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Safeway and FreshCo workers vote strongly in favour of strike mandate

98 per cent of union members who cast ballots were in favour of the strike mandate as negotiations with Sobeys continue.
The Safeway store in Thompson
The Safeway store in Thompson.

98 per cent of Manitoba Safeway and FreshCo workers represented by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 832 voted in favour of a strike mandate over the weekend.

The union is in the process of negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement with Safeway and FreshCo, which employ about 2,200 workers in Manitoba, with stores in Winnipeg, Brandon, Thompson, Dauphin and Neepawa.

The current four-year contract expires March 19 and bargaining was scheduled to resume March 1.

Members want improvements in their employment conditions after being on the job throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as essential workers.

“Over this pandemic, we have an employer who has made a huge profit and employees who have worked very hard to ensure Manitobans have access to essentials despite increasing risks and stress,” said UFCW 832 president and lead negotiator Jeff Traeger in a Feb. 28 press release. “Sobeys Capital Incorporated has consistently called its employees heroes, but it’s time for them to move beyond words and show their gratitude in a more meaningful way.”

The previous agreement protected non-wage items such as no-cost benefits, a dental plan and seniority rights, while also offering wage increases in its last years.

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