the three stores are negotiating together though they are three separate union locals and will vote separately on any tentative deal.

UFCW contracts for the three stores expired in February and March.

More than 400 Safeway workers have been on strike in Thunder Bay since October. Safeway officials say the Thunder Bay stores will close if employees don't accept the company's latest offer in a vote on Tuesday.


Why the hell isn't the UFCW taking Safeway down in Saskatchewan and Alberta. Both of those CAs are expired.

Show some nuts boyoz!

  • posted by DuffBeer
  • Mon, May 6, 2002 10:32pm

Safeway workers prepare to face store closure threat

quote:


By Kris Ketonen - The Chronicle-Journal
May 06, 2002

Striking Thunder Bay Safeway workers are confident the company's final contract offer will be rejected in Tuesday's vote.

'It's a lose-lose situation, but I'm confident the right decision will be made,' Sue Billard, a Safeway employee for 25 years, said yesterday. 'I'm pretty confident it will be (a no vote).

'What we've strived to accomplish in 30 years, they're going to try and get rid of in one contract.'

Another employee who didn't want to be named agreed.

'I feel confident that will be a no vote,' said the employee, who has more than 20 years with the company. 'I'm voting no.'

United Food and Commercial Workers regional director Sharon Gall said the membership has stuck together since the strike started Oct. 1.

'They're fed up,' she said. 'The song that they're singing is, if that's what they (Safeway) are after, then it's probably in their best interest to leave town.'

The two spoke before last night's information meeting on the offer, held by UFCW Local 175.

The meeting at Lakehead Labour Centre took members through the offer without the company's 'rhetoric,' said union negotiating team spokesman John Fuller.

'We're going to try to show them exactly what the offer means,' Fuller said during a pre-meeting rally. 'I think the offer speaks for itself.

'This is part of a master plan on Safeway's part to start what I've coined is a retail ghetto for retail workers in the province,' Fuller said, explaining 'retail ghetto' refers to 'wages, hours, benefits, things like that.'

The offer essentially [expects] members to pay for part of the strike, the union said.

Last night's meeting was an answer to that of Friday's, where Safeway officials hosted a heated UFCW crowd at the Italian Cultural Centre.

Safeway Canada president and chief operating officer Chuck Mulvenna told employees the stores would close and they'd get no buyout or severance packages if they didn't accept the offer.

'The question of whether or not there's severance payable falls under the statute in Ontario, and is subject to several tests,'' Fuller said. 'The company has taken the position that, because there was a strike, the stores would be closed due to loss of business.

'Therefore, severance, in their opinion, is not paid.'

The union's position is that severance is payable under Ontario law, Fuller said.

Yesterday's rally brought out members of other unions and labour groups in a show of solidarity. There were barbecues, union flags, and custom-made anti-Safeway T-shirts sporting a skull and crossbones.

'They (UFCW) are workers just like we are,' said Paul Pugh, spokesman for Canadian Auto Workers Local 1075.

'It's just absolutely disgusting to have this large, trans-national corporation that's just sticking it to the workers here in Thunder Bay.'


  • posted by lefkenny
  • Mon, May 6, 2002 11:00pm

quote:


Yesterday's rally brought out members of other unions and labour groups in a show of solidarity.


It is nice to see other unions showing support for the striking safeway members. We are all union members regarless of the brand names we are forced to honor.

Once again it is CAW being mentioned as comming forth with support. CAW is simply a leader in its own right,not that I agree with everthing that they do though. I too was terribly disappointed that Buzz backed down from the CLC.

aboutunions

  • posted by HJFinnamore
  • Tue, May 7, 2002 9:18am

From my understanding, Cliff Evans told Dick Currie that unless the Superstores in Western Canada went to the UFCW, all hell would break loose. The UFCW would do whatever it took to block Loblaw's expansion into Quebec and that the UFCW would strike Loblaws whenever possible in Ontario. That's when the Superstore deal went from the Teamsters to the UFCW.

