Since November 1st, approximately 900 Saskatoon Co-op workers that are a part of United Food and Commercial Workers local 1400 have been on strike. Co-op food and gas locations within Saskatoon, Martensville, and Warman have seen workers walking the picket line come rain, shine, or snow during the strike.
The most recent offer from Saskatoon Co-op was voted on by the employees on Friday, January 4th, and 60% of union members voted against the offer, meaning the strike will continue until further negotiations can be made. Currently, no bargaining date has been announced.
The union is against the two-tier wage system that Co-op has introduced, stating that this wage system would mean lower wages for women and vulnerable groups, and will mean that new employees would be paid at a lower rate than current employees. According to Saskatoon Co-op, the latest offer included revisions to the second-tier wage structure. These changes included less positions in the second tier and paying second-tier employees a higher starting wage than previous offers.
On Saturday, January 5th, Saskatoon Co-op issued a notice stating that although the latest offer was rejected, negotiations will continue. “Without a doubt, we’re disappointed that the offer wasn’t accepted, but we see the vote as progress toward reaching an agreement. Given how close the vote was, we’re still optimistic that we can work with the union and our employees to reach an agreement,” Saskatoon Co-op CEO Grant Wicks said.
In previous notices, Saskatoon Co-op has stated that the current wage ranges are unsustainable and are required in order for the company to remain competitive within the market.