Safeway Workers Take Imminent Strike Vote

After months of bargaining, UFCW 1518 members at Safeway stores in BC will vote on job action mandate

Citing health risks, long hours, and rising costs, UFCW 1518 members at Safeway Inc. are officially going to a strike vote this week. Among their concerns are securing fair wages, more full-time jobs and unfreezing Safeway workers from minimum wages.

Says UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak, “Our members working at Safeway stores have worked tirelessly through a pandemic, rising inflation and record profits reported by the company they work for – Sobeys. Now that we are in bargaining, their employer has seemingly turned their back on that. We continue to hear stories of corporate gouging while workers are left struggling and falling further and further behind as Sobeys has delayed negotiations and refuses to present a fair wage offer.”

The union has been in bargaining with Safeway’s parent company, Sobeys, for 38 sessions spanning over eight months. Recent offers have included a less than one per cent increase some years, and a lump sum payment only for select employees. Some years would not see any increase.

Asserts Novak, “The wage offer made by Sobeys is simply insulting to our members – and is forcing our hand. The company does not appear to understand what the staff are up against in their day-to-day. As Sobeys records high earnings, and executives and shareholders are paid out, Safeway workers are feeling disrespected by their employer’s proposal of a marginal wage increase of 1% or less. It’s not okay.”

UFCW 1518 feels confident that the public will understand and empathize with their local grocery store workers.

“We are so grateful for the support we’ve already received from Safeway customers. These workers are part of a larger community, putting food on the table for their friends and neighbours. This is a battle for all of us. In the face of corporate greed, Safeway employees, members of UFCW 1518, are ready to stand together. This week’s strike vote is bringing our members together to show Sobeys they are tired of waiting – and they are ready to fight for a fair contract,” says Novak.

The strike authorization vote will occur from Tuesday, Sept. 12, at 9:00 a.m. to Thursday, Sept. 14, at 3 p.m. Only members from the Lower Mainland to Whistler (Zone 1) are eligible to participate.

UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak will be available for comment on September 13, from 7:30 am to 11:00 am.

To connect with her please reach out Diana Perez, 778-791-3550,