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Manitoba Safeway workers ratify four-year contract

New deal provides pay increases, preserves benefits and seniority

Unionized workers at Safeway stores in Manitoba have ratified a four-year contract that provides pay increases in the third and fourth years and preserves benefits and seniority.

The union that represents about 2,200 employees in Winnipeg, Brandon, Thompson, Neepawa and Dauphin said 98% of those who voted on Sunday supported the deal.

A tentative agreement with Sobeys had been reached earlier this month, just hours before members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 832 were in a legal strike position.

The union said on its website that the bargaining committee was able to preserve rights and benefits for workers and avoided major concessions.

Jacquelin Weatherbee, director of external communications for Sobeys, had said during negotiations that the company was committed to working toward a deal that worked for everyone.

It was the first full round of negotiations since Sobeys took over ownership of the Safeway brand in Western Canada in 2013.

"I couldn't be more proud of our bargaining committee and our members for giving us such a strong strike mandate that made this deal possible," Jeff Traeger, president of Local 832, said in a statement.

" pushing hard for major concessions since day one. It wasn't until the final hours of bargaining that we were able to make serious movement and come up with a tentative agreement that works for both sides."

No details of the contract were immediately released.

"Knowing the realities that the company faces, our bargaining committee got the best contract possible," said Traeger.

The union said during negotiations that Sobeys was planning to shut down 10 stores in Manitoba.


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