When the UFCW deal started to get too much heat, Cliff again went to Dick Currie and according to Loblaw official:

quote:


13. Following the ratification on April 3, 1989 above, I was asked by Mr. R.J. Currie, President of Loblaw Companies Ltd. in Toronto, to attend a meeting with the Defendant, Clifford Evans, and a Bill Alwell, who identified himself as a Director of Collective Bargaining of the International Union in Washington, D.C., U.S.A. That meeting took place on April 12, 1989, at the offices of Loblaw Companies as aforesaid. At that meeting, Mr. Currie and myself were told by the Defendant, Clifford Evans, and Bill Alwell, that, unless Westfair was prepared to amend the aforesaid Collective Agreements in the Province of British Columbia by deleting the renewal language, amending the excluded positions in the agreement and deleting a letter establishing the circumstances under which a pay increase could be implemented, the Defendant International would take the following three steps:

(a) Remove the Charter of Local 777 and "dissolve the Local Union";

(b) Merge the members of Local 777 with Locals 1518 and Local 2000;

(c) Transfer the Collective Agreement which was applicable to Extra Foods in Kelowna and, real Canadian Superstores at Metrotown, and Real Canadian Superstores distribution centre at Marine Drive, to Local 1518 and Local 2000; and

(d) "Disclaim interest" in any future stores referred to in the Letter of Understanding attached to the Collective Agreement signed the 10th day of February, 1989.

The aforesaid Defendant, Clifford Evans, and Bill Alwell, demanded that the Plaintiff provide an answer by the close of business on April 17, 1989. I clearly understood that, unless the Plaintiff capitulated to the demands being made, the Defendant International, would take whatever steps necessary to prohibit Local 777 from carrying out its contractual obligations to the Plaintiff, and force the Plaintiff to deal with Local 1518 and Local 2000, contrary to the oral agreement reached on the 10th day of November, 1988.


Full Affidavit

It seems like the UFCW can toss some pretty big balls on the table, or at least bluff that it has big ones, when it wants to.

Why then is the UFCW letting TB take the brunt of Safeway's wrath? Why are Alberta and Saskatchewan sitting around rather than taking out Safeway in a show of solidarity?

  • posted by lefkenny
  • Tue, May 7, 2002 9:43am

It is always great to hear from you HJ. I read all your posts no matter which thread or topic. It is always a pleasure.

aboutunions

  • posted by DuffBeer
  • Tue, May 7, 2002 10:46pm

Safeway vote may be close

quote:


By Kris Ketonen - The Chronicle-Journal
May 07, 2002

Confidence in a majority vote against Safeway's final contract offer may have been misplaced.

One striking employee, who didn't want to be named, said yesterday the company is supported by a 'silent majority' of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 175 members planning to vote to accept the offer but afraid to speak up.

'This company has done damn well for Thunder Bay, and with Safeway a lot of people have gotten by and supported families.'

The employee said union officials are often from southern Ontario, where opportunities are 'abundant.'

'They have no idea about the economic situation of Thunder Bay, and how hard it is to find a job.

'Where are people that have no education, no degrees, a lot of them middled-aged, going to find a job that pays them $15 an hour?'

The employee was certain more than 90 others felt the same way, and expected there were more. The source said today's vote involving about 400 striking workers will be close.

The employee said the union is misleading members about the buyout option. The union has been saying the company reserves the right to grant buyouts up to $30,000 - only available to employees making more than $10 an hour - at its discretion.

However, a letter from the company, on Safeway stationary and signed by Canadian president and chief operating officer Chuck Mulvenna, reads that Safeway 'will guarantee that any eligible employee that signs up for the buyout during the 30 day sign up period will be given the buyout within a reasonable period of time.'

The letter says there could be restriction if too many applications come from a single department and affect business.

Employees can take the buyout and run if they choose, the employee said.

But the union is sticking to its guns because of vague language in the offer.

For example, the guarantee in the letter isn't in the final offer, negotiating team spokesman John Fuller said yesterday.

'The way the offer is written, it is totally discretionary to the employer,' he said.

He pointed to the arbitration settlement with Manitoba Safeway workers which states a maximum of 25 per cent of employees will get the buyout, unless the company agrees to extend the limit.

In that case, it goes to full-time employees first, then part-time, based on seniority.

That could have been included in the Thunder Bay offer, he said.

'The letter is misleading, and it serves to confuse the issues,' Fuller said.

'It's very clear that the law is the final offer document.'

UFCW members vote on the offer today at the Valhalla Inn from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and from 4 to 8 p.m.

The company has said it will close its three Thunder Bay stores if the offer is rejected.


  • posted by lefkenny
  • Tue, May 7, 2002 11:25pm

Oops

  • posted by Richard
  • Wed, May 8, 2002 6:53am

It was a close vote. The Thunder Bay Safeway Employees voted 201 against Safeway's final offer and 195 for. Safeway Canada's Presisdent Chuck Mulvena is pissed. He wants another vote because he thinks the union used undue pressure to sway the vote.

