Sobeys censors union communication in Safeway stores

In the midst of an ongoing labour dispute with UFCW 1518, Sobeys has begun censoring union communication to members in stores.

The union has confirmed that Sobeys is directing their managers at Safeway stores in British Columbia to remove a meeting notice that had been posted on the union bulletin board. The meeting notice alerts members to a province-wide vote being held for all Safeway members this week.

The removal of meeting notices from the union bulletin board is a violation of Section 19.13 of the collective agreement, which allows for meeting notices to be posted. The union has filed an unfair labour practice complaint with the BC Labour Relations Board, as well as a grievance.

“This is outrageous,” said Secretary-Treasurer Kim Novak. “Our members have a contractual right to receive communication from the union at work on the union bulletin board, including notice of meetings. Sobeys doesn’t want our members to exercise their democratic right to vote on these recommendations. This is censorship, plain and simple.”

The union is holding the vote to enable Safeway members to make their views known regarding recommendations made by Special Officer Vince Ready earlier this month, and to give the bargaining committee a clear mandate as to how to proceed. The recommendations are sweeping, with unknown and potentially devastating consequences, both for UFCW 1518 members and the grocery industry in BC.

“Our Safeway membership needs to come out in full force this week and vote. We need to show Sobeys that they can’t continue to disrespect our members like this,” Secretary-Treasurer Novak said. “It’s time for the company to come back to the table and properly negotiate. That means moving away from their concessions-only set of demands and toward a living wage for all members.”

Within the Lower Mainland, voting takes place from 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., with a presentation at 5:00 p.m. Please click here for dates and locations.

Outside the Lower Mainland, voting takes place from 2:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., with a presentation at 5:00 p.m. Please click here for dates and locations.

Safeway members can vote at any location in the province as long as they have their photo ID or union card.