Co-op workers vote to reject latest offer

Co-op workers walk the picket line in Warman January 3

Members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1400 voted on Friday, January 4 to reject the latest contract offer from Saskatoon Co-op.

In a close vote, 60 per cent of Saskatoon Co-op workers rejected the proposal.

Saskatoon Co-op employees who are members of UFCW Local 1400, including stores and gas stations in Warman and Martensville, have been on strike since November 1, 2018.

The union is opposed to the co-op’s plan to introduce a two-tier wage system which would see new employees paid at a lower rate than current employees. The co-op says the lower tier wages are still competitive in an industry that has tight margins.

Saskatoon Co-op issued a news release on Saturday, January 6 stating that despite the rejection of the latest offer, negotiations between union and management representatives are continuing.

“Without a doubt, we’re disappointed that the offer wasn’t accepted, but we see the vote as progress toward reaching an agreement,” said Saskatoon Co-op CEO Grant Wicks.

“Given how close the vote was, we’re still optimistic that we can work with the union and our employees to reach an agreement.”

Wicks said the latest offer from the Co-op contained proposed revisions to the second-tier wage structure, including fewer positions in the second tier and paying second-tier employees a higher starting wage than previous offers. Saskatoon Co-op locations remain open, and contract negotiations are continuing, during the ongoing strike.