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The Safeway supermarket chain was acquired in 2013 by Sobeys Inc., a subsidiary of Empire Co. Ltd.

Safeway workers in British Columbia vote to strike

The move comes on the heels of similar, recent strike-related actions from Loblaw and Metro workers

Over 3,000 Safeway union members in British Columbia voted in favor of a strike, following eight months of contract negotiations, reports local Canadian news outlet CBC.

In a statement, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) 1518 local union chapter said they had the highest voter turnout in decades, with 98% of workers voting to strike. 

“We’ve had several rounds of negotiations and in that time the wage offer has come no more than 1%,” said Kim Novak, president of UFCW 1518.

Novak also said that the Safeway union members say they hope to see wage increases reflect the impacts of inflation and the rising profits of Safeway's parent company, Empire Co. Ltd. The parent company reported first-quarter net earnings of $261 million, in comparison to $187.5 million last year.

This news comes as other Canadian grocery workers from Loblaw (last week) and Metro (earlier this month) follow a similar storyline. 

In the case of Metro, workers just ratified a new five-year labor agreement with the Canadian grocery retailer, ending a month-long strike involving more than 3,700 employees at 27 stores in and around the Toronto area.

Whereas, employees at Real Canadian Superstore, No Frills, and Extra Foods in Manitoba have voted to walk the picket lines once their contract expires on Sept. 28 if negotiations for a new deal fail. All three of those stores are owned by Canadian grocery company Loblaw. 

And, similar to Safeway, the Loblaw union (UFCW Local 832) represents nearly 4,000 workers where 97% voted to authorize a strike.

The Safeway supermarket chain was acquired in 2013 by Sobeys Inc., a subsidiary of Empire Co. Ltd. In a statement, a spokesperson for Sobeys said its goal was to reach a fair deal and ensure that Safeway continues to compete long-term within British Columbia.

A statement from Safeway union chapter UFCW 1518 said that UFCW 247, the union for Safeway’s meat, deli, and seafood workers, will also take a strike vote at the end of this month.




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