Union wins for Stong’s members

With an overwhelming YES vote, UFCW 1518 members at Stong’s Market in Dunbar ratified the re-opener of their collective agreement last week. Stong’s Market has a long history in British Columbia, building their original storefront in 1955 on Dunbar St. Buy the 1960s, Stong’s was a five-store grocery chain, with workers represented by UFCW 1518.

It was a tough round of bargaining that required assistance from mediator Grant McArthur. “The employer came to the table looking for significant concessions,” said director Kim Balmer. “We were able to maintain the integrity of the collective agreement, achieve some modest gains for more senior employees and make significant improvements for newer members.”

The agreement has start rates across the wage grid that are 40 cents above the new minimum wage. Importantly, Grid B members will be placed onto the new wage grid with all their career hours intact; they also gained short term disability as well employer funding to create a dental plan.

The deal includes a modest wage increase for Grid A members, who were already earning a living wage. Importantly, Balmer added, the union was successful in defending accumulated time off (ATO), despite Stong’s initial proposal to eliminate this important benefit.

The contract also features domestic violence leave provisions, transfer language and stronger shop steward language. “This is a very solid win,” said Secretary-Treasurer Kim Novak. “I want to thank the bargaining committee for their time and effort in negotiating this agreement for our members.”

The bargaining committee consists of members Gary Fisk, Dave Pearson and Aaron Audet, assisted by union representative Jason Mann and director Kim Balmer​. Negotiations for the re-opener for Stong’s Northwoods location begin next year.