UFCW 1518 members working at Fresh St. Market in Surrey ratified a revised collective agreement last week by unanimous vote. The four-year deal feature significant wage improvements, including a start rate that is 40 cents above the minimum wage and climbs to $16.25 by 2023.
All members will be placed on the new wage grid based on their total hours from date of hire, including their career hours and hours credited for previous agreement. And the wage grid progression has been shortened by over 4160 hours, which means members earn more money more quickly. Add this to the ability to be scheduled up to 40 hours a week according to seniority, and members have even more financial opportunity in this agreement, she commented.
“This is a really strong contract and I’m proud of our members for this achievement,” said President Kim Novak. “When workers stand in solidarity, we are powerful and we can accomplish great things.”
The union also negotiated a health and welfare benefit package that is 100 percent employer paid, with new benefits including a drug card, massage, physiotherapy, dental and extended health coverage, among other benefits. All statutory leaves, such as compassionate care, family responsibility, were added and pregnancy and parental leaves were enhanced. Other highlights of the deal include seniority-based job posting, work protection and more vacation.
President Novak thanked the bargaining committee, made up of members Breanna Gillmor and Bryana McConnell, assisted by director Kim Balmer and union representative Ronda Melbourne.