Canada Safeway, union reach agreement on new contract

Using interest-based bargaining, the grocery chain and its workers agree on 10-year agreement

Following six months of negotiations, Canada Safeway and its 7,500 unionized employees in British Columbia have reached agreement on a new contract.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1518 members voted to ratify the agreement on May 3 with 80% supporting the new deal.

“There are benefit and pension improvements in the new contract as well as a new scheduling protocol,” said Kim Novak, 1518’s communications person.  “Scheduling will be more consistently applied with seniority taken into consideration when schedules are being drawn up.”

The key piece to the contract was the use of “interest-based bargaining” rather than the usual positional bargaining, added Novak.

In interest-based bargaining, parties, instead of presenting proposals, develop problem statements and provide the respective interests underlying negotiating positions to be used as criteria in developing solutions.

The previous contract covered a period of five years. The new contract is a ten-year agreement, but it can be re-opened in 2018 to renegotiate wages and benefits.

Novak also noted that there will be wage increases for all union members in every year of the contract over the first five years, but future increases will be determined after that.

Canada Safeway has 78 stores in British Columbia.

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