CALGARY, Alberta (FNS) -- Canada Safeway and the union representing 10,000 of its workers have both asked a government mediator to resume negotiations, which stalled May 19, after 11 fruitless days.
As of last week, the strike of 10,000 workers in 73 Canada Safeway supermarkets here was in its 10th week.
Coincidentally with the decision to try again, both Safeway and United Food and Commercial Workers International Union officials dropped a "no-public-statements" curtain on proceedings until a settlement is reached.
Just prior to the hush order, however, UFCW spokesman Gil McGowan estimated, in an interview with SN, that the strike thus far had cost Safeway "sixty-five percent of its monthly $135 million [Canadian] Alberta sales volume."
McGowan said the impasse is costing the union well over $1 million Canadian per week in strike pay, which averages from $150 for picketers to $100 for members.
The union's estimate of Safeway's Alberta volume is described as "a bit on the high side" by a company official. Toby Oswald, the company's vice president of public relations, said Alberta accounted for about 38% of Safeway's $3.71 billion Canadian total 1996 volume in some 237 western Canada stores.
Meanwhile, Safeway headquarters in Pleasanton, Calif., said it is "currently unable to determine the strike's effect on second-quarter sales and earnings."