UFCW 1518 Calls for an Immediate Ceasefire

UFCW 1518 is deeply horrified and heartbroken by the unfathomable death of thousands of people including children, the elderly, and the vulnerable in Israel-Gaza.

At UFCW 1518, we are joining the call for a ceasefire. We stand strongly against and condemn all acts of hatred, racism, antisemitism and Islamophobia in our communities and abroad. 

We call on the Canadian Government to take steps to pressure all parties involved to agree to an immediate ceasefire and find sustainable resolutions for peace and the safety of many innocent people caught in the war.

We also recognize the extreme impact and devastation on our members who have family, friends and loved ones living in these regions. We believe that it is our collective responsibility to work towards a future where all people can live in peace, safety, and dignity.

Ways for UFCW 1518 members to take action:

  • Email your MP to push for an immediate and permanent ceasefire. Click here to use an online tool to take action
  • Find and attend the next local event to work together and build a movement.

Safeway and FreshCo Pharmacy Workers Ratify Historic New Agreement

The majority of workers at Safeway and FreshCo Pharmacy this week have voted in favour of a historic new contract that will add over 300 full-time jobs, bring needed benefit improvements, and create the highest wage increases at these units in 25 years.

Some key highlights of the new agreement include:

  • Access to 300 *NEW* full-time jobs
  • Highest top rate wage increases in 25 years with retro pay
  • Improved wage scale with NO ONE frozen at minimum wage
  • Voluntary severance
  • Night work premium of an additional $2/hr on top of wage increases
  • No wage cap on Starbucks/Coffee Bar employees
  • Significant wage improvements for Pharmacy
  • Vacation bridging for many employees to capture up to 7 weeks of vacation
  • Increased mobility through postings in stores around the province

The agreement came together after 98% of Sobeys members voted in September to authorize a strike. The company initially offered wage increases as low as less than 1% and demanded several concessions from the workers.

“Workers at Safeway and FreshCo Pharmacy stood up together and demanded better from their employer by delivering a 98% strike vote that empowered our committee to make significant gains for workers at the bargaining table,” said UFCW President Kim Novak. “This agreement is significant because it not only provides the highest wage increases in decades, it offers workers a pathway to more full-time jobs, a much-improved wage scale and more flexibility in what their schedules look like.”

UFCW 1518 will work hard to finalize the agreement over the next several weeks and will send it to Sobeys workers upon completion. The new contract will come into effect this Sunday, October 22. Members who would like to know more about the agreement can reach out to their Shop Stewards and Union Reps for more information.

After 98% strike vote, Sobeys Workers to Vote on New Contract

Thousands of workers at Safeway and FreshCo Pharmacy will be voting on a historic new contract this week. If ratified, the agreement will add over 300 full-time jobs, benefit improvements and the highest wage increases in 25 years. 

The tentative agreement came after 98% of participating workers voted in favour of a strike in September. The record-high voter turnout showed Sobeys, the parent company that owns Safeway and FreshCo pharmacy, that workers were ready to fight for an agreement that addresses rising inflation and reflects their dedicated work through the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously, the company was offering increases as low as less than 1% after nearly nine months of bargaining.

“These workers stood together and were united in their fight for a fair contract by delivering a strong strike vote,” said UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak. “With the strong backing of our membership, the committee returned to the bargaining table and won unprecedented improvements with over 300 full-time jobs, the highest wage increases in 25 years, a faster wage scale progression and ending the employer’s practice of freezing workers at minimum wage.”

While wages were top of mind during contract negotiations, the tentative agreement also features many improvements to work-life balance for Sobeys employees, including increased access to vacation days, better control over scheduling, and a four-day workweek.

UFCW 1518 is looking forward to implementing the new agreement following a contract ratification vote that will run from Wednesday, October 18 to Friday, October 20.

Members at Safeway and FreshCo Pharmacy can find out more about the tentative agreement by speaking to their union representatives in-store or by emailing [email protected].

Sobeys Tentative Agreement Rollout Plan

Last night, UFCW 1518 held a Zoom call with all Safeway/Sobeys Shop Stewards and the Advisory Committee to review the rollout plan for the new Sobeys tentative agreement. The Sobeys Bargaining Committee is proud to recommend this agreement to members.

The agreement represents a lot of different members, departments, stores, and regions, so we are working hard to finalize the content of the 75-page document before it is released it to members.

