- Safeway stores open
- Boeing food service workers ratify
- Members merge in Saskatchewan
- Wages rise at Johnston Packers
- 'Unions good for business': World Bank
- Innertec/Argus agreement
- UFCW Canada national structure confirmed
- CEO begs for money?
UFCW Canada Local 175 members in Thunder Bay are returning to work at Canada Safeway stores after voting "over-whelmingly" in favour of accepting a new offer by the employer in late February.
"Our responsibility is to do all we can to support the wishes of members", says Local 175 president Wayne Hanley. "In this instance, a lot of people - including the members themselves - have made tremendous sacrifices to secure this new contract. Everyone is pleased and relieved to have achieved, at last, a contract that is acceptable."
The most recent round of talks with Canada Safeway started late last year, and the resulting agreement eliminated the
issues members had found offensive in Safeway's earlier "last, best, and final" offer. The agreement includes annual wage increases with no rollbacks to wages or benefits. A scheduling committee has also been put in place to deal with members' scheduling concerns.
The strike began on October 1, 2001, and workers voted to reject the company's "final" offer on May 7, 2002. After a request by Safeway for a second vote on the same offer was turned down by the Ontario Labour Relations Board, the company announced the closure of all three stores on June 6.
"For members who choose to return to work, they look forward to greeting the community in the stores rather than on the street, Hanley says. Members not wishing to return to work will be provided with a compensation package based on length of service and hours of work.
Details: Cheryl Mumford, UFCW Canada Local 175
It was with great pleasure that UFCW Canada Local 175 made the announcement late last month that one of the longest retail strikes in Canadian history had come to an end, with the settlement on behalf of more than 400 UFCW Canada members at Canada Safeway stores in Thunder Bay, Ont.
I want to especially pay tribute to the solidarity and personal courage of these workers who were on the picket line for 16 long months, through two bitterly cold winters, and supported one another in countless ways.
Tribute must also be given to the UFCW Canada Local 175 officers and staff who unequivocally supported these workers through this long dispute.
I would also like to thank all the UFCW Canada locals who supported these workers, as well as our numerous brothers and sisters throughout the United States whose support meant so much.
The strength, solidarity, and commitment of UFCW Canada members at Canada Safeway in Thunder Bay will be an inspiration to the many thousands of members of our union who work at Safeway stores in western Canada as well as in the United States.
Michael J. Fraser
UFCW Canada Local 832 members who operate the Sodexho Marriott food service at the Boeing plant in Winnipeg will receive wage hikes of 70 ¢ per hour over the life of a new three-year agreement. Most workers will also receive about $225 in retroactive pay.
"The agreement is a far cry from the concessions for which the employer had been asking at the start of negotiations," says local president Robert Ziegler. The new agreement, covering 17 members, includes improvement to bereavement leave, and requirement of advance notice in the event of layoff. Members can use up to three days per year for family responsibilities, and, in the event of a layoff, workers can choose to use unused vacation or sick-leave time.
Details: Grant Warren, UFCW Canada Local 832
Members of five separate UFCW Canada local unions in Saskatchewan have voted to accept a merger into Local 1400. The four locals merging into the large local are Local 226P (XL Beef, Moose Jaw), Local 319W (Coca-Cola, Regina), Local 346W (Great Western Brewery, Saskatoon), and Local 396G (CanaDay's, Moose Jaw). Together, the four locals represent about 300 members.
"This is an historic day for UFCW Canada Local 1400", says president Paul Meinema. Not only is it the first time in our union's history that so many locals have chosen to merge on the same day, but it brings together so many of the traditions of our union's predecessors, from the packinghouse workers, the garment workers, the brewery and soft-drink sectors, and the retail background of Local 1400."
Details: Greg Eyre, UFCW Canada Local 1400
Wages will increase by 5.5% over the course of a new three-year agreement covering about 65 members at Johnston Packers, a Chilliwack, B.C. pork facility. Other improvements to the agreement include an added stat holiday with pay and an improved vacation schedule. In addition, the company will pay a "fine" of $100 each time members are forced to work beyond five hours prior to a lunch break. The money will go into a special fund controlled by members to use as they decide.
Detail: Tom Fawkes, Andy Neufeld, UFCW Canada Local 1518
A report issued by the World Bank - not known as a proponent of unionism - underscores the advantages of workers belonging to unions, even from a business perspective.
The report says that "workers who belong to unions earn higher wages, work fewer hours, receive training, and have longer job tenure." It goes on to state that union membership closes the wage gap between women and men, and fights discrimination.
The report, which reviewed more than a thousand studies on the effects of unions and collective bargaining, found improved labour rights can mitigate the perceived "negative" impacts of unionization.
"With this report, trade agreements, governments, and companies that fail to adopt basic work rights can now no longer hide behind the claim that their actions are 'good for the economy'," says UFCW Canada national director Michael Fraser.
