Safeway, FreshCo workers in Manitoba vote in favour of strike

Over the weekend, 98 per cent of UFCW Local 832 members who work for Safeway and FreshCo voted in favour of a strike mandate, the union says.

Workers of 2 grocery chains owned by Sobeys Capital Inc. pushing for better working conditions: UFCW

A stock image shows a shopping cart in the foreground with a grocery store aisle out of focus in the background.
Of the roughly 2,000 unionized Manitoba employees of FreshCo and Safeway, 98 per cent voted in favour of a strike mandate this weekend. (Tzido Sun/Shutterstock )

Unionized workers of two grocery store chains with locations in five Manitoba cities have voted 98 per cent in favour of a strike mandate.

Over the weekend, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 832 members who work for Safeway and FreshCo gave their union the strike mandate as it negotiates a new contract.

The union said workers at the grocery store chains, which are owned by Sobeys Capital Inc., are pushing for better working conditions.

Jeff Traeger, UFCW 832 president, said in a statement Monday that the employer has made a huge profit during the pandemic while employees have worked very hard despite increasing risks and stress. 

He said in the statement that Sobeys Capital Inc. has regularly called its employees heroes, but now it's time to show their gratitude in a more meaningful way.

UFCW and Sobeys Capital Inc. have been at the bargaining table since late 2021. The current contract expires March 19 and the two sides are expected to continue bargaining Tuesday.

"We respect our teammate's participation in this process," a spokesperson from Sobeys Capital Inc, said in an email. "We continue to be committed to the bargaining process and will be at the table with UFCW 832 this week to continue this important process.

"We know that if we work together, we can find common ground."

The union represents about 2,000 Safeway and FreshCo workers in Brandon, Dauphin, Neepawa, Thompson and Winnipeg.

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