I wonder if he would have called for another vote if the results had have been reversed?

If Safeway closes those stores without selling them, all Canadians will see them as a cold-hearted and vindictive, concerned only with bigger profits. Check the Thunder Bay Chronicle later today for more detailed news.

  • posted by siggy
  • Wed, May 8, 2002 7:13am

quote:


He wants another vote because he thinks the union used undue pressure to sway the vote.


Wait a minute, I thought Safeway was leaving if the Power Source rejected the offer. Now they're crying no fair, you cheated?.
There is no facesaving way to back down from your threats Safeway, the members called your bluff get on with it.

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Wed, May 8, 2002 8:30am

The Power Source did the right thing. Now the company has to put its money where its mouth is or shut up and bargain. Unless the moving out begins in a hurry, we can write this threat off as an anti-worker ploy that has finally backfired. As far as I can tell, there is money in this market or they would have been long gone.

  • posted by lefkenny
  • Wed, May 8, 2002 8:35am

But wait, the NDP government in Manitoba butted in and insisted on a second vote to screw the members, why not the Government of Ontario. They certainly are not beyond screwing members.

aboutunions

  • posted by Troll
  • Wed, May 8, 2002 9:45am

quote:


Safeway workers say no

By Kelly Leydier - The Chronicle-Journal

May 08, 2002

Despite a vote against Safeway's "last, best and final offer" to its striking Thunder Bay employees, the company won't be closing its city stores &#8212; yet.

"If it was a resounding rejection, then we would be closing our stores," Safeway president and chief operating officer Chuck Mulvenna said last night.

"Three votes the other way and we're looking at a tie. Three votes &#8212; that's very, very close."

Just six votes separated the yeas and nays, with 195 voting in favour of a deal and 201 voting against.

The 463 people employed at the city's three Safeway stores have been on strike since Oct. 1.

"We don't think the vote represents the true wishes of our employees and we're going to be asking the Ministry of Labour to conduct another vote," Mulvenna said.

"There were people out there (yesterday) that were, from our perspective anyway, very intimidating to someone who wants to go and exercise their free will and vote," he said.

United Food and Commercial Workers members from other locals &#8212; including some near Toronto and in Manitoba &#8212; were in the city yesterday, on the picket lines and at the Valhalla Inn where the vote took place.

Carrying flags and dressed in anti-Safeway T-shirts, they told The Chronicle-Journal they were in the city as a show of support, but Mulvenna said he was concerned "there may have been intimidation and undue influence exerted by the union in the conduct of the vote."

The announcement of the vote's result to workers gathered last night at the Lakehead Labour Centre brought cheers and back-slapping.

"We're happy but we're nervous," said 13-year employee Debbi Smeeth, with tears in her eyes. "Where does our life go from here? We're not happy to be without a job."

But the victory lies in sending the message employees weren't being treated fairly, she said.

The company's offer was "so wide open," she said, "they can change the rules as we go along."

"The company used every scare tactic and evasive question-answer strategy they could," said John Fuller, the union's chief negotiator.

He later continued in his statement: "But despite an uncertain future, the majority of the workers simply couldn't stomach the company's demands for major concessions, including wage freezes and restructuring of the benefit package for newly-hired workers."

Fuller said he's optimistic the company will "negotiate a good new contract or sell the stores to someone who can."

Mulvenna made it clear &#8212; most recently in a letter Monday to employees &#8212; that a "no" vote would mean the closure of the stores with no lump sum payments, and no buyouts or severance packages.

He said there would be no further negotiations with the union, which he stood by last night.

"The union had indicated if in fact they got a rejection of the offer, that they would be calling us (today) to get a settlement and I can assure you that will not happen," Mulvenna said.

Mulvenna couldn't say if another vote would be held. The ministry has to approve the company's request.

The union told employees it would help them find other work or get more training if the stores closed, but that didn't cheer an employee who voted "yes."

"I can't believe that people were so selfish and thought of themselves," said the employee, who feared retaliation by the union if identified. "Now there's 400 people on the street without a job in Thunder Bay.

"I voted &#8216;yes' for my fellow workers," the employee said.

"I can't believe that they're celebrating &#8212; have they lost their minds? How can they do that to somebody else?"


