Sobeys to Cancel Hero Pay. UFCW 1518 Demands Reinstatement

UFCW 1518 received news that Sobeys has decided to end its Hero Pay program effective Saturday, June 13 which will affect employees who work at Safeway and FreshCo.

We are extremely disappointed by this decision. UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak sent an open letter today to Sobeys CEO Michael Medline urging him to reconsider cancelling Hero Pay at Safeway and FreshCo in British Columbia.

“Keeping the Hero Pay program going will show that Sobeys values front line workers and lead the way for fair treatment of grocery workers,” said Novak. “Thanks to the efforts of Sobeys employees and countless other front line workers, we have made it through the first wave of COVID-19. But the pandemic is far from over – our public health authorities and the Premier have warned us to expect further waves of the virus that could strike as early as the fall. To prevent further devastation, Sobeys workers will continue to do the same work they were doing during the first wave: extra cleaning, enforcing physical distancing, and maintaining safety protocols. They deserve Hero Pay as fair compensation for their work.”

You can read the rest of the open letter here.

When Sobeys announced they would be giving their workers Hero Pay on March 23, 2020, CEO Michael Medline said that “our retail and distribution centre teammates are true local heroes working on the frontlines in their communities to deliver essential services to Canadians. In times like these, enhanced compensation and support programs for those who need to care for themselves and their families are simply the right things to do.”

At the time, we recognized that Sobeys had taken a step in the right direction by recognizing the essential work their employees do. That is why we are all the more disappointed to see that has changed, as the decision announced by the company to cancel hero pay today shows.

If you work at Safeway or FreshCo and have any questions or concerns about this recent development, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at or 1.800.661.3708.