Statement on Honouring Survivors & their Families on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Today, Saturday, September 30, marks the third anniversary of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and for the very first time, British Columbia is recognizing it as a statutory holiday. Our UFCW 1518 Indigenous Committee used its collective union power to successfully advocate for this change from the Government of BC. This is a small but significant step toward meaningful recognition of the atrocities that Indigenous people have suffered in the Residential and Day School System across generations.

Many Indigenous people in BC can now have time off to participate in healing ceremonies within their communities, addressing the trauma endured by survivors, their families, and communities, while also remembering those who did not return home. It is an opportunity for UFCW 1518 members and others in the community to reflect and educate themselves about the history of Indigenous peoples and the genocidal legacy of settler colonialism.

In recognition of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we ask all of our members and the community to show their support by wearing orange this weekend to commemorate the experiences of Indigenous children who were removed from their families and forced to attend residential schools where they were abused and their language and culture were repressed.

UFCW 1518 has sent out “Every Child Matters” buttons to all units—members can ask their Shop Steward if they would like a button. We also encourage members to wear the “Every Child Matters” T-shirts designed by Bear (Doug) Horne that were distributed last year.

Now is the time to listen to the stories of survivors and their families and to learn from them, so that these mistakes are not repeated. We share in this history and trauma and we must reflect on how we can support our Indigenous communities as we move forward.

Sobeys Bargaining Update: Tentative Agreement Reached

UFCW 1518 is pleased to share that late last night we reached a tentative agreement with Sobeys for a new contract for workers at Safeway and FreshCo Pharmacy.

The Sobeys Bargaining Committee worked tirelessly since September 20 to reach an agreement that they are strongly recommending to the membership

With over 75 pages of agreed items, there is a lot of work to do in preparation for a vote. In the leadup to the vote, the Bargaining Committee will connect with the Sobeys Advisory Committee and Shop Stewards and carefully review the agreement with Union Reps. Then, UFCW 1518 will provide all members with a rollout plan, which will include when members can expect to see the details of the contract and ask questions ahead of a ratification vote. 

UFCW 1518 is also committed to standing in solidarity with workers in the Safeway deli, meat and seafood departments, members of UFCW 247, who will return to the bargaining table shortly. UFCW 1518 has worked closely with UFCW 247 throughout bargaining, including taking strike votes within the same time frames. Now that an agreement has been reached, UFCW 1518 will continue to support 247 in their fight for a fair deal. 

The Bargaining Committee would like to thank members for their support and unwavering solidarity—the 98% strike vote gave the committee the mandate to push Sobeys to make the offer members needed to see.

Safeway and FreshCo Pharmacy members cna expect more details about the deal and the plan moving forward next week. As always, members should stay tuned to their email inbox for the latest information. Members who are not receiving our emails should reach out to [email protected] with their full name, store number, employee ID, email address, and cell number.

UFCW 1518 Files Unfair Labour Practice Against Sephora

Today, UFCW 1518 filed an Unfair Labour Practice (ULP) with the BC Labour Relations Board against Sephora in Kamloops, the first unionized store in Canada.

UFCW 1518 has been negotiating with Sephora for over a year to make significant wage improvements not only for union members but all Sephora workers in BC. The union has received reports that Sephora workers were feeling threatened by management and were at risk of losing wages and benefits.

The Kamloops store became the first unionized Sephora in Canada in the summer of 2022 when workers organized to seek greater respect, equity and wage fairness in their workplace. After forming their union, the workers successfully fought for compensation for time spent waiting for bag checks, which sometimes forced workers to wait up to 30 minutes without pay after their shifts. The paid bag check time became company policy at all Sephora stores in Canada following the union’s advocacy.

“We are extremely disappointed to hear from our members that Sephora is using these tactics,” said UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak. “We expect better from this company. That means Sephora coming to the bargaining table with an offer we can bring back to our members that includes significant wage increases, better flexibility and respect for the work they do. We are ready and willing to work with Sephora–but we need to see respect for our members in the process.”  

The union is fighting for significant wage increases, assurance of health benefits, retention of store bonuses, and more at the bargaining table. Once negotiations are complete, all workers at the Kamloops Sephora store will have the opportunity to vote on the tentative contract. From there, the Sephora Kamloops union can fight for further wage and workplace improvements in their next collective agreement.

