In light of Sobeys greater-than-expected gains in sales and profitability in their last quarter, as reported in the media yesterday, Kim Novak sent the following letter to CEO and president Michael Medline, copied to Special Officer Vince Ready:
December 14, 2018
Mr. Michael Medline, President & CEO
Empire Company Limited
Stellarton, Nova Scotia B0K 1S0
Dear Mr. Medline:
We read with interest in the media about Empire’s success in its latest quarter, with sales performance exceeding expectations and a reported profit of almost $104 million. We are pleased to see things moving in the right direction.
We note, however, that this healthy gain in sales and profits was earned while our members continued to receive the wages and benefits of the current collective agreement in the Safeway stores you operate in British Columbia, which you have told our bargaining committee, the media and Special Officer Vince Ready, must be gutted in order to regain financial stability in BC.
We have been engaged in a very difficult round of bargaining with Sobeys since the beginning of this year, which has led to animosity and increased tensions among your staff, our members. Despite this, they continue to work hard on behalf of your company and continue to be a significant reason for increasing sales and profit.
Our members, like all working people, deserve a living wage. As importantly, our members deserve recognition and respect for their efforts in helping turn things around, despite very difficult working conditions at times, and proposals put forth by their employer indicating, without shame, that they are worth less than what they currently earn. Safeway’s abysmal employee retention itself attests to the pressing need for higher – not lower – compensation.
Once again, we are pleased to see the “good, consistent performance” your company continues to experience, including in the western region where there is “much better performance despite a challenging economy”.
We expect with this robust increase to your profitability that our members will see the benefits in their job security, rather than an ongoing attack on their wages and benefits from you as their employer.
cc Vince Ready