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It’s Been a Year of Firsts for UFCW 1518

This year was all about breaking barriers. In 2022, UFCW 1518 organized in under-represented industries, built platforms for youth to speak up, and lobbied for ground-breaking legislation.  At the same time, we continued to build capacity in communities and workplaces where our members have been wielding their union power for years. As we near the end of 2022, we look back on the awesome and inspiring things you did.

cannabis mobilizing

The cannabis industry is no longer green territory for 1518. Budtenders represent the fastest-growing arm of the union. Here’s a rundown of the workers who have joined the BC Budtenders Union and launched an impressive grassroots movement:

  • Eggs Canna (Vancouver) joined UFCW 1518 and began bargaining for their first contract.
  • Seed & Stone (Delta) joined UFCW 1518 and won a common employer application that allowed them to join two other groups of Seed & Stone staff from the island at the bargaining table. Together they won wage improvements, a grievance procedure and more.
  • Yaletown Cannabis (Vancouver) joined UFCW 1518.
  • Burnside Buds (Victoria) workers ratify their contract.
  • Trees Cannabis (Victoria) ratified their first collective agreement, which features living wage adjustment language.
  • Potanicals Grow-Op.
  • Clarity Cannabis.
  • The Original Farm.

Advancing reconciliation

The UFCW 1518 Indigenous Committee continued to push the BC and Yukon governments to recognize National Day for Truth and Reconciliation with a paid, statutory holiday for all workers. Here are the actions they took and the response they received:

  • March: Committee member Marylou Fonda meets with Minister for Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, Murray Rankin and sits on a panel as a survivor of the Sixties Scoop. During the meeting, she shared the Committee’s petition with officials.
  • The Committee participated in a ceremony at the unmarked graves of former Residential School children on the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation.
  • February: After writing letters to provincial politicians, the Indigenous Committee received commitments from MLAs Aman Singh and Brittny Anderson to support their National Day for Truth and Reconciliation initiative.
  • BC consulted stakeholders on the best way to honour Sept. 30. The Committee shores up interest among membership to submit feedback and call for a paid, statutory holiday for all workers.
  • After a lot of hard work on the part of activists, the Yukon government announced that it is making National Day for Truth and Reconciliation a provincially recognized paid stat.
  • On Nov. 16, at the UFCW 1518 Retail Conference, Committee member Anita Letendre asked guest speaker Minister of Labour, Harry Bains, for a commitment from the NDP to make Sept. 30 a paid, statutory holiday. He promised that the government was working on it.
  • November: The Indigenous Committee presented their petition to the new BC Premier, David Eby, and the Minister’s Advisory Council on Indigenous Women (MACIW).
If you are able to donate this holiday season, consider giving to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society.

AdVOCACY

  • UFCW 1518 successfully challenged Save-On-Foods on its decision to withhold Cost-of-living top-ups from staff who are covered under the current COL contract language.
  • Arbitration hearings continued for the policy grievance that our union filed against Save-On-Foods when both companies provided $3 premiums to only a handful of staff. UFCW 1518 is arguing that all members should receive the premium.
  • Members at FreshCo are still awaiting a Labour Board decision on the common employer status for the stores. We are fighting for all FreshCo workers to bargain their contract collectively.

YOUNG WORKERS RISING

Most of our newest members who joined us in 2022 are under 30 years old, and some are even teens! Here’s a look at the power young workers built with 1518 this year: 

  • Employees at Sephora organized with UFCW 1518. At the bargaining table, they’ve been fighting for part-timer flexibility, quality benefits, and more equitable compensation that reflects their expertise.
  • Workers at three Cineplex theatres in the lower mainland secured their first collective agreement, ushering in important provisions, such as student leave, a grievance procedure, two Great Escape Vouchers and more.
  • Students at UBC led an organizing drive at the campus grocery store. Together they’re committed to restoring the shop’s “by students, for students” model by pushing for fairer pay and staffing policies

Preparing for the Food Fight Ahead

  • Sobeys and Save-On-Foods workers joined a session of in-person focus groups to narrow in on the issues that they face. Together, workers brainstormed possible solutions in preparation for upcoming bargaining. Leadership heard from both new (non-Grid A) and senior (Grid A) members to help build common ground.
  • Hundreds of members from across the province and across grocery banners meet for the Retail Conference to prepare for bargaining in 2023. Members dialogued, built solidarity and attended workshops to build union presence and democracy in their respective stores in preparation for the big year ahead.
  • Thousands of Sobeys and Save-On-Foods members have already start filling out their bargaining surveys. If you haven’t filled your surveys out yet, you can access them by clicking the buttons below:
Grocery workers build capacity in stores and at the 2022 Retail Conference

Events

  • Chief Stewards and EBoard members from the food processing and warehouse sector join UFCW delegates from across the country for the two-day National Defense Fund conference in Vancouver. 
  • Members attended the BC Federation of Labour Convention as delegates.
  • UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak showed support for the BCGEU public-service strike and visited picketing members at the Delta Liquor Distribution Centre.
UFCW 1518 members at the BC Federation of Labour Convention
UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak visits striking BCGEU members.

parity for healthcare workers

  • UFCW 1518 Community Health Workers continue to bargain with the Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC), side-by-side with several other healthcare unions.
  • The workers’ bargaining association set a clear mandate: parity with their Facilities co-workers or no deal.
  • UFCW 1518 published joint ads with other unions calling for fairness for public sector employees.
  • Bargaining hit a wall in November. Members started building capacity by sending their contact information to their bargaining team and talking about the possibility of a strike vote.
  • The employer blinked and set bargaining dates in January. Members will continue to push for parity, which must include an injection of money into their Benefits Trust Fund and significant improvements to the structure of the Trust.

Ratifications - New and Improved 1518 contracts

Since January, we’ve ratified agreements at several other bargaining tables. Here’s the full list with a few highlights. 

  • AIL
  • Boston Pizza
  • Buy Low & West Coast produce 
  • Burnside Buds
  • Bulkley Valley Wholesale
  • Canadian Tire
  • Cowichan Tribes (Features important protections against bullying and harassment as well as favouritism)
  • C&W Facility Service Canada 
  • IGAs 
  • Johnston’s Packers
  • Northmount Pharmacy
  • Mackenzie Co-op 
  • Riviana
  • Shoppers Wholesale
  • Sointula Coop (Features wage increases between 8.3% and 30% over the life of the agreement.)
  • Source Office Furniture 
  • Sunrise Poultry (On top of improved access to time off, Sunrise workers raised the bar for wages in the poultry industry)
  • Sofina Foods 
  • Trees Cannabis: Learn more about this impressive living wage agreement here.
  • Urban Fare 
  • Yukon Save-On-Foods

charging into 2023

This past year, inequities grew and BC became even more unaffordable; at this time this sparked a fire in workers, who are organizing to bring fairness back into their workplaces and their province.

We couldn’t be prouder of our members who are working together, building community, and servicing their communities to make BC fairer. You’ve put a lot of passion into your work and breathed life into your union. As we move forward into the new year, we want everyone to take a moment and reflect on all the amazing things you’ve done in 2022.

We hope you are enjoying the season safely with your loved ones and that you are staying healthy.

Happy holidays!

In solidarity,

Kim Novak
President, UFCW 1518
& Patrick Johnson
Secretary-Treasurer, UFCW 1518