Mountain Equipment Co-Op advised UFCW 1518 today that it intends to sell the member-owned co-operative to an American investment firm.
MEC has operated as a member-owned co-operative for nearly fifty years and built a reputation over that time for upholding community values. We are saddened that MEC’s 5.1 million members were not consulted about the sale and sad to see a well-loved co-operative business change to private ownership.
The collective agreement between UFCW 1518 members and the company remains in place and will continue under the new ownership. As we learn of more details, we will keep our members informed.
If you have any questions, please reach out to your shop stewards and we will try to address them promptly.
UFCW 1518 is saddened by the news that a fire has likely destroyed much of New Westminster’s historic pier park. Our office, which is located next to the park, is undamaged but will be closed until the smoke clears. Our staff will be working remotely until then, so it may take us a bit more time than usual to get back to you. We appreciate your understanding!
Thank you to the New Westminster Fire Department and to the regional fire crews who joined the fight to get the blaze under control. We are happy that no one was hurt, no businesses have been damaged, and much of the pier has been saved.
UFCW 1518 is excited to announce that eight Safeway locations will be moving off of Appendix B on September 27, 2020.
In July 2020, the Union won a key arbitration on the definition of profitability at Safeway – if a store has made money over a rolling 12 months the arbitrator ruled it is profitable. The decision ordered the parties to meet to do a financial review as a first step.
On August 31 and September 9, the parties met to review financials, and as a result, the following eight Safeway locations will be moving off of Appendix B on September 27, 2020:
Store #126 / 4946 – Terrace
Store #93 / 4936 – Shaughnessy
Store #44 / 4913 – Kensington
Store #42 / 4911 – Burnaby Heights
Store #38 / 4909 – Caulfield
Store #58 / 4917 – McBride
Store #2271 / 4974 – Cranbrook
Store #170 / 4960 – Downtown Kelowna
Employees in these stores will have the following reinstated effective September 27, 2020:
- A.T.O. entitlement and accrual for full-time Grid A employees
- Part-Time rate of pay for part-time Grid A employees
- Full Employer Contributions for Grid B Benefits
- Health Safety and Education Fund Contributions
While UFCW 1518 is pleased to see the reinstatement of these benefits in eight stores, there is more work to be done. The union will be meeting with Sobeys again on September 28, 2020, to review financials from the last quarter (May, June, and July), and will continue to push for more stores to move off of Appendix B. If UFCW 1518 and Sobeys are unable to reach an agreement, the union will refer those stores back to Arbitrator Mark Brown to make a ruling.
“After a long process, we’re pleased that members at eight more stores, in addition to the three that were removed earlier this year, will have their benefits reinstated,” said UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak. “We are going to keep doing everything we can to get more members their benefits back as soon as possible and before the end of December 2021 when Appendix B expires.”
Today, Uber announced that they will seek approval to expand into Victoria and Kelowna. The ride hailing company has put in an application to the Passenger Transportation Board for the right to operate in the two cities.
“As Uber continues to expand its services, we renew our call for the company to respect workers’ rights to join a union and to grant them the basic protections that all employees deserve like a minimum wage and WCB coverage,” said UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak. “Ride hailing drivers across North America have been standing up to demand better working conditions and respect. Uber must treat these workers fairly if it wants to continue growing in British Columbia.”
Uber Black drivers in Toronto recently unionized, joining UFCW Canada, and won rulings in their battle to be recognized as employees in the Ontario Supreme Court. In California, a judge recently sided with Uber and Lyft drivers, ordering the companies to treat them as employees rather than independent contractors. Employee status would extend vacation pay, a minimum wage, WorkSafe BC coverage, and other critical benefits to Uber drivers who otherwise don’t receive these basic protections.
UFCW 1518 welcomes Uber to British Columbia and does not object to their expansion into Victoria and Kelowna, but the union wants the Passenger Transportation Board to ensure that the company treats drivers fairly and in accordance with the law.
Uber and Lyft drivers who are interested in joining a union can learn more at ufcw1518.com/drivers-united.
This year’s Labour Day is more meaningful than ever
The COVID-19 crisis has exposed the essential role of all workers and revealed dangerous inequalities in our society. While the value of every worker has never come as a surprise to our union, that message has resonated across headlines this year and entered the conversation in a new and powerful way. And it should, but not just because we are in a crisis. Retail workers, pharmacy technicians and assistants, food processing workers and home care and social services professionals have never been replaceable or disposable. They have always represented the thin line between normalcy and chaos, between health and sickness, between eating and going hungry. They go to work when many Canadians are staying home, they support their communities in a time of crisis, they deserve respect, recognition, and fairness.
At UFCW 1518, Labour Day is a celebration at the same time that it is a somber occasion, especially this year. We celebrate the achievements that workers have made over many decades and mourn those who died this year because they went to work. It is an occasion to remind ourselves of what is at stake and to renew our fight for fairness because it is more important than ever before.
I hope you find some time to reflect and safely celebrate this Labour Day. I look forward to a future time when we can again gather to celebrate this important occasion together.
President, UFCW 1518