Why is a union now involved at VegPro?
UFCW 1518 was contacted by a group of VegPro employees who asked for assistance with gaining the power to negotiate long-lasting improvements to their jobs. Shortly after your union organizing drive started, two employees were illegally terminated. VegPro was convicted of violating the BC Labour Relations Act, and one of the remedies the Labour Board ruled was for UFCW 1518 to be legally recognized as the union for all production employees of VegPro.
We understand this is a surprise to many of you, and we look forward to learning more about what improvements you would like made to your job. We are in this together, and together we have the power to make positive changes to your job.
You have questions, we have answers:
- Who is UFCW 1518?
- The United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1518 is British Columbia’s largest private-sector union with 24,000 members in British Columbia and the Yukon. UFCW 1518 has offices located in New Westminster, Kelowna and Victoria and represents workers in Retail, Food Processing, Healthcare and Professional Services. Within the BC’s interior, UFCW 1518 represents workers at Save-On-Foods, Safeway, Colonial Farms, Rogers Foods, Community Connections, and Home Support Workers in Vernon, Kelowna, Kamloops, Armstrong and Enderby just to name a few.
- What’s the purpose of joining a union?
- Unions are about workers coming together to fight for fairness in the workplace. Nobody should have to put up with unfairness, but it is difficult to stand up to management on your own! With a union, your employer no longer has 100% of the bargaining power. UFCW 1518 will negotiate with VegPro on behalf of union members to create a fair and mutually accepted employment contract.
- Why is a union now involved at VegPro?
- UFCW 1518 was contacted by a group of VegPro employees who asked for assistance with gaining the power to negotiate long-lasting improvements to their jobs. Shortly after your union organizing drive started, two employees were illegally terminated. VegPro was convicted of violating the BC Labour Relations Act, and one of the remedies the Labour Board ruled was for UFCW 1518 to be legally recognized as the union for all production employees of VegPro.
- Can employees outside of production join UFCW 1518?
- Yes, all other departments can join production workers in the upcoming negotiations. All they need to do sign a union card to start the process. There is power in numbers, so it is mutually beneficial for additional departments to join your union.
- How will UFCW ensure that the voice of every union member will be heard?
- UFCW 1518 is a democratic union. The role of union staff is to help union membership improve their jobs through bargaining. All union members are encouraged to inform your bargaining team about what they would like in their union contract. These are known as bargaining proposals. Before any changes can take effect, a majority of the union members will need to vote to accept your first collective agreement. Union members are in complete control of the outcome of your collective agreement. After your negotiations are completed, all members will have the opportunity to vote to elect your union stewards. A union steward would be a VegPro employee who gets trained by your union to help resolve issues that arise in the workplace. Union staff are there to support you and ensure your rights and collective agreement are being respected at work.
- When will negotiations start?
- We aim to get negotiations started as soon as possible. For the time being, our focus is to get to know everyone and learn what you like about your job and what improvement we can work towards.
- What is the cost of a union membership with UFCW 1518?
- There is no cost to members until your first collective agreement is voted to be accepted by the union membership (ratified). Your union dues will be no more than 1.25% of your earnings and only employees hired after ratification will be required to pay initiation fees. Since unions are non-profit organizations, dues are also 100% tax deductible. The higher wages, rights and benefits that come with unionization are well worth the small cost associated with participating!
- What positive changes can a union make to my job?
- Union members decide on what changes your union will try to make but below is what we’re hearing from VegPro workers want to be changed:
- Better Wages and Retirement Security – A union will negotiate a fair wage scale that provides workers with regular pre-approved wage increases! No need to ask for a raise anymore, they are guaranteed. UFCW members have retirement security through either having a negotiated RRSP match system or by being a member of the UFCW 1518 Pension Fund.
- Scheduling – Union members can have a say on how your schedule works. If members want to go back to 5 x 8 hours days, then that is something your union can bring forward at the bargaining table.
- Improved Job Security – A union will take away your employer’s ability to terminate you without cause. You will also gain enforceable seniority rights and a grievance procedure that creates a balanced approach to solving workplace issues.
- Professional advocacy and support – With a union workers are not left alone with management to deal with their issues. Union members have access to union representatives, labour lawyers, and Workers Compensation lawyers, as well as any other consult your union determines is needed.
- Fair treatment – The fight for fairness first lies with workers gaining the power of being able to change their working environment. Workers coming together will give you all the power to make your jobs better for you and those who come after you. We are stronger together!
- I am happy with the way things are now. Why do I need a union?
- Securing what you have today into a legally binding contract ensures that what you like about your job stays that way even if there is a change of management and even ownership. Belonging to a union also creates a support network: Stewards, union representatives, negotiators and lawyers will be there to ensure your fair treatment at work.
Why Join UFCW 1518?
Workers at VegPro deserve to be treated with fairness. You deserve fair wages and benefits, job security and a schedule you can count on. Joining UFCW 1518 means you have the power of a union behind you when fighting for what you deserve. Joining our union means we fight for fairness together, using the collective agreement, which defines your rights and outlines a process for ensuring you are treated with respect and dignity.
Want to join the unionized production department?
How do I Join UFCW 1518?
1. Union Support Cards
- Working with staff from our union, you and the majority of your co-workers (45%) sign a support card indicating you would like the BC Labour Relations Board to hold a unionization vote at your workplace.
- This process is confidential. Your employer will never have the right to know who did or did not sign. Your employer cannot legally take action against anyone for signing a card.
2. Secret Ballot Vote
- When a majority of your co-workers have signed a union card, the BC Labour Relations Board will hold a secret ballot vote to form a union at your workplace.
- Vote “Yes” to join the union.
3. Collective Agreement Proposals
- You and your co-workers submit proposals as to what should be the new collective agreement in your workplace.
- Your new contract will spell out wages, benefits, respect and job security.
The most important thing to know is that every British Columbian has the right to join a union.
The BC Labour Relations Code ensures you have the following legal rights.
- You are free to decide to join or not join a union.
- Your employer cannot fire you, suspend you, transfer you, lay you off, refuse to continue employing you or otherwise discriminate against you for being involved with the process of forming a union.
- You are free to express your views on unionization without reprisal.
Contact Us in Confidence
Your employer will never know that you contacted our union.
More questions? Concerns? Get in touch with our professional union organizers today by writing an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 604-349-7960.
Ready for positive change at work?