Frequently Asked Questions
These are the Top Ten reasons workers give us for wanting to join the union. We will give you the power and expertise to solve all of these problems – and many more. When you and your co-workers choose UFCW Canada, you join one of Canada's largest, most effective unions. With over one thousand experienced, professional staff across the country, there is no work-related problem we have not tackled and solved many, many times. Contact us now and tell us about your workplace issues. All contacts are strictly confidential. We protect the rights of workers like you - it's our job and our commitment to you..
Job security is the Number One concern for most workers. With a UFCW Canada collective agreement, you cannot be fired or disciplined without just cause. If you are, your union will take on your case and we will win the remedy you deserve. Experienced legal counsel is one of the many services your union provides for you free of charge.
Government medicare programs do not cover prescription drugs, eyeglasses, dental work and many other health care needs. These can be very expensive, especially for families with children. UFCW Canada is an expert at negotiating health care insurance benefits that are, in most cases, fully paid by the employer. Negotiating benefits for part-time workers is just as important as for full-time workers.
UFCW Canada members are paid, on average, 35% more than non-union workers doing exactly the same job. We know the marketplace and we know what your employer is able to afford. We don't put companies out of business by demanding fairer pay. In fact, several of Canada's largest and most profitable companies are staffed by well-paid and well-treated UFCW Canada members. There is no conflict between paying good wages and being a successful company.
The need to be treated with respect and dignity is often the reason that workers like you pick up the phone and call us.Many bosses treat employees like children - or worse. "Keep them scared" is a common management approach. Harassment is part of the daily grind in many workplaces. That's not right. And it's not good for business either.
UFCW Canada representatives know how to handle bosses who do not give employees the respect they deserve. If you're a member of our union, you can count on us to stick up for you. Our union does not tolerate harassment or bullying of any kind. Together, we have the power to put a stop to harassment – today..
The scheduling of hours can be a big problem – especially for part-time workers. Students need time for studies and exams. Single parents need flexibility to ensure their children are properly taken care of. And those who have been with an employer for a long time should be given preference in the available hours and shifts.
Under typical UFCW Canada contracts, part-time employees with more seniority generally have first crack at the available hours of work. But even those with less seniority are entitled to consideration for special reasons. For example, in many retail food contracts, students are not required to work their regular hours during exam times. For others, "hours trading" is allowed to accommodate family or personal emergencies. Fairness and understanding is our guide – we work to ensure this is put in writing.
If you work, you must be paid. And unless the contract says otherwise, overtime is voluntary in UFCW Canada workplaces. If your employer tries to penalize you in any way for asserting your rights, a UFCW Canada representative will step in and remedy that. The law is the law. A contract is a contract.
UFCW Canada has the well-deserved reputation for being aggressive on workplace health and safety issues. We have helped clean up and make countless workplaces safer — from retail food stores to manufacturing plants to nursing homes. We train our members who sit on health and safety committees and we keep them up to date on health and safety laws. We call in government inspectors when necessary. If a member's health and safety is at risk, we're there - nothing is more important.
About half of all UFCW Canada members are women. Our union is a leader across Canada in fighting for and achieving pay equity. When a job comes open that a female member wants, if she has the seniority and the capacity to do that job, she must be given the opportunity. We go to bat for all our members, male and female, who want to use their seniority to improve their situation and demand fair treatment at work and in their communities.
Seniority is sacred with UFCW Canada. The longer you work for your employer, the more job security, pension rights and certain other considerations you will have. Pay scales should reflect the fact that experienced workers have dedicated a considerable part of their lives to their employer.
UFCW Canada contracts typically have time-based wage progression schedules. It's a lot fairer than having the boss decide what each person doing the same job should be paid.
Every UFCW Canada contract calls for regular "rest periods" or "coffee breaks" plus a guaranteed half-hour meal break for shifts longer than four or five hours. Of course we can't stop people from voluntarily working through their breaks (though we discourage it), but we can stop managers from preventing workers from taking the breaks they deserve.