Saskatoon

Workers from other unions rally in support of Saskatoon Co-op strikers

Workers from a variety of unions gathered to show their support of Co-op employees who have been on strike since November 1.

United Food and Commercial Workers National president calls proposed two-tiered wage system unfair

Representation from multiple unions rallied outside the Co-op building in downtown Saskatoon on Thursday. (Matthew Garand/CBC News)

Chants of "stop that greed" rang out around downtown Saskatoon today as members of multiple unions rallied outside the Co-op building.

Paul Meinema, the national president of United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), said it's unfortunate the dispute between Saskatoon Co-op and its workers is still ongoing.

"This rally was to show support from across Canada," Meinema said. "Not just from United Food and Commercial Workers Union, but from all unions across Canada."

He said the dispute is happening in Saskatoon but it has impacts at different locations across Canada.

Members of UFCW Local 1400, which represents the Saskatoon Co-op workers, voted on Nov. 1 to strike.

They're disputing a proposed two-tiered wage structure that would see new hires working under a different contract, earn less pay and lower benefits than existing employees.

Meinema said the proposed two-tier wage system is "inherently unfair" and would cause problems among people who work side-by-side.

He said that in this day-and-age, when companies and governments are trying to reduce gender-based pay gaps and address wage equity, it probably isn't the right thing to do to introduce a two-tiered wage system.

Paul Meinema, national president of the UCFW, was in Saskatoon to show his support for striking Saskatoon Co-op workers. (Matthew Garand/CBC News)

Meinema praised the efforts taken by workers in Saskatoon today.

"Huge demonstrations show that, unlike what some people think, workers who are unionized do recognize that their representation goes beyond themselves," he said. "It's a matter of supporting other workers, even if they don't work in the store right now."

He said at this point, there are no dates to return to the negotiation table.

About the Author

Bryan Eneas

Web Writer

Bryan Eneas is a journalist from the Penticton Indian Band currently based in Regina, Saskatchewan. Before joining CBC, he worked in Prince Albert reporting in central and northern Saskatchewan. You can contact him at Bryan.Eneas@cbc.ca.

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