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Ucluelet Co-op Workers Win Improvements at their Workplace

UFCW 1518 members at Ucluelet Co-Op have been enjoying the benefits of a new collective agreement in 2021.

The changes came after a ratification vote succeeded on their new contract in November of 2021.

Some highlights of the new contract at Ucluelet Co-Op include:

  • 2 percent wage increases retroactive to August 31, 2019
  • Safety shoes reimbursement doubling from $40/year to $80/year
  • A *NEW* Letter of Understanding regarding cross-departmental work
  • Significant increases to maternity leave and parental leave
  • An option to work 4 10-hour shifts per week rather than 5 8-hour shifts
  • Shop Stewards can now orient new staff on company-paid time
  • Clarifications to full-time status

“This was a challenging round of negotiations,” said Lead Negotiator Ashley Campbell. “The Bargaining Committee rallied the workers together to win a strong strike vote which led to more money being put on the table in mediation. We’re incredibly proud of what they accomplished.”

UFCW 1518 would like to thank the Bargaining Committee, consisting of Albert Strom and Jennifer Hoar. Congratulations to the members on your new contract!

UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak asks that Front Line Workers Receive Early Access to Vaccines

Today, the Government of British Columbia announced a four-phased plan for administering COVID-19 vaccines to everyone in the province who wants to be vaccinated.

Under the current plan, workers in community home support and nursing services for seniors will be included in Phase 2 of the vaccine plan. These workers will be eligible to be vaccinated between February and March.

Workers in grocery, retail, and industrial jobs may become eligible to receive the vaccine in Phase 3, ahead of the general population. This early eligibility depends on the availability and approval of additional vaccines. If additional vaccines become available, these workers will be eligible to be vaccinated between April and June.

UFCW 1518 is optimistic that there will be additional vaccine options available in this time frame, however, we are pushing for these workers to be given assured access to the vaccine in Phase 3. Today, President Kim Novak sent a letter to Health Minister Adrian Dix, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, and Labour Minister Harry Bains, asking them to guarantee vaccine access in phase 3 for front line workers in grocery, retail, and industrial food processing jobs. Having access to early vaccines will provide an additional layer of protection for these workers while they carry on their critical work.

You can read a copy of the letter here.

Alberni Co-Op Workers Earn Wage Increases and Premiums in New Collective Agreement

Workers at Alberni Co-Op ratified a new collective agreement on January 8, 2021, that will see significant wage increases and several strong improvements to their contract.

“The bargaining committee did incredible work during this round of negotiations,” said Lead Negotiator Ashley Campbell. “They fought hard and won an excellent contract that will improve the working conditions for everyone at Alberni Co-Op.”

Some highlights of the new contract include:

  • A wage increase retroactive to June 1 for employees affected by minimum wage increases
  • A wage increase retroactive to December 31, 2019, for employees not affected by minimum wage increases
  • A *NEW* premium for employees who are required to work alone
  • A shortened probationary period from four (4) months to three (3) months.
  • Schedules posted an additional week in advance
  • An increased yearly boot allowance for Pump Attendants and Supervisors.

Alberni Co-Op has 33 UFCW 1518 members, who voted in their new contract by a strong majority. UFCW 1518 would like to thank the Bargaining Committee, consisting of Chris Dunlop and Louisa Leyland. Congratulations to the members on your new contract!

Tentative Contract Agreement Reached with Save-On-Foods

On Monday, January 18, UFCW 1518 and Save-On-Foods reached a tentative agreement on a new contract for union members.

The tentative agreement came after the union and employer agreed to more job security provisions in addition to wage increases, lump-sum payouts, and many other improvements. Previously, contract negotiations had reached an impasse, and both parties had agreed to send the matter to final offer arbitration.

“We are very pleased to have come to an agreement that provides significant wage and monetary improvements for thousands of workers, more job security and many other substantial improvements,” said UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak. “I’m looking forward to sharing the details of this tentative agreement in the coming days and want to thank our bargaining committee for their dedication and commitment to negotiating a strong agreement.”

What happens next?

Over the next week, we will be working hard to register our members to vote on this contract by updating contact information and specifically email addresses.

Shop Steward Zoom Sessions will be held on January 27 at 7 PM PST and January 28 at 11 AM PST. All Save-On-Foods Shop Stewards and members who have been a part of the Advisory Council will be sent a link to register for one of these sessions via email.

Following these info sessions, on January 28 we will send a summary document and a link to the full terms of the tentative agreement to all Save On Foods members via email.

On February 1 at 7 PM PST, we will hold a Telephone Town Hall for the full Save-On-Foods membership. Bargaining Committee members, lead negotiators, and UFCW 1518 leadership will be on the call to answer members’ questions. Members will receive more information about this Town Hall in their email.

