Announcing the UFCW 1518 Indigenous Committee

To commemorate the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, UFCW 1518 is proud to announce our new Indigenous Committee made up of five passionate member activists from different Indigenous communities.

The UFCW 1518 Indigenous Committee will collectively play an advisory role and will have an integral part in helping inform the direction of the union. They will be consulted on matters relating to workplace, union and societal equality for all Indigenous workers.

UFCW 1518 are excited to announce that the following members have agreed to sit on the Indigenous Committee:

  1. Anita Letendre
  2. Christine Holowka
  3. Laurie Simon
  4. Marylou Fonda
  5. Raven Morningstar

One Day’s Pay

As an act of solidarity with Indigenous. Métis, and First Nations people who have not been offered a paid holiday on September 30, many staff at UFCW 1518 are donating their day’s wages to the Indian Residential School Survivor’s Society. The union encourages anyone who is able to do the same or to donate whatever they are comfortable with. You can contribute here.

Office Closed

UFCW 1518’s offices in New Westminster will be closed on September 30 in recognition of the National Day for Truth & Reconciliation.

UFCW 1518 Calls on FreshCo Kamloops to Recognize National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

UFCW 1518 is calling on the operator of FreshCo Kamloops to grant store workers a statutory holiday on September 30 in recognition of Truth and Reconciliation Day.

In May 2021, the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation confirmed that they had uncovered the remains of 215 children buried at the former Kamloops Residential “School.” Many more unmarked graves have since been confirmed at former residential “school” sites around the country.

In recognition of the dark legacy of the residential “school” system, the federal government created a Truth and Reconciliation Day federal holiday on September 30. Federal government employees and federally regulated workers, like postal carriers, will have the day off or statutory holiday pay in lieu. The BC government followed suit and granted the statutory holiday to provincial government workers and public servants. The day is an opportunity to reflect on the impacts of settler colonialism on Indigenous, First Nations, and Métis people, to mourn those who died at residential “schools,” and to re-commit to truth and reconciliation moving forward.

The federal and provincial government have both fallen short of declaring a statutory holiday for all workers on September 30, leaving the decision over whether to grant the holiday up to individual businesses. While some businesses, like MEC, Lifestyle Markets, Clarity Cannabis, and others have chosen to acknowledge the day with a statutory holiday, many have not. UFCW 1518 has sent letters to Save-On-Foods, Sobeys, and FreshCo Kamloops asking them to give their workers the day off or statutory holiday pay in lieu.

Many Indigenous, First Nations, and Métis people work in government and non-government industries across Canada. UFCW 1518 is concerned that far more non-Indigenous people will get a paid day off than Indigenous people on a day meant to honour truth and reconciliation and provide time for quiet reflection and mourning.

“It is a frank injustice that federal government workers—employees of the very entity that created residential “schools”—get a day off while many Indigenous people must work,” said UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak. “We would expect FreshCo’s operator, Steve Fremmerlid, to help mend this injustice and do the right thing for his employees.”

UFCW 1518 polled workers at the Kamloops FreshCo about the statutory holiday. One-hundred percent of respondents stated that they would like to take the paid day off or receive statutory holiday pay in lieu.

UFCW 1518 Calls on Save-On-Foods and Sobeys to Recognize National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a Statutory Holiday

UFCW 1518 is calling on BC’s largest grocery chains to grant their workers a statutory holiday on September 30 in recognition of Truth and Reconciliation Day.

In July, the federal government created a federal holiday that recognizes the dark legacy of settler colonialism in Canada. The day is an opportunity to reflect on the impacts of the residential school system on Indigenous Canadians. Federal government workers will have a paid day off on September 30.

UFCW 1518 sent letters to Save-On-Foods President Darrell Jones and Sobeys CEO Michael Medline asking that the companies recognize the statutory holiday. Both companies responded that they will be endorsing a range of initiatives in recognition of what they refer to as “Orange Shirt Day,” but will not offer their workers a paid holiday.

“It’s disappointing that these companies will not take stronger action for truth and reconciliation,” said UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak. “Save-On-Foods and Sobeys operate on unceded territories and have many Indigenous, First Nations, and Métis employees. Many of these workers went through the residential school system or have family and friends that did, and they deserve a paid day off to mourn and heal.”

The government of British Columbia has also offered all provincial public-sector employees a paid day off on September 30. They have not, however, recognized the day as a public provincial statutory holiday for all workers.

Recently, many UFCW 1518 members took part in a Human Rights Week event dedicated to putting truth and reconciliation at the heart of the union’s activities. As part of the commitments stemming from this event, the union is also calling on the provincial government to make Truth and Reconciliation Day a permanent provincial statutory holiday.

UFCW Local 1518 represents more than 26,000 members working in the community health, hospitality, retail, cannabis, industrial, and professional sectors across British Columbia. The union operates on the traditional and unceded territory of the Qayqayt First Nation.

Some businesses have already announced that they will recognize the statutory holiday, including:

  • MEC
  • Clarity Cannabis
  • Ucluelet Co-Op
  • Mid-Island Co-Op
  • Lifestyle Markets
  • First United Church
  • Mackenzie Co-Op

Mid-Island Co-op Members Win Significant Contract Improvements

Mid-Island Co-op workers in Nanaimo, British Columbia, just finished bargaining for a new collective agreement. They ratified the new contract with a 100% unanimous vote.

The bargaining committee, made up of Stefanie Droog and recently retired Karen Becia, performed an outstanding job and worked tirelessly to ensure that members received the improvements and raises they deserve.

Numerous changes were made to the new contract, including the following:

  • 2.25% wage increase in year 1 of the agreement (8% total)
  • Retroactive wages paid to the expiry of the previous agreement
  • $750 signing bonus
  • First-ever Joint Labour Management Committee
  • No concessions

UFCW 1518 is now completing a copy of the new agreement, which will be distributed to Mid-Island Co-op members as soon as it is ready. Congratulations on your new contract, Mid-Island Co-op members!

For a summary of the new agreement, click here. To find out how to join a union and fight for improved working conditions, visit ufcw1518.com/join-us.