  • posted by Scott Mcpherson
  • Wed, May 8, 2002 10:32am

quote:


Despite a vote against Safeway's 'last, best and final offer' to its striking Thunder Bay employees, the company won't be closing its city stores - yet.


That's because they're full of crap! the members stood tall and told Safeway to shove it and the fact Safeway executives want another vote only verifies they were using brinkmanship tactics and never intended to close in the first place. The big difference here as opposed to Alberta, Manitoba, B.C. and Sask is the local [175] actually showed some balls and called for a rejection.

I know from personal experience that life does go on after Safeway. [it also goes on after IGA and Save On which is more personal experience than I planned ] So these employers should get used to employees telling them to bugger off. The Thunder Bay market is still a viable market and another employer will move in. How many markets do you really think Safeway can afford to pull out of?

If the people who ran the UFCW had any brains they'd see that long term it's better to be hard nosed militant even if during the process they loose a few stores to closure than to be the employers puppet and eventually have the members themselves decide your scum and get ride of you completely.

Way to go Thunder bay

  • posted by DuffBeer
  • Thu, May 9, 2002 10:09pm

Safeway options limited

quote:


By Kris Ketonen - The Chronicle-Journal
May 09, 2002

Canada Safeway will enter uncharted legal territory if it tries to get another government-supervised vote on a final contract offer.

Under labour laws, employers can request a government-supervised vote once between the time a contract expires and a new one is ratified, Jerry Meadows, a Ministry of Labour policy adviser, said yesterday.

However, Meadows said another vote could be granted if there's proof of 'serious misbehavior' which could include intimidation.

Canada Safeway president and chief operating officer Chuck Mulvenna alleged union members might have used intimidation during Tuesday's vote, which resulted in 195 votes to accept the offer and 201 to reject it.

Those allegations would have to be proven.

That was to be one of the subjects covered in talks with company legal counsel yesterday, Safeway vice-president of public affairs Toby Oswald-Felker said.

She said the company figures it has two choices: close the city's three strike-bound stores, or seek a new vote based on the intimidation claim.

Oswald-Felker said a decision could come today.

Meadows said if the company asks for a new vote, the lawyers will have to step in.

'It's just uncharted territory, and we really don't know where it might lead,' he said.

Oswald-Felker couldn't say much about yesterday's talks, but she did say there would be no further negotiations with the union.

Ballots were cast by 397 of 410 eligible voters, which would indicate a majority were represented, UFCW negotiating team spokesman John Fuller said.

'We're going to proceed to do everything we can to find an interested purchaser,' he said.

The union will call other companies in the industry and promote the Thunder Bay stores' workforce and marketplace success.

Fuller called company claims that it could be two years before the stores are sold a 'scare tactic.

'They can be sold virtually overnight,' he said. 'We think it suited the company's purpose to not say that.'

The union is also working on a closure plan it developed and trying to find members new jobs.

The picket lines, which have been in place since early October, will remain up, Fuller said.


  • posted by <lark>
  • Fri, May 10, 2002 6:24am

I think a person certainly has to question the UFCW 's motives in this strike and the stance they have taken. They give low-wage sellout contracts to Loblaws and give in to their wage demands. Yet when Safeway wants to be part of the game, it's no cake for you.

Let someone out there clarify this for me, but what are the comparative wage scales between the two businesses. I know where I'm from, Safeway has higher start rates and a better wage scale. Due to their retail model, they have the need for more employees as a percentage of sales. While they do have higher prices, i'm sure their net profit margin is lower than Loblaws which is over 6%.

What's up with the UFCW? Is the low wage party a very selective game? Are only certain people invited? By giving to one employer, they've essentially taken away from all. Compare it to the auto industry: if Chrysler was suddenly only paying $7 hour for labour and their cars cost $5000 less, what would GM and Ford do?

I wonder if the salaries for union reps has shrunk over the last 15 years?

  • posted by Richard
  • Fri, May 10, 2002 7:02am

It's about the ability to provide more members. If Safeway was going to do something that would generate several thousand new UFCW dues payers, the deals might come through hot and heavy. If Safeway threatened to run with a new "banner" and invite the Teamsters or CLAC in to "have at" the new employees, the deals would come faster than you can shake a poop-covered stick.

Safeway runs only one banner and they aren't into expansion, therefore, so sad, too bad, Safeway don't get the cheapo deals with minimal union servicing.

All the tough talk right now is mainly because everyone is scared poopless of the CAW comming to the rescue of the UFCW retail employees.

