After five and a half months, Saskatoon Co-op workers are officially heading back to work as of Sunday, April 21 after accepting the terms of a tentative agreement on April 16th. Negotiations took place this past weekend, and on April 16th, members had a chance to vote during three different meetings held throughout the day. Once the votes were tallied, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1400 confirmed that 54 per cent of the workers voted in favor of the agreement.
The strike first began following UFCW Local 1400 members rejected an offer that included a two-tier wage system, lowering the wages of new employees by 65 per cent. At this time, workers had been without a contract for approximately two years. The strike affected an estimated 900 workers and Co-op locations within Saskatoon, Martensville, Warman, Colonsay and Watrous.
“At the end of the day, we came to an agreement that allows our Co-op to stay competitive while providing good jobs in our community,” Grant Wicks, CEO of Saskatoon Co-op, said. “We’re looking forward to serving our communities together with our employees as they transition back to work.”
The agreement was reached with the assistance of a mediator and is a seven-year agreement, which is retroactive to November 2016, that includes a two-tier wage scale, wage increases of two per cent per year for the duration of the contract, as well as a mechanism to reduce the gap between wage scales in years in which Saskatoon Co-op demonstrates financial success.
According to Saskatoon Co-op, they will be updating hours by location as business returns to normal at www.saskatoonco-op.crs.