Building Power in the Retail Sector

How we got here

Member Engagement

2 Surveys

Members filled out two comprehensive surveys. The surveys sought proposals, tracked demographics, and assessed the financial pressures members face.

3000+ Responses

We received responses from across all Save-On-Foods locations in BC. The respondents spanned grids, years of service, and roles in the store.

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

Save-On-Foods is one of the most recognizable grocery store banners on the West Coast. A privately held company owned by the Jim Pattison Group, it operates successful locations in almost every major community in British Columbia 

In 2023, its BC-based employees—members of UFCW 1518—have entered negotiations with the grocer to renew their contract and hold the business to its core values. Together, these workers are fighting to improve their wages and working conditions and to ensure Save-On-Foods supports the locals who work and shop there. 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

– Fair, equitable and significant wage increases for all members

– Key personnel/unionized management to be paid hourly wage — ensures fair compensation for all hours worked

– Overtime pay protections for members who work modified work weeks

– Improved cost-of-living adjustments for all members

– Increased night shift differential — expanded to all staff who work nights

– Greater meal allowance (giftcard) for overtime

Benefits & Pensions

– Improvements to health & welfare benefits and pension

Expanded 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. 

So Work Fits Your Life

– Improvements to ATO scheduling

– The option to select 4 10hr shifts/week OR 4 9hr shifts/week

– Changes to scheduling so that staff can complete all tasks (including clean-up duties) in their scheduled shift time.

Better Provisions and Clearer Roles for Key Personnel that Trickle Down to Staff

– ATO retention for Grid As promoted to supervisory and department management roles

– Night Shift differential expanded to key personnel

– Straightforward career path to management, including improved step-down language

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

– Opening full-time positions to Grid Bs 

– Consecutive-days-off language for Grid Bs 

Ensuring Your Job Supports You When You Can’t Work

– Improvement to paid personal time that accrues over time

– Improvements to sick leave

So Work Fits Your Life

– Improvements to ATO scheduling

– The option to select 4 10hr shifts/week OR 4 9hr shifts/week

– Changes to scheduling so that staff can complete all tasks (including clean-up duties) in their scheduled shift time.

Fairness for the People Who Make Save-on-Foods a Success

– Expiry on disciplinary notes 

– Lower requirements for take-a-break leave 

– Giving students the option to temporarily lift their schedule restrictions during Christmas and spring break if they want to maximize their hours

Bargaining Updates

We’ll keep you posted on what is happening at the bargaining table with Save-On-Foods. 

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 Save-On-Foods will be a team effort. Here are some of the folks leading the charge by amplifying their coworker’s voices at the bargaining table.

Joe Bustin has been with Save-On-Foods for 5 years. In her time with the company, she has worked throughout the store and has proudly served as a Shop Steward. She looks forward to bringing her experiences and voice to the table. 

Jimbo Grant has worked with Save-On-Foods for the past 35 years and has been a Shop Steward for 30. He was on the Bargaining Committee in 2020. Jimbo  is looking forward to this round of bargaining to fight hard for what we all deserve. 

Marylou Fonda is a General Clerk of 19 years. She is an organizer, a Shop Steward, an Indigenous Committee member, an Executive Board member, and she is involved in Political Action. Marylou prides herself on using her voice to speak up and speak out; affecting change in culturally appropriate ways. 

Dave Diamond has been an Executive Board member for over 20 years. This is his sixth round of major foods bargaining since 2000, when he was first elected to the Board.  Over the years, he has supported many members and dedicated his time to solving issues for our membership. 

A 35-year cashier, Chris Holowka has been on UFCW 1518’s Executive Board since 2012.  She  serves on the Indigenous Committee and Human Rights Committee. Chris resides in Lheidli T’enneh historical unceded land, also known as Prince George. She has 2 dogs, an 18-year-old cat and a husband. 

Katie Guerin works at 931 Sahali Kamloops Save-On-Foods and has been there for 15 years. She has been a Shop Steward for almost 9 years and was appointed to the Executive Board in 2020. This will be her first time on the Bargaining Committee. She looks forward to learning and representing all Save-On-Foods members at the bargaining table. 

Joel Simmons has been with Save On Foods for six years, and has worked in the grocery retail industry for ten. He is currently Centre of Store Manager at Brooks Landing and a Shop Steward dedicated to fighting for workers’ rights. Joel is a twice published poet, cat dad, and connoisseur of all thing’s chocolate.

Anita Letendre is a cross-classified worker at the North Vancouver Save-on-Foods.

Jaime Emerson, RPhT, is a 20 year Pharmacy Assistant. She has been a Shop Steward & Health & Safety Representative for 5 years, and an appointed Executive Board Member for 2 years, Jaime has represented and fought for SOF members at contract negotiations in 2018 and is looking forward to this round of negotiations.

Erica Jones is a young worker who has been with Save-On in Pitt Meadows since 2015, and is a Shop Steward/OSHA. They are passionate about the labour movement’s ability to pioneer large-scale progressive change. Erica provides a queer (nonbinary, sapphic), neurodivergent, and unapologetically leftist voice at the table. 

David Gutierrez is a 15-year employee of Save-on-Foods, working in Surrey-Newton. He is a dedicated Shop Steward, Executive Board member, and participated in the 2018 and 2020 contract reopener. He is a proud worker advocate and looks forward to getting the best deal possible for his peers.