UFCW 1518 launched a new campaign this month to engage members of the public and to drive business to Safeway. The union trailer and a crew of union members and staff rolled up to various Safeway locations across the lower mainland in November, handing out gift cards to shoppers and walking traffic to encourage them to do their shopping at Safeway.
“Since Sobeys purchased Safeway we continue to see missed opportunities and mismanagement in the stores. Because of long lineups, empty shelves and understaffing, loyal customers have begun to shop elsewhere,” explains Secretary-Treasurer Kim Novak. “Our members know how to run a successful grocery store – they were doing it long before Sobeys showed up in British Columbia. It is time that Sobeys starts listening.”
If Sobeys won’t do what it takes to improve sales, the union will lend a helping hand, says Novak. “We want people to shop at Safeway, and if that means standing out front of different locations and welcoming people with a free gift card and encouraging them to shop in the stores, then that’s what we’ll do, because it is to the benefit of our members.” Of course, this isn’t a long term solution to Sobeys’ revenue problems. “It is long overdue the higher ups at Sobeys start listening to the very valuable ideas and solutions our members have been trying to get them to hear since they took over at Safeway,” she adds.
With the re-opening of Safeway’s collective agreement in 2018, Novak sees a lot of opportunity to address many of the problems that are impacting members throughout the province. “We are focused on bringing forward the workable solutions our members have been trying to get management to listen to for years. Our members take pride in their stores. They want to see sales improve and restore Safeway stores to the levels of service that customers want and deserve,” she says . “Our members are experts in the line of work they do and they deserve a strong contract that reflects appreciation and respect for the hard work they do everyday.”