Today Sobeys announced that six more Safeway stores in smaller BC communities will convert to Frescho, the company’s discount banner. “This announcement was made earlier this morning to our members in the six locations throughout BC. We have reached out to the employer to discuss how we can mitigate the impact on our members, particularly in communities where there are no other Safeway stores to transfer into,” said President Kim Novak.
The following stores will close some time in the fall and reopen as FreshCo at a future date that has not been communicated to the union: 100 Mile House (4926), Powell River (4963), Dilworth (4902), Downtown Vernon (4906), Sahali Kamloops (4933), William’s Lake (4956).
Members at those stores were issued option letters, which allow them to select a severance buyout according to the terms of Special Officer Vince Ready’s decision; remain at the converted FreshCo store under the terms of the Safeway collective agreement (seniority dependent); take a buy down; or transfer to another Safeway store based on seniority.
“Union representatives have been receiving questions from members in the six stores, and Secretary-Treasurer Patrick Johnson and I were in Powell River today shortly after the announcements were made to members,” said President Novak. “We know how important it is that members have as much information as possible before making the decisions on their option forms and we are working diligently to get more information out in the coming days.”
The first three FreshCo stores in BC opened their doors in May and are currently operating in former Safeway locations in Mission and Richmond. All FreshCo members in the province are represented by UFCW and their terms of employment are governed by a startup collective agreement imposed by Special Officer Ready.