Thank you to all of the Stewards and workplace leaders who were able to join the call to review the rollout plan with us last night. On the call, union leadership and Bargaining Committee members shared that, in solidarity with UFCW 247, who is returning to the bargaining table on Oct 1113, UFCW 1518 will release the details of the agreement and the open the voting window the week of Oct 16. UFCW 247 President Dan Goodman shared a statement of appreciation with our Stewards and Committee for the support our members are showing them as they return to the bargaining table. 

Sobeys Tentative Agreement Rollout Plan (More details below):

  • October 11-13: UFCW 247 Bargaining Members at UFCW 247 will be back at the table next week. UFCW 1518 will support their committee.
  • October 16 @ 9 am: Zoom call with Advisory Committee We will thoroughly review the terms of the tentative agreement with Advisory Committee members.
  • October 16: Tentative Agreement out to Members We will email the tentative agreement and summary out to members following the call with the Advisory Committee. Bargaining committee members and Reps will be in stores to review the agreement with members and answer member questions.
  • October 16 @ 7 pm: Telephone Town Hall Members will hear a summary and key highlights of the tentative agreement and will be able to ask questions. We will also review the vote plan with members. We will send you details on the call and a reminder next week.
  • October 17 @ 6 pm: Steward Info Sessions We will meet with Stewards to review any questions they have from members to bring back to their workplaces and members prior to the vote window opening. Bargaining committee members and Reps will also be in stores to review the agreement with members and answer questions.
  • October 17–20: Reps and Bargaining Committee Visits Union Reps and Bargaining Committee members will be out in stores to discuss the terms of the Tentative Agreement and answer any questions you may have.
  • October 18 @ 9 am: Online Ratification Vote Opens Voting credentials will be sent to your email address. If you do not receive your voting credentials by 9 am on October 18, please contact us at [email protected] or phone 1-800-661-3708.
  • October 18 @ 5:30 pm: Member Info Session 1 Members can join this online info session to hear a review of the tentative agreement and ask any questions they may have.
  • October 19 @ 8:30 am: Member Info Session 2 Members can join this online info session to hear a review of the tentative agreement and ask any questions they may have.
  • October 20 @ 3 pm: Online Vote closes Voting credentials will only be given out until 1:30 pm. Please contact us immediately if you do not receive your credentials on October 18 @ 9 am.
  • October 20: Results released We will send you the results of the online vote before 5 pm.
We are looking forward to sharing the terms of this Tentative Agreement with Sobeys members in the coming days. As always, members should stay tuned to their email and phones for further information. Members who have not been receiving our communications should contact [email protected] with their full name, workplace name, employee ID, email, and cell phone number.

Sobeys Bargaining Update: Preparing for a Sobeys Contract Ratification Vote

Last week, your Bargaining Committee reached a tentative agreement with Sobeys for workers at all Safeway locations and FreshCo Pharmacies. We wanted to let you know about our next steps and what to expect in the coming weeks as we move toward a contract ratification vote.

What happens next?

Tomorrow, we are meeting over Zoom with all Safeway and FreshCo Pharmacy Shop Stewards and the Sobeys Advisory Committee to review the rollout plan for your tentative agreement and ratification vote. Once we have completed this review and made any necessary changes, we will share the detailed rollout plan with you on Thursday, October 5. Keep an eye on your email inbox for that information.

When will I see the Tentative Agreement?

Your Sobeys Bargaining Committee, along with UFCW 1518 Leadership, are hard at work finalizing the details of your Tentative Agreement. We are making sure to dot every “i” and cross every “t” before sharing the 75-page document with members. The document will be released well ahead of the contract ratification vote, and you will have ample opportunity to review the full terms of the tentative agreement, as well as a summary document with highlights.

Additionally, we are setting up a schedule for a Telephone Town Hall and Zoom info sessions for members to learn about the agreement. You will hear more about these after we have reviewed the plan with Stewards. Again, we will send you the detailed rollout plan with dates and links this Thursday, October 5 to your email inbox.

In the meantime, we will continue to monitor the [email protected] email inbox. You can send any questions you have to this address and we will get back to you within 48 hours.

Thank you to everyone who has participated in the bargaining process. Your solidarity and support, along with your 98% strike vote, have gotten us to the place where we have an agreement we are proud to recommend to members.

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 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].