Manitoba Safeway workers vote to strike



Neepawa location would be affected

By Eoin Devereux

Neepawa Banner & Press

Safeway employees across Manitoba are ready to strike. On Monday, Mar. 5, the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 832 (UFCW), who represent Safeway workers within the province, confirmed that its membership had voted 98 per cent in favour of a strike. Employees in Neepawa, Dauphin, Brandon, Thompson, and Winnipeg could potentially walk off the job after the current collective agreement expires on Mar. 17. A strike deadline has not been set.

In a media release, UFCW Local 832 president Jeff Traeger said that this strike mandate result sends a strong message to Sobeys, the parent company of Safeway, that its membership won't be bullied.

"I have never seen a company with such disregard for its workers,” Traeger said. “Sobeys purchased a good company and mismanaged it into the ground, ignoring their long-time employee's experience and advice. Now they want those employees to pay for their mistakes."

Traeger said that even though the collective agreement expires shortly, the company has only proposed conditions that would gut the current deal and only one other non-monetary item has actually been resolved in the five-hours of bargaining that has been accomplished so far. He added that despite these issues, the union remains committed to avoiding a strike and achieving a fair contract for the workers.

Around 2,200 employees are estimated to work at stores across the province.