Building Power in the Retail Sector

How we got here

Member Engagement

44 Sobeys locations

Members at 44 Sobeys locations across the province participated in two comprehensive bargaining surveys.

1000+ Responses

More than 1,000 members spoke out in the bargaining surveys, which sought proposals and assessed the financial pressures members face.

Focus Groups

Members had opportunities to join focus groups and share their experiences, highlight issues in their units, and outline their expectations for bargaining.

Retail Conference

More than 200 members from across the retail sector met in November 2022 to learn about bargaining, share feedback, and bring their concerns forward.

What’s at

Sobeys is one of the largest big-box chains in Canada. In 2023, its BC-based employees at Safeway stores and FreshCo pharmacies—members of UFCW 1518—have entered negotiations with the grocer to renew their contract. 

Together, these workers are fighting to improve their wages and working conditions. They want to make grocery jobs more fulfilling, live affordably in their communities, and win respect for retail workers. 

Our Priorities

These are just some of the protections and contract improvements that your bargaining committee is fighting for in negotiations.

Wages & More 

– Significant wage increases, including off-scale, for all members

– New opportunities for current members to move into Grid A 

– Employee discount language 

– Significant, equitable wage increases for Department Managers and 2nd Assistant Store Managers. 

– Higher Shift Differentials 

– Better cost-of-living adjustments for all members

Greater meal allowance for overtime

Power Over Shifts & Work-Life Balance

– The choice to work four nine-hour shifts/week OR four 10/hr shifts/week 

– Schedule-posting language that combats favouritism

– 48-hour notice for schedule changes

No date-of-hire limitations placed on maximization of hours

Grid B Benefits: Increases to employer contributions

Grid A Benefits: Increase to benefits

1518 Pension Plan: Increases to employer contributions

Contract language should include everyone

We are seeking gender-neutral language in your contract

Ensuring Your Job Supports You When You Can’t Work

– Improvement to paid personal time – accrues over time

– Increase to paid sick days

More Shop Steward Rights

Language that enables union activists to be there when you need them ― in meetingsfor new staff, when schedules are reviewed and more. 

Bridging the Gap Between Grid As & Bs to Advance Retention, Recruitment and Staff Synergy

Provisions for Grid Bs to become full-time 

Seniority rights for Grid B if they’re transferred  

Fair rotation within classifications for Grid B 

– Consecutive-days-off protections for Grid B

Honouring Diversity as a Strength

Language around holidays, leaves and time-offs that is more inclusive of all workers, from all backgrounds. 

Bargaining Updates

We’ll keep you posted on what is happening at the bargaining table with Sobeys. 

If you’re not on our email list yet, please reach out to us at [email protected] with your full name, store name and number, employee ID, email address, and cell phone number. 

Meet the Team

Winning respect, fairness, and good working conditions at Sobeys will be a team effort. Here are some of the folks leading the charge by amplifying their coworker’s voices at the bargaining table.

Angela Crosato and her wife split their time between New Westminster and Seattle. She enjoys writing, editing, reading, travel and politics. A Shop Steward for over 20 years, she is a reflective listener with excellent interpersonal skills. Angela has volunteered for the Vancouver Queer Film Festival and the Women in Film & TV Festival 

Armin Reyes is a 40-year senior Sobeys employee who has worked at a number of stores. Through that experience he has met a lot of great people. Most employees know him from his involvement with the Safeway Employees Association and the Safeway Slo-pitch League. 

Shiela Scarr has been with her current Safeway store for 11 years. She does file maintenance and front-end cashier work, including training the new cashiers. Shiela also serves on the Health and Safety committee. She has a good sense of humor. This will be Shiela’s first time bargaining.

In April, Teresa-Lyne Dziedzic will have been a pharmacy assistant at Safeway for 24 years. Throughout the years she has watched many changes happen within the company, some more beneficial than others. She considers herself to be attentive to the needs of her fellow employees while being aware of the needs of the company.

Matt Rose has been in the baking industry for almost 41 years. He has been with Safeway for over 36 years, 31 years as a bakery manager. His experience gives him insight into management thinking and workers’ needs. This will be his second set of contract negotiations.

Peter Dombrowski started with Safeway in 1987 and has been a Service Clerk, Cashier, General Clerk and Reline. He became a Shop Steward and has served on the UFCW 1518 Executive Board since 2019. This will be his third round of bargaining.

Since becoming a member in 1986, Robert Milan has defended his co-workers and their rights. In 2005, he became a Shop Steward and was appointed to the UFCW 1518 Executive Board in 2015. He has represented and fought for union members at contract negotiations, financial reviews, and policy reformations. 

Marlene White has been a Shop Steward at her location for over 4 years. She’s a huge advocate for workers and ensuring their rights are upheld. She promises to work hard at the Bargaining Table to bring the results that she and her coworkers so desperately need.