Superstore bargaining update

September 14 update from president and lead negotiator, Jeff Traeger.

Hi, I’m Jeff Traeger, president of UFCW Local 832 and the lead negotiator in this round of talks with your employer, Loblaw Companies Ltd. I have actually just come from the bargaining table, it’s Thursday afternoon, and we’ve just had four days in a row at the bargaining table. One of the biggest achievements of this week was carving out the No Frills collective agreement from the Real Canadian Superstore collective agreement.

So effectively now we have two separate bargaining units: Real Canadian Superstore and No Frills. This is huge for No Frills people because there’s only about 400 of them and there’s about 3600 members working at Real Canadian Superstore. So what tends to happen at the bargaining table is there tends to be more focus on Superstore issues, less focus on No Frills issues as well.

This way, when the round of bargaining is over with Superstore, we’re going to go straight into No Frills bargaining. That’s going to be specifically just for those 12 stores that are No Frills in the province of Manitoba. And the one good thing is that we’re going to be taking the position that because your current contract expires on September 28, even though we know we’re going to be bargaining past that, we’re going to make sure that our position is that you get full retroactive pay on your wage increase back to September the 28th.

So that’s a huge piece. On the Superstore side, we have been making steady progress all week. We are through a lot of the more important, non-monetary items, things that are going to provide you with some work life balance around scheduling and things that are going to give those who want it the ability to get more hours. I know when I was touring the stores prior to bargaining, I heard we need more money and we need more hours.

And this week we’ve been focusing on the more hours, which is going to continue and hopefully be finalized early next week as we’re bargaining another four days next week. And I anticipate that as soon as that is done, which hopefully will be by the end of the day Monday or potentially some point on Tuesday, we’re going to go straight into monetary bargaining.

And that’s where we hit the real meat of negotiations. We’ll finish next week doing that. And then the last week before the contract expires on September the 28. We’ve got the four days leading right up to it, the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Your contract expires on midnight on Thursday, the 28th. And it is your committee’s goal and hope that we have a tentative agreement that we can recommend to our members.

So stay tuned to this website because there’s going to be further updates as we get closer to the expiry date. And hopefully we’ll have good news for you next week as well.

Thank you.