EI Top-Up for Safeway and Sobeys Employees, Teaming up with UFCW 247

Great news: we are happy to announce that Safeway and Sobey’s employees will be receiving top-ups on EI claims relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The EI top-ups will be available for members who have been placed in mandatory and self-imposed 14-day quarantine. The top-ups will also be available to members who need time off to care for children or other dependents.

Here are some details on the top-ups:

  • Employees who are in mandatory self-quarantine after traveling outside of Canada after March 13 will receive a company-paid top-up to 95% of their annual base salary while receiving Employment Insurance.
  • Employees who self-quarantine because they have come into contact with someone diagnosed with the COVID-19 contagion will receive a company-paid top-up of up to 70% of their annual base salary while receiving EI.
  • Those with household members who have returned from a country that had been identified as a health risk Level 3 or 4 prior to March 13, or if the member of the employee’s household has returned from a cruise, or a member of the employee’s household has a confirmed of presumptive case of COVID-19, will also receive a company-paid top-up of up to 70% of their annual base salary while receiving EI.

We are also announcing that, due to the unprecedented and highly unusual circumstances arising from the high demand and high volume at Safeway stores across BC, UFCW 1518 and UFCW 247 have been working together to find ways for members to continue to access hours and manage temporary changes to the stores’ operation.

UFCW 1518 and 247 have agreed to several conditions that will allow members of both bargaining units to work in each other’s departments. The following has been temporarily agreed to:

  1. All UFCW 1518 are to be fully maximized in their regular classification; however, due to the high volume of work, General Clerks or Cashiers may work between classifications.
  2. Once all UFCW 1518 members have their hours maximized, any UFCW 247 members who see a reduction in hours (due to the service counters changing in operation) OR in the event there is a need for more assistance outside of their regular department, may perform work in the Cashier and/or General Clerk classification.
  3. Similarly, once UFCW 247 members have their hours maximized in their home department, and there is need for more assistance in the department, UFCW 1518 members may perform work in the department in need should there be a shortage of people.
  4. Any employee working outside their regular classification or department must be properly trained by the Employer.
  5. No employee will be forced to work outside their regular department and/or classification.
  6. Any UFCW 1518 or UFCW 247 member in any store, who would like to draw down their ATO or Vacation Banks may do so upon request.
  7. Any new hire who will work primarily in the Cashier or General Clerk classification shall be hired as a UFCW 1518 member and similarly, a member hired for Deli, Meats, etc. will be a UFCW 247 member.
  8. Regardless of the work being performed, members will continue to pay Union dues to their home local union and be covered by the terms of their current collective agreement.

We know that UFCW 1518 members are on the front lines of this crisis and are proud of the work they are doing to help flatten the curve of the pandemic. We will continue to advocate for enhanced safety precautions for all grocery and pharmacy workers. We are meeting regularly with the employer and are in contact with government authorities about enacting the measures that our members have been asking for in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

You can help bring these and other additional protections to more grocery stores by writing a letter to government officials through our letter writing campaign here.

UFCW 1518 fights for fairness for our members. Click here for information about joining a union, or you can connect with an organizer to learn more.