"This is particularly true of the Eves government in Ontario and the Klein government in Alberta, both of which continue to deny agriculture workers the rights of other working people - including the freedom to associate and bargain collectively. Their arguments just aren't good enough."
Details: Diane Kalen, UFCW Canada
Almost 50 UFCW Canada Local 1400 members who work for Innertec/Argus security have ratified a new 2.5-year agreement that will increase pay at regular sites by up to 13.6% , and at special pay sites by 9% . They will receive a paid health plan in 2004, at which time the employer will also begin contributions to the UFCW Canada Training and Education Fund.
Details: Greg Ayre, UFCW Canada Local 1400
UFCW Canada national director Michael J. Fraser addresses delegates to the
UFCW Canada National Council convention in Montréal last week.
About 200 UFCW Canada members from across the country met last week in Montréal to set the union's national agenda and to adopt new bylaws that strengthen the union's structure. The UFCW Canada National Council (changed in name from the UFCW Canadian Council) was meeting less than a year since its last convention, due to the constitutional requirement to gather prior to an international convention in order to nominate Canadian vice-presidents to the international executive. Unanimously nominated were national director Michael J. Fraser, along with local union offcers François Lauzon (Local 500R, Québec) ,Wayne Hanley ( Local 175, Ontario) , Doug O.Halloran (Local 401, Alberta), and Brooke Sundin (Local 1518, British Columbia). All four are presidents of their respective locals. Robin McArthur of the UFCW Canada RWDSU Northern Ontario Council was endorsed as an additional vicepresident at a meeting of the national council's executive.
In adopting a new set of bylaws, the national council has defned the position of the UFCW Canada national director as the ranking officer of the union in Canada, and formalizes the relationship of the UFCW Canada vice-presidents as members of a new executive committee of the national council. The other members are the three top officers of the national council, also elected at the convention. They are Brian Williamson (Local 1977, Ontario), president; Antonio Filato (Local 500R, Québec), secretary-treasurer; and André Ste-Marie (Local 1991P, Québec), recorder.
Left: youth committee members Jonathan Lobo ( Local 1000A, Ontario) and Darren Kurmey ( Local 1400, Saskatchewan). Right: Ontario Local 175's Wayne Hanley accepts his nomination as an international vice-president.
It was the final convention as chair for the UFCW Canadian Council's long-time president, Bernard Christophe. Having retired late last year as president of Manitoba Local 832, Bernard stayed on as council president until this month's convention. Joining him on the dais as he received a standing ovation from the entire delegation were ( l-r) national director Fraser, new council president Brian Williamson, secretary-treasurer Tony Filato, and recorder André Ste-Marie.
In addition, the new bylaws establish the council's ownership and control of the UFCW Canada national offce building in Rexdale, Ont., and make the regular convention of the national council a quinquennial event ( held every five years) to coincide with that of the international union. Other conventions and conferences will take place from time to time at the call of the national council's executive board.
Among newly-elected members of the council are three delegates who took part in the UFCW Canada youth internship program: Samantha Grexton from Alberta UFCW Canada Local 401; Marie Meyers, Manitoba Local 832; and Kelly Provost, Ontario Local 175.
In other business at the convention, delegates heard from UFCW Canada general counsel John Evans, who is involved in all major legal issues for the union across the country, including UFCW Canada's return to the Supreme Court to challenge the Ontario government's disregard of its ruling on the rights of agriculture workers.
Clockwise from top left: Alberta leaders Wayne Covey, Albert Johnson, and Doug O. Halloran chat during a break; Québec's François Lauzon accepts his nomination as an international vice-president; Michael Fraser discusses resolution with B.C.'s Brooke Sundin;delegates, including Manitoba Local 832's Mary Johnson and Darlene Dziewit (front, l-r), prepare for morning session.
Most Internet users have heard about, if not visited, Web sites that exist just to beg for money. We're not talking legitimate charities, but sites that are the cyber-equivalent of panhandling. Most of the sites are tongue-in-cheek, although they will accept real donations. One entertaining example, SaveTheCEO.com, is a humorous satire with a mixed message about workers' rights and free trade. In it, the fictitious Mortimer Smith (just call him "Morty") claims to be planning to move his bottled-water factory from San Francisco, where the "ungrateful scum" who work form him are trying to form a union, to Tijuana, Mexico. To do so, he claims, he needs the public to donate $1,000,000!
The spare-time work of a Los Angeles writer identified only as "David", SaveTheCEO.com is a popular stop on the Internet, although Morty is still a long way from his million-dollar goal ... the site shows a total of $17.25 in donations thus far. What is interesting are the letters that viewers leave, and some of Morty . s humorous responses. It's clear that most visitors realize the site is a joke, and that the right-wing rhetoric of Morty is satirical. Frighteningly, however, some apparently do not. In any event, SaveTheCEO.com is an interesting change of pace.
Have a favourite site you would like to share? Please e-mail mike@ ufcw. ca.