Westfair negotiations start strong but stall on third day

July 21, 2008
The first round of bargaining ended on Friday, July 18. It started off well with the company agreeing to eight issues over the first two days, unfortunately the negotiations went downhill after that and the company declined to agree on anything the union proposed. The eight agreed-to items such as including Louie Riel Day and removing the closed Winkler Wholesale Club from the collective are not big issues but initially they gave the negotiating committee hope that the members in Manitoba would not face the same stall tactics our brothers and sisters have faced in Alberta and Saskatchewan.  One of the agreed-to items was the union orientation for new members. This allows the shop steward to spend five minutes with new hires to explain to them briefly about the union and the benefits we provide. The union had requested negotiation dates in June and July but was only successful in securing six days in July. In the first few days of negotiations the union requested more dates but it wasn’t until UFCW local 1400 giving us a week from August 26 to the 29 that  the company finally confirmed to three weeks of bargaining starting on September 7. The negotiation committee has stated they will not allow the company to run out the contract as it has in the other western provinces where members have been working without a collective agreement for over two years. On July 20 an update meeting was held with the in-store contacts to the status of the first round of bargaining. The in-store contacts will be assisting the negotiation committee on distributing information on negotiations and also helping to bring the membership out to any votes. A Westfair negotiating magazine will be mailed out to the members in the first week of August. In the magazine it will list a summary of the company’s and union’s proposals along with information regarding the negotiating process.

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