If you are a Sephora worker and would like to know more about the benefits of joining a union, you can reach out at [email protected] or go to ufcw1518.com/join.

Sobeys Bargaining Update: Negotiations to Continue

The Sobeys Bargaining Committee worked through the weekend and made progress towards an agreement with Sobeys.

Negotiations will continue this week, and the committee remains focused on reaching an agreement. While Sobeys has moved from their original position, they have not yet presented an offer that the committee is comfortable recommending to the membership.

As always, members can stay tuned to their email inbox for updates, and can ask any questions at [email protected].

Sobeys Bargaining Update: Negotiations to continue through the weekend

The Sobeys Bargaining Committee worked late last night (Sept 22), making some progress. However, negotiations are going more slowly than the committee would like.

UFCW 1518 will work through the weekend and remain focused on making the gains Safeway and FreshCo Pharmacy members need to bring an agreement back to the membership.

The union will keep members posted on any significant updates at the table should they develop on Saturday or Sunday. Members should stay tuned to their email inbox for the latest information.

We know that many members would like to know exactly which bargaining proposals have been settled and which have not. Members will have the opportunity to know, and vote on, all of the specifics once the union has come to an agreement with Sobeys. And, if bargaining reaches an impasse, we will let members know exactly what issues we could not reach an agreement on.

Until then, bargaining items remain in flux, and it is critical that members focus on both negotiating a contract while also preparing for job action if talks break down.

That is why UFCW 1518 staff are continuing preparations for a strike. If you are a Safeway or FreshCo Pharmacy member interested in helping with strike readiness, we encourage you to register to become a Picket Captain, which you can do by signing up for the Contract Support Team. Members who signed up for the Contract Support Team will receive more information next week.

In the meantime, staff will be monitoring the [email protected] email inbox over the weekend, so members can continue to send any questions along.

Sobeys Bargaining Update: Back to the Bargaining Table

Today, UFCW 1518 returned to the bargaining table with Sobeys with the membership’s 98% strike vote in hand. The Bargaining Committee entered the negotiations with confidence, ready to fight for the improvements that Sobeys members need to see in their next contract.

The strong strike vote has clearly had an impact on Sobeys, who did come back to the table with an improved offer. 

However, even with some moves in the right direction, the two sides are still far apart. The revised offer is not one the Sobeys Bargaining Committee is willing to recommend to members. They are preparing a counter and response back to the employer.

UFCW 1518 is committed to using the days ahead to reach an agreement with Sobeys, but will also prepare to take job action in the event talks come to a halt, or Sobeys is not willing to make the moves the committee needs to see to bring back a recommended agreement to the membership. 

That is why, while we continue to bargain, UFCW 1518 staff are also preparing for a dispute. We have begun preparation for Picket line Captain recruitment and training. If you are interested in stepping up, we would encourage you to register to become a Picket Captain, which you can do by signing up for the Contract Support Team

Negotiations are scheduled to continue every day for the next 8 days with Sobeys. As long as the momentum continues and the union continues to see moves from the employer, our committee is committed to working hard to reach a deal. We will provide members with another update on Friday evening once negotiations conclude for the day.

As always, members with questions can reach out at [email protected]

In solidarity,

Angela Crosato, Sobeys 4908, Vancouver
Peter Dombrowski, Sobeys 4920, Surrey
Teresa-Lyne Dziedzic, Sobeys 4920, Surrey
Armin Reyes, Sobeys 4996 Reline Crew
Marlene White, Sobeys 4977, Coquitlam
Shiela Scarr, Sobeys 4912, Langley
Jennifer Brown, Sobeys 4966, Vancouver
Leslie Ramsperger, Sobeys 4911, Burnaby

& UFCW 1518 Staff Negotiators:
Stephen Portman and Ronda Melbourne

Statement on Standing up for Human Rights: No Space for Hate

UFCW 1518 is deeply concerned about the recent surge of hate and intolerance towards transgender and LGBTQIA2S+ people – we know this affects and impacts many of our members and their loved ones and we are speaking out against the rallies targeting these communities that are scheduled to take place across BC and Canada today.