However, you'll notice that there's a lot of smoke but very little flame. It isn't a dragon you are seeing, it's something burning a bunch of wet garbage. The actions don't match the words.

  • posted by Troll
  • Fri, May 10, 2002 8:42pm

If the vote had have been one vote over in favour of Safeway, I'm sure they would have asked for another vote too. NOT!

quote:


Safeway applies for 2nd vote

By Kris Ketonen - The Chronicle-Journal

May 10, 2002

Canada Safeway will pursue a second government-supervised vote on its 'last, best and final' contract offer to striking employees.

Safeway made the decision yesterday after talks with company legal counsel.

The company is requesting the vote based on complaints it received from union members about being intimidated into voting against the offer in Tuesday's vote, said Safeway vice-president of public affairs Toby Oswald-Felker.

The vote resulted in 195 in favour of the offer and 201 opposed.

'We're in the process right now of preparing our submission (to the Ministry of Labour),' Oswald-Felker said yesterday, adding she didn't know the exact number of complaints.

'That's something that the lawyers are looking at right now,' she said.

'They're doing the investigations, so whether more come forward or not, we don't know.'

Oswald-Felker said when the submission for a new vote is made, the matter will fall into the hands of the ministry.

She said the stores will close if the vote is denied, or the offer is turned down.

A Ministry of Labour representative confirmed Safeway was in touch yesterday about another vote.

The issue has been passed on to United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) legal counsel, negotiating team spokesman John Fuller said.

'I have absolutely no idea what is in their (Safeway's) mind as to the future,' Fuller said.

'They don't seem to want to share that with us now, anymore then they did before.

'If anybody's guilty of intimidating employees of Safeway, it's Safeway through all their tactics that they've used, and it still didn't work,' he said. 'I'm not sure if they know what they want to do next.'

Safeway's conduct has proven their interest in the local market, Oswald-Felker said.

'Our interest has always been to do business in Thunder Bay,' she said, adding a submission for another vote proves that.

One Safeway employee - who voted 'yes' and wished to remain anonymous - agreed.

'I feel very thankful to have a president such as Chuck Mulvenna that is considerate,' the source said. 'If he really wanted to, he could have shut the doors. But he has enough consideration to fight for us.'


Oswald-Felker reiterated it could take several months to sell the stores, should the company take that route.

'It's Safeway's decision as to what happens to those stores, not the union's,' she said.

Fuller said earlier the union is contacting other employers in an effort to generate interest in the stores.

Labour law allows for one government-supervised vote per contract.

A Ministry of Labour policy adviser said Safeway would be entering 'uncharted' legal territory by pursuing a second vote.


  • posted by siggy
  • Fri, May 10, 2002 9:07pm

quote:


She said the stores will close if the vote is denied, or the offer is turned down.


Just incase the workers didn't hear safeway the first time or the second time ....

quote:


A Ministry of Labour policy adviser said Safeway would be entering 'uncharted' legal territory by pursuing a second vote.


Looks like they'll do almost anything to stay in town.

  • posted by weiser
  • Sat, May 11, 2002 9:48am

Safeway says this:

quote:


'Our interest has always been to do business in Thunder Bay,' she said, adding a submission for another vote proves that.


A naive employee interprets it to mean:

quote:


'I feel very thankful to have a president such as Chuck Mulvenna that is considerate,' the source said. 'If he really wanted to, he could have shut the doors. But he has enough consideration to fight for us.'


It's really sad when somebody could think that Safeway is being considerate.

Think about it: They cry that they are losing $1 million a week in sales. They promise to take the cost of the strike out of the hides of the employees who dared strike Safeway. They demand, submit to our will or we will close. This isn't just in Thunder Bay. Safeway does the exact same thing in every market in which they operate.

What's really different here is that the UFCW isn't urging people to take the money because "Safeway is really serious."

How could anyone say that an employer is considerate when every time an employee asks for a raise the employer offers a rollback and if the rollback isn't accepted, the employer will fire the employee?

