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

Wildcat strike avoided at BC supermarket

Wildcat strike avoided at BC supermarket
MFD has learned that a possible wildcat strike at a Vancouver area Save-On Foods store was narrowly avoided earlier this month. The workers who threatened to walk off the job hour are part of a lower-tier "junior clerk" classification that was introduced in a concessionary contract signed by Local 1518 in 1997. Some of them earn as little as $8.00 per hour.

Reliable sources report that the workers, who were fed up with their low pay and working conditions, were dissuaded from taking direct action by their union representatives who assured them that their issues would be tabled at negotiations coming up next year. "Everything you want is on the table and we are going to negotiate in the next contract", the workers were assured by their representatives.

Local 1518 did not respond to a request for comment from MFD.

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 8:39am

Finally something very predictable is coming home to roost. Just how long did the labour-management partnership think this two-class workplace society they created would hold together? The problems associated with two-tier structures are many and well documented. Divisions among workers, resentment by lower paid workers of higher paid counterparts, frustration, despair - it's all happening people.

I would hold the representatives to their words on this one. The issues of the lower-tier had better be on the table next year.

  • posted by Troll
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 9:48am

Someone tell me that the juniors are apathetic. I don't think they are staying away from union meeting because of apathy.

  • posted by siggy
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 10:13am

They're staying away because they feel disempowered.

They have spent 4 yrs being told they are Junior Clerks by everyone deemed to be in a power position.

They have spent 4 yrs being represented by a Letter of Understanding in the collective agreement that hasn't done them any favours.

They are staying away because of unelected, imbalanced steward representation. 75% of the hours are worked by Junior Clerks, 25% worked by pre-rats.
The appointed steward representation is made up of 75% pre-rat to 25% Junior clerk.

They are staying away from GMM's because the meetings are held too far away.

The only contact most second tier workers have had with the machine would have been any given leafletting blitz done by the machines' MSR team.

Any wonder they're angry?

  • posted by siggy
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 4:59pm

For the record: The wildcat had already been averted long before the machine got wind of any discontent.

By the time the machine got there, the second tier employees were already considering the alternatives, alternatives that wouldn't get their ass fired.

When the machine did get wind of the unrest they reacted in a machinelike fashion, rocking the store and spreading unfounded rumor about the possible origins of the wildcat.

The machine concern was not that people were angry enough to take action but rather who might be responsible for initiating that action, the machine MO seemed to be that the clerks could not have done this on their own.

The machine never took the time to address the clerks, instead their agenda was to "shut them down". The only address the clerks concerns have received thus far is an assurance from reps. that their needs are on the table.

It will be interesting to see if the machine takes them seriously enough to address their concerns in a meaningful fashion. I have my doubts, I picture 'em sitting around patting each other on the back for a job well done.

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