Online vote to ratify new Save-On-Foods contract to be held in February

Due to the ongoing public health restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, UFCW 1518 will be holding a ratification vote online for the new Save-On-Foods contract. The vote will open on February 2 and will close on February 6. Members will receive voting information and credentials via email.

To ensure that all members can vote in this historic ratification, Save-On-Foods management will be collecting up-to-date contact information from members from January 20–26. If you are not currently receiving UFCW 1518 emails, please check in with your manager to get your email address on the list.

Any members who have questions about the upcoming vote can direct them to [email protected] or phone toll-free at 1.800.661.3708.

Retail Shop Steward Elections are Coming. Here’s What You Need to Know

Over the coming months, UFCW 1518 will be holding elections for Shop Steward positions in retail units throughout the Okanagan and northern British Columbia. Members at these worksites will receive information about running and voting for Shop Steward positions via email.

UFCW 1518 will be rolling out regular two-year Shop Steward election cycles in retail units over 2021 and 2022. All Shop Steward elections will take place every two years, and elected Stewards will hold their positions for two-year terms. UFCW 1518 is making this change to the election cycle to ensure that all newly elected Stewards promptly receive training for their role. Stewards elected in this first round will be eligible for online Steward training in April. Stewards elected in the next 2021 round of elections will be eligible for training in November.

Shop Stewards are at the heart of our union – they support their coworkers, resolve problems in the workplace, and build member power on the shop floor and beyond. Running for a Steward position and participating in the election is among the most important things you can do as a union member, so here’s what you need to know to get involved.

Shop Stewards are democratically elected by their co-workers. Every union member has a say in who will become their Shop Stewards, and every member has the right to run for a position. If you win, UFCW 1518 will train you for the job – no prior experience necessary. And if you win, get ready to learn a lot and take on a fulfilling and challenging role that will enable you to make a real difference at your workplace. Shop Stewards will remain in their position for two years before coming up for election again. There is no limit to the number of times you can run and serve.

The number of Shop Steward positions varies by unit. Each unit will also have Alternate Shop Stewards to fill in when needed. These are also elected positions. Every unit will be able to nominate co-workers for a Shop Steward position. If the union receives more nominations than available positions, there will be an election. For example, if there are three (3) positions available, and five (5) people are nominated, we will hold an election. Otherwise, the nominated workers will become the Shop Stewards by acclaim if they accept the nomination.

Below are some frequently asked questions and answers. If you’d like to know more or are considering running for election, please reach out to your current Shop Steward or your Union Rep, or send us an email at [email protected]

FAQs:

Q: What is a Shop Steward?
A: A Shop Steward is a co-worker who has been elected to represent the workers in dealings with management. They are first responders for issues in the workplace and they advocate for workers in disputes. Using the Collective Agreement, Shop Stewards work to resolve problems and act as a liaison between the union and the membership.

Q: How do I nominate someone for Shop Steward?
A: You will soon receive an email from the union with a link to a survey where you can nominate co-workers. You can nominate yourself if you would like to run.

Q: Can I run if I haven’t had any Shop Steward training?
A: Yes! We will provide training for all elected stewards and alternates. You will be booked off work and paid for your time. If you can’t make an upcoming training session, you can apply for a later training session – we run two online sessions yearly.

Q: Why is UFCW 1518 moving to two-year Shop Steward terms?
A: We have moved to two-year terms in order to regularize the election of Shop Stewards. Doing so enables us to ensure that Stewards promptly receive training when they are elected to the role. It also ensures that all units have continuous Steward coverage, and helps to provide more coverage across various shifts, improving access to Stewards when they are needed.

Q: Will all units have a Steward election soon?
A: No, retail units in the north and the Okanagan will be part of this first round of Steward training. The next round will take place in the fall – we will let the units in that round know closer to the election date.

Q: What if I don’t have access to a computer or email? How do I vote?
A: You will be able to phone in to the office with your vote during regular business hours, Monday-Friday 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM.

Q: What happens if someone cannot fulfill their two-year term?
A: The Alternate Shop Steward will step into their role until the end of the current two-year term. If there is no alternate, or if they decline to serve, the union will appoint a Shop Steward in the interim to serve until the end of the current two-year term.

Q: Can I run as an alternate only?
A: No, if you run for Steward you should be prepared to take on the full duties of the role.

Q: I didn’t get my election information. Who do I contact?
A: Send an email to [email protected] or phone 1.800.661.3708 and we will help you out.

Q: What is a Returning Officer, and who holds this role?
A: The Returning Officer is responsible for overseeing all UFCW 1518 elections. They certify the result and ensure that all electoral procedures run in accordance with the UFCW 1518 constitution. UFCW 1518 Executive Board Member Stefan Nielsen is our Returning Officer.