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BackSafeway Updates - The Issues


What Are the Issues in Dispute between Safeway and its Alberta Employees?

Safeway employees through their Union - UFCW Local 401 - are communicating the following bargaining message to the Company:

  • Reward us fairly for our contribution to your success. We need to make a living too - our cost of living continues to increase.
  • Provide us with reasonable job security.
  • Don't take advantage of us because some of us are young students.
  • Give us fair predictability in our shifts - after all, many of us are at risk of working any time of the day or night.
  • For part timers who are willing to work hours to make a decent living - let us!
  • Afford us the same dignity and respect you ask us to give to you and the customers.
  • In return, we promise to do our best to continue to make you an enormously successful food retailer.

Compare and Contrast the Union/Company Positions (as of February 26, 2003)

Here are some "point form" specifics of some of the issues in dispute between the Company and the Union (errors and omissions excluded).

If something is not clear, call the Union office. This is a general "highlight" summary, and not necessarily exhaustive. It is broken down into categories; but, arguably, all issues are about basic fairness, dignity, and respect.

Some issues are, of course, negotiable. The Union position reflects our current perspective. What is ultimately settled upon is up to you.

If you need to see a copy of your existing Contract, contact the Union office.

Job Security

Company wants the right to have its security experts - often ex-police officers - interrogate you without representation. Company also wants to limit your right to representation in a variety of circumstances. NO WAY! SAFEWAY!
Representation must be given to employees in a broad variety of circumstances.
Company wants to limit opportunities for training and education. NO WAY! SAFEWAY!
Union seeks to protect existing training and education rights and expand them.
The Company position limits opportunities to become a full-time floral operator. NO WAY! SAFEWAY!
Increase the opportunities to become full-time floral operator.
Company wants to continue to attack cashier job security and income by allowing some use of general clerks for cashing. NO WAY! SAFEWAY!
Cashiers only should cash.

Dignity and Respect

Company wants to keep new employees "in the dark" regarding their rights as workers. NO WAY! SAFEWAY!
Union wants new employees to have an orientation about their Union and their rights as workers.
Death In The Family?
Company will not introduce a fair system of pay for time off for part-time employees.
Union wants the grief of part-time employees at the time of the death of a loved one to be recognized through a fair system of pay for time off.
Company refuses to recognize the disadvantaged economic position of permanent employees in Banff, and continues to discriminate against them. NO WAY! SAFEWAY!
Union wants to eliminate discrimination and provide special economic protections.
An overall failure to recognize employee contribution to the business. NO WAY! SAFEWAY!
Without employees and their hard work, you couldn't even operate!


Company does not want to expand any existing benefits. NO WAY! SAFEWAY!
Union wants to introduce a new improved, broadly inclusive Health and Welfare Benefits Plan, jointly administered by Union and Company.
Company will not increase contributions to the pension to match, for example, Superstore?s contribution levels. NO WAY! SAFEWAY!
Union wants to increase contributions to pension plan.
Company will not improve pension for those on verge of retiring or introduce a fair early retirement package. NO WAY! SAFEWAY!
Union wants to enhance pension available for those on verge of retiring and introduce a fair early retirement package.
Company wants employees to continue to be required to buy their logo-based apparel or other clothing. NO WAY! SAFEWAY!
The Union believes that if the Company requires a certain type of clothing, the Company ought to pay for it.
Company will provide no economic recognition for floral and variety operators and premium checkers. NO WAY! SAFEWAY!
These "department" managers should not be discriminated against and should receive proper economic recognition.
Company wants to TAKE AWAY the northern living allowance. NO WAY! SAFEWAY!
Union seeks to improve the northern living allowance to offset the extraordinary living costs in Grande Prairie and Fort McMurray.
Company take away.
Looking forward to reaching an entitlement for a 7th week of vacation? If you don?t have it now, you won?t get it in the future!
7th week of vacation should stay.


Company wants a more complex system of scheduling that is unfair and is extremely difficult to understand. Part of their plan is to eliminate base and "correction" hours. NO WAY! SAFEWAY!
Union wants to protect the existing base hour employees and their right to correction hours, and ensure that remaining hours are distributed fairly and simply on the basis of seniority.
Company wants to "cap" all employees (who started work after March 93) at 30 hours, depriving senior employees of a fair living and depriving them of benefits. The only hours available above the cap would be handed out at management discretion. NO WAY! SAFEWAY!
Union says "NO CAPS!" and let?s not open the door to unfair favoritism.
Company wants to continue to have a 43-hour basic work week in Fort McMurray depriving employees of fair overtime pay and putting employee health at risk. NO WAY! SAFEWAY!
Union wants to ensure the Fort McMurray basic work week matches that of the rest of the province at 40 hours.
Company does not want to improve worker rights with respect to evening work and night crew shifts. NO WAY! SAFEWAY!
Union wants a fairer system of distributing evening shifts and night crew work.
Company wants employees in Red Deer and North to have to work as many as 7 days a week without overtime pay. NO WAY! SAFEWAY!
Safeway employees in the North should have the same rights as those in the South; i.e. overtime pay for more than 5 days worked.



  • An unfair buyout based on Company discretion, potentially reducing hours available to remaining employees.
  • Continue with discriminatory and unfair wage scales for pharmacy techs, variety clerks, floral clerks, clerk-cashiers, bakery sales clerks, and cake decorators.
  • Introduce a second, lower tier of wages for new employees.
  • Wages less than Superstore in most job classifications.
  • No improvement to start rates.
  • No improvements to statutory holiday pay.
  • Wage progressions at 10 000 hours.
  • No retroactive pay.
  • NO WAGE INCREASES FOR 7 YEARS (from expiration of current Agreement).
  • A Contract that is 7 years in duration.



  • A fair, voluntary buyout, not affecting remaining employees in any way.
  • A new, fair, non-discriminatory variety clerk wage scale.
  • A new, fair, non-discriminatory floral clerk wage scale.
  • A new, fair, non-discriminatory clerk-cashier wage scale.
  • A new, fair, non-discriminatory bakery sales clerk wage scale.
  • A new, fair pharmacy tech wage scale.
  • A new, fair cake decorator wage scale.
  • Improve statutory holiday pay.
  • Wages no less than Superstore.
  • Improved start rates.
  • Reduce wage progressions to 5000 hours.
  • Retroactive pay.
  • A fair wage increase.
  • A Contract that is fair in duration recognizing the need to renegotiate in a reasonable period of time.

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