The Saskatoon Co-op considers a petition asking for the removal of the organization’s board of directors an unfair labour practice and bad faith bargaining, and has asked the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board to rule on that.
UFCW Local 1400 has been on strike since November 1st. On Facebook, a group called the Saskatoon Co-op Members for the Fair Treatment of Employees, with former UFCW leader Craig Thebaud as its originator, says the reason for the petition is the prospect of two tier wages. The petition was handed in last Friday with almost 500 signatures.
The page says once the petition is received the current board has 20 days to issue a notice for a special meeting. Saskatoon Co-op cites the union and Craig Thebaud in its application to the Labour Relations Board, saying the UFCW encouraged support for the petition.
The two sides met for negotiations last week and Rod Gillies with the UFCW Local 1400 says their issue is what is termed two-tiered employment where those starting employment at the Co-op after ratification will be hired on at a much lower rate with no chance of ever reaching the level of those hired before ratification. So they presented a proposal to the Saskatoon Co-op with an amended two tier system. What the union is suggesting is an opportunity for a small percentage of those who reach the top rate under the first tier to go over to what the UFCW terms “the primary grid”. Another date at the table is scheduled for November 29th. Saskatoon Co-op has more than 116-thousand members.