  • posted by laura
  • Sat, May 11, 2002 11:12am

If Safeway was serious about closing the stores, why didn't they just pack up their toys and leave?
It seems to me that if they are asking for another vote that means they really didn't want to leave in the first place If they are granted another vote maybe the workers that voted yes last time will see thru' them and come up with a resounding ! no!!! vote

  • posted by weiser
  • Sat, May 11, 2002 1:58pm

I guess when sales are down, you just jack the prices. Canada Safeway's sales were down in 2001, but everything else from net profit to assets were considerably up in value:

quote:


COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENTS At year-end 2001, Safeway had more than 193,000 full and part-time employees. Approximately 76% of Safeway's employees in the United States and Canada are covered by collective bargaining agreements negotiated with local unions affiliated with one of 12 different international unions. There are approximately 400 such agreements, typically having three-year terms, with some agreements having terms of up to five years. Accordingly, Safeway negotiates a significant number of these agreements every year.

The following table presents information about Safeway in Canada (in millions):

2001
Sales: $3,434.8
Operating profit: $205.7
Income before income taxes: $195.2
Long-lived assets: $642.7
Total assets 1,045.1

2000
Sales $3,443.0
Operating profit 200.2
Income before income taxes 190.9
Long-lived assets 614.5
Total assets 1,033.8

1999
Sales: $3,324.6
Operating profit: $182.5
Income before income taxes: $175.0
Long-lived assets: $536.0
Total assets: $940.1


  • posted by DuffBeer
  • Thu, May 16, 2002 9:55pm

Safeway cites intimidation in bid for second vote

quote:


By Kris Ketonen - The Chronicle-Journal
May 15, 2002

Canada Safeway is officially pursuing a second government-supervised vote on a final contract offer to striking Thunder Bay employees.

President and chief operating officer Chuck Mulvenna said yesterday the company made its formal application to the Ministry of Labour yesterday, on the basis that some members of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 175 were intimidated into voting against the offer.

Mulvenna cited pickets inside and outside the voting venue, and union members 'escorting' voters to the site as examples.

He also cited 'supporters' from other union locals who attended the vote.

'These guys and gals are agitators.' he said in an interview from Calgary. 'They don't live in Thunder Bay, they don't work at Safeway. So, what are they doing there?

'It's exactly what the government-sponsored vote was supposed to prevent.'

The result of the vote - 195 in favour of the offer and 201 opposed - was close enough to make Safeway believe the results were skewed.

There's no precedent for seeking a second government-supervised vote in a single round of contract talks. However, Mulvenna is confident the ministry will see the company's side.

'What is the harm in another vote?

'If, in fact, the union feels that the six votes was truly an expression of the will of all employees, then let's let them vote again, free from any potential taint,' he said.

Some union members spoke up during the investigation, saying they were influenced. Their claims are included in the application.

The company has asked for the matter to be handled quickly. But there's no word on when a vote could take place.

Mulvenna said if the company does get the vote, the structure should be different.

'I would certainly think that the government would take steps to ensure that wherever the voting happens, the parking lot and the property is clear of all the signage and pickets and flags and chanting . . . all that kind of crap,' he said.

'I definitely think (the result) would be different,' he said.

Mulvenna said if another vote is granted, he will return to Thunder Bay to meet with employees again.

If the offer is rejected, or if another vote isn't granted, the three Thunder Bay stores will close.

'We've currently got 390 non-operating properties. This would be three more,' Mulvenna said.

UFCW spokesmen weren't available yesterday.


  • posted by DuffBeer
  • Thu, May 16, 2002 10:05pm

quote:


[President and chief operating officer Chuck(y) Mulvenna said] If the offer is rejected, or if another vote isn't granted, the three Thunder Bay stores will close.


  • posted by DuffBeer
  • Thu, May 16, 2002 10:08pm

Safeway has to take new route for vote

quote:


By Kris Ketonen - The Chronicle-Journal
May 16, 2002

Canada Safeway is taking its case to the Ontario Labour Board after being told by the Labour Ministry it wasn't following procedure in seeking a second government-supervised vote on a final offer to striking employees.

A letter from Reg Pearson, ministry director of labour management services, to Safeway legal counsel reads the ministry can't make a decision on a new vote until 'we are in receipt of a judicial or quasi-judicial decision confirming your views as to the invalidity of the vote.'

A copy of the letter was obtained by The Chronicle-Journal yesterday.

Safeway claims the first vote was invalid because some striking members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 175 were 'intimidated' into voting against the offer. The union denies the allegations.

The letter, dated May 10, refers to an 'impending' request for a vote. The date puts the letter ahead of the company's formal application to the ministry, which was sent yesterday.

Safeway Canada president and chief operating officer Chuck Mulvenna said he wasn't familiar with the letter, or why Safeway sent the application directly to the ministry even though the letter tells them not to.