These rallies are a direct attack on the LGBTQIA2S+ community and the principles of equity, respect, and inclusion, which are the pillars upon which our union stands. This puts the safety, well-being and lives of those in these communities at risk. The rise of extremist agendas are promoting intolerance, discrimination and anti-LGBTQIA2S+ hate is creating unsafe spaces in our communities.

These actions place the safety of transgender and LGBTQIA2S+ individuals, both within and outside of educational institutions, in jeopardy.

In response to the anti-trans marches scheduled for today and the rise of hateful speech and actions towards these marginalized people of our communities, we encourage our members and the public to speak up and take action against the hate and join peaceful counter-protest demonstrations in solidarity.

Just as we advocate for worker rights, we wholeheartedly champion the rights and dignity of all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Let us amplify the voices promoting inclusivity, allyship, acceptance and unwavering support for the rights of children and young people to live authentically, free from both physical and psychological harm, as everyone deserves safety and dignity.

Safeway Workers Vote ‘YES’ to Strike Mandate

98% of Safeway workers throughout the Lower Mainland voted ‘YES’ to authorize a strike in the highest voter turnout in decades.

On September 14 2023, 98 per cent of UFCW 1518’s Safeway workers officially voted ‘YES’ to authorize job action. A record number of members were mobilized — the highest turnout of Safeway members in decades — and overwhelmingly cast their vote in support of strike action.

The affirmative strike vote results come on the same day as Empire Co. Ltd — the parent corporation that owns Sobeys/Safeway — posts an increase in first quarter profits. In the 13 weeks (ended Aug. 5), they reported net earnings of $261 million on sales of $8 billion. Meanwhile, Safeway workers have been offered less than one per cent wage increases a year.

A strike would affect about 40 Sobeys locations in the Lower Mainland and with over 3,000 workers, but is not currently imminent. Prior to issuing notice of job action, UFCW 1518 will return to the bargaining table on behalf of Safeway workers from Sept. 20 to 29.

Says UFCW 1518 president, Kim Novak, “With a 98 per cent yes vote, our members are sending Sobeys a message loud and clear: They’re united and prepared to take action if the employer refuses to move on the insulting wage offer that led us to take a strike vote in the first place. One percent wage increases are unacceptable. Our members deserve to share in the success of the company they work for, and that means higher wages, access to full time jobs and respect for the hard work they do. Our focus is to negotiate a deal that does just that, and we hope with this strong mandate, Sobeys comes to the table to do the same thing.”

Notably, UFCW 247 (representing Safeway’s meat, deli and seafood workers) is also taking a strike vote at the end of this month.

UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak will be available for comment about the strike vote results and the impending job action on Friday, Sept. 15, from 7:30 a.m. to 2:00p.m.

To connect with her please reach out Diana Perez, 778-791-3550, [email protected]

Safeway Workers Vote 98% in Favour of Strike Authorization

We are very excited to announce that not only did we have a 98% vote YES to authorizing strike action – we had the highest voter turnout at Safeway in decades! Our first online vote with Sobeys/Safeway members was an overwhelming success, and we now have a strong mandate as we return to the bargaining table next week.

Your strong support for the strike authorization shows that UFCW 1518 members are united and ready to fight for what they deserve at the Sobeys bargaining table. As Empire has reported higher profit, stores continue to see investment and growth plans appear to be the priority – we want to ensure workers do not get left behind. That means fair wage increases, access to full-time jobs, and respect for the hard and important work you do every day.

We will not be issuing strike notice immediately in Zone 1 stores, as we have bargaining dates scheduled from September 20-29. We want to assure you that we take this mandate very seriously. Our bargaining committee is ready to call a strike if necessary – but our focus in these next several dates of bargaining is to reach an agreement we can bring back to you – our members for a vote.

We will continue to keep you updated on progress and any developments that arise at the bargaining table. Your engagement and involvement in this process are critical to how we got to the strong position we are in today, so please keep that momentum growing and stay informed as bargaining resumes!

I want to sincerely thank all of the Shop Stewards and workplace leaders who have worked tirelessly to mobilize the vote, ensure all workers know what we are fighting for, and for uniting our Safeway membership. And a thank you to every single member for getting involved and providing a strong and unwavering commitment to your bargaining committee to return to the negotiating table with thousands of Safeway workers strongly behind them.

If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected].

In solidarity,

Kim Novak
UFCW 1518 President