Over the past few weeks, UFCW 1518 staff and bargaining committee members have been out in Safeway stores speaking with members about bargaining, the offensive offer that Sobeys last put on the table, and what the union is fighting for in this round of bargaining. As Sobeys cancelled all bargaining dates scheduled in August, we took the opportunity to engage hundreds of members.
Through these discussions, we have heard loud and clear from members that it is time to show Sobeys that the membership is ready to fight for a fair deal. Safeway’s last offer was insulting, and UFCW 1518 members have waited long enough for a new contract.
There are nine (9) days of bargaining scheduled beginning September 20, which is more than enough time to reach a settlement OR realize that we are at an impasse. This is why the Safeway bargaining committee needs members to show support now, before returning to the bargaining table on September 20.
How can Safeway and FreshCo Pharmacy members show their strong support for a better deal?
The bargaining committee has unanimously agreed that NOW is the time to take a strike authorization vote. They are calling for members to vote before the committee returns to the bargaining table and show Sobeys that they are united in fighting for a fair contract. On Tuesday, August 29, the Safeway Advisory Committee also unanimously agreed that the TIME IS NOW to show Sobeys that members are ready to fight for the contract they deserve.
UFCW 1518 has also been coordinating with UFCW 247, which represents meat, deli and seafood workers in Safeway stores. The UFCW 247 Safeway bargaining committee has also unanimously supported taking a strike authorization vote before they return to the bargaining table with Safeway in October. We know that having both of our union locals working together makes us even stronger.
So what comes next?
We are in the process of finalizing the details of a strike authorization vote. The union will send Safeway and FreshCo members more information in the coming days about how the vote will be conducted and what to expect. Union representatives will also be calling Shop Stewards individually so they can answer questions and fill members in on the vote rollout plan. The union is also sending reps and organizers into stores beginning next week so they can talk members through the process.
On Thursday, September 7 at 7 pm PDT, UFCW 1518 will hold a Telephone Town Hall for all Safeway members to share information about the strike authorization vote and answer members’ questions live.
A strike authorization vote is a critical step in showing up united and strong at the bargaining table when negotiations resume on September 20. It does not mean that the union is going to issue strike notice immediately, or that Safeway and FreshCo Pharmacy members are imminently going on strike. The union’s focus remains on reaching a strong agreement with improvements for members. Going into bargaining with a strong strike vote will help us accomplish that.
How can I help?
Safeway members can talk to their co-workers and ensure that anyone who is not receiving union emails updates their contact info. Members not receiving email updates should contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 1.800.661.3708 and provide their full name, employee number, store number, email address, and cell phone number. Safeway bargaining and strike vote-related questions can be emailed to email@example.com. Members interested in getting even more involved can sign up for the Contract Support Team.