He did say the company, union and a government official who supervised the vote are to meet Wednesday.

A labour board hearing is a better way to get to the bottom of the intimidation issue, ministry senior policy adviser Jerry Meadows said yesterday. The process permits testimony and cross-examinations, he said.

Labour board representatives couldn't be reached.


  • posted by siggy
  • Thu, May 16, 2002 10:38pm

They'll just play the members' fears over 'n over 'til they break 'em, damn the consequences it's all about the bottom line. Profits before life. What an unscrupulous company, it will never see another dime from me or anyone else I can convince.

  • posted by weiser
  • Fri, May 17, 2002 8:23am

Chuck said:

quote:


"These guys and gals are agitators." he said in an interview from Calgary. "They don't live in Thunder Bay, they don't work at Safeway. So, what are they doing there?


It's obvious that Chuck doesn't have a clue what solidarity means.

Chuck, they are there because they care about workers being crushed individually. An injury to one is an injury to all.

I can't blame Chuck for not understanding because the machine has allowed Safeway to have it's way locally. The machine never builds an international movement against Safeway tactics. They have no problem going after Wal-Mart though.

Why is it that the machine fights tooth and nail for those who they don't represent, but they let an employer like Safeway carry out its deeds a few stores or one local at a time.

  • posted by Scott Mcpherson
  • Fri, May 17, 2002 8:43am

quote:


Effectively, Starbucks wants to create a situation where the only difference between union and non-union stores is the payment of union dues.


Too bad the CAW doesn't represent Safeway employees. I've worked union and non union stores and as far as I can see the dues is the biggest difference. Also, management in the union stores seem to believe that just because the employees are union it's incumbent upon them to be an asshole. In the non union stores more often than no they're great to work for. I don't really understand this.

I will say that being union does offer you the chance at grieving an unfair dismissal but that's only worth the kind of union you belong to. The UFCW's track record at getting people reinstated is less than 5% at best. Further, while union stores protect senority [in most unions anyway] I found very very few people who could out work me and as such I personally can advance much faster in a non union environment.

Many of you will get an opportunity to find out for yourselves how easy going a non union store can be to work in when the work stoppage in B.C. happens next year. Judge for yourselves...is the only difference in being in the UFCW the dues I pay off my check? Clearly the way things are going in this industry that answer is getting closer and closer to ...YES

  • posted by Duffbeer
  • Sat, May 18, 2002 5:03pm

Safeway still in plugging

quote:


By Staff - The Chronicle-Journal
May 18, 2002

Canada Safeway has filed a claim with the Ontario labour board as a first step toward getting the Labour Minister to order a new government-supervised vote on their final contract offer.

Safeway filed the claim this week, alleging some United Food and Commercial Workers Local 175 members were intimidated into voting against the offer.

The company will meet with the labour board, union officials and Ministry of Labour representative May 22 in Toronto in an effort to reach an agreement.

When the company first applied to the ministry for a new vote, it was told they needed a judicial or quasi-judicial ruling supporting their claims of union intimidation before the ministry could get involved.

If the vote isn't granted or the offer is rejected again, Safeway will close its Thunder Bay stores.


  • posted by remote viewer
  • Sat, May 18, 2002 5:30pm

The Labour Relations Act is clear on this in Ontario: You only get one shot at a final offer vote. Safeway is pissed because it's strategy of threatening closure to shove concessions down workers' throats didn't work. It's becoming apparent that it's threats to "liquidate the market" were pretty empty. Why ask for another vote if that was your plan all along?

I certainly hope that the UFCW don't get talked into another vote. The meeting with the OLRB officer is a standard step whenever somebody files a complaint about something.

  • posted by weiser
  • Sat, May 18, 2002 7:23pm

quote:


If the vote isn't granted or the offer is rejected again, Safeway will close its Thunder Bay stores.


You notice they don't say they will sell. The people of Thunder Bay should collectively run the buggers out of town. How damned arrogant!

Close up or shut up.

  • posted by Duffbeer
  • Sun, May 19, 2002 1:34am

quote:


Safeway filed the claim this week, alleging some United Food and Commercial Workers Local 175 members were intimidated into voting against the offer.


Maybe it's just me, but I don't see how a member could be intimidated, one way or the other, when it is a supervised secret ballot vote.

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Tue, May 21, 2002 8:55am

I'm not sure how either. I think the strategy is to see if the union can be persuaded to agree to another vote. I doubt very much that the OLRB will order one. The law says you only get one shot at one of these but there is always an effort to find a mediated solution prior to a hearing so I would imagine the company is hoping the union can be talked into another vote.

I'm not sure why the union hasn't filed bad faith charges against the employer. Why aren't they doing what the CAW did in the case of Buhler Versatile where workers were ordered substantial back pay for time spent pounding the pavement. It may be a long shot in Ontario, but it would have been a long shot in Manitoba before it happened.

  • posted by weiser
  • Tue, May 21, 2002 9:30am

The Board is a good place for the Partners to put their heads together to figure a way out of the mess. The answer lies in the company being able to beat the union hands down, but the union must be made to look like it won.

Smoke and mirrors used to work before the MFD site came on board. Employers have trounced the UFCW time and again over the last decade, but they have always joined with the employer, or the employer stayed silent, when it was inevitably announced that the union was the winner.

That never made sense to the Power Source, but who are they to argue with the employer and the union?

The MFD site has changed all that. The union is caught between a rock and an MFD place.

  • posted by Richard
  • Wed, May 22, 2002 8:57am

quote:


The company will meet with the labour board, union officials and Ministry of Labour representative May 22 in Toronto in an effort to reach an agreement.


I guess it all happens(ed) today. This isn't a hearing, it's about whether the union will go for another vote.

Many people are asking, why would the UFCW even entertain discussions about a vote that they won? Would Safeway be at the MOL offices if it had won the vote? No way!

The UFCW should be sticking to their guns. The vote went their way, so it stands. If the MOL wants to hold a hearing and change the way votes are conducted, so be it. If the UFCW cuts a deal, every other employer in Canada will want the same deal.

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Wed, May 22, 2002 12:35pm

It's important that the members (and any other interested workers) understand that a meeting with an OLRB Officer is not a hearing where a final and binding decision will be made by the Board. The meeting with the Officer is an attempt to mediate a settlement. The Officer has no power to make a decision or to order either side to do anything that it does not want to do.

The union can't be railroaded into agreeing to anything. If there is no settlement, the matter is scheduled for a hearing. That's how it works.

  • posted by Duffbeer
  • Fri, May 24, 2002 10:48pm

Safeway, union to meet again with labour board

quote:


By Kris Ketonen - The Chronicle-Journal
May 24, 2002

Canada Safeway will have a better idea June 5 if its application for an unheard-of second government-supervised vote on a second contract offer will be accepted.

Next month's meeting in Toronto with Safeway and United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 175 will be chaired by labour board chairman Kevin Whitaker. It will 'determine how this matter may either be settled, expedited or otherwise disposed of,' a labour board decision states.

The decision stems from a Wednesday meeting between company and union legal counsel at the labour board.

There will be no evidence presented at the June meeting. However, both sides 'should be fully prepared to describe and discuss the entirety of their proposed evidence and argument on the merits.'

The decision calls on the 'principals' of both sides to attend the meeting.

Labour board solicitor Voy Stelmaszynski said yesterday the meeting will determine what's going to happen next. If there's no agreement on direction, the matter could go to a full-blown labour board hearing.

'We've asked for that (hearing) to be expedited,' said Toby Oswald-Felker, Safeway Canada's vice-president of public affairs.

'We can't estimate what kind of timeframe that might be. That's definitely up to the board.'

Safeway legal counsel asked for the hearing to be held in Thunder Bay.

Stelmaszynski said the union opposed an expedited hearing.

UFCW officials withheld comment, saying it was a legal matter that has been turned over to union legal counsel.


Geez, save some money on paying lawyers and just pay it to the workers.

  • posted by siggy
  • Fri, May 24, 2002 11:28pm

This is so outrageous, what is the status of the workers while this is going on?

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Sat, May 25, 2002 6:57pm

Look, this should be pretty straightforward. The issue is: the law says an employer only gets one final offer vote. Is there any reason why Safeway should get more than the law requires?

I'm not sure I understand why all these meetings are required except that the OLRB loves to see things settled up nice between the workplace parties. I don't see why the UFCW couldn't say "Look, we're not going to settle this dispute. We need a hearing to decide this and the sooner the better. Please schedule this for a hearing so that we can have a decision quickly."

I wonder if any OLRB staff do private business as arbitrators or mediators with Safeway or the UFCW? Could this be a complicating factor for the workers? Just wondering.

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