PRESS RELEASE: MARCH 29, 2005

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Vanderhoof Members Vote 95% for Strike Action

On Thursday March 24, meetings were held for the Local 247 members employed at the Vanderhoof Extra Foods to update them on negotiations and ask them for a strike mandate. A large majority of the membership turned out and overwhelmingly endorsed strike action, if necessary, by a 95% margin. At this time the main outstanding issues are:

1) The Company wants to limit the number of Specialists in each department to 25% of the employees in that department. This could result in members potentially waiting years to progress up the wage scale.

2) The Employer refuses to entertain a minimum number of full-time positions as negotiated in other Westair locations

3) The Employer refuses to entertain a minimum guarantee of hours as negotiated in other Westair locations.

4) Wage increases tabled by the employer are far below industry standards and would result in the vast majority of members receiving increases of as little as $.05 to $.10 per hour.

5) The Company wants the ability to schedule students two (2) hour shifts on days their attending class.

"We're here to bargain a Collective Agreement that works for everyone but I really have to question the Company's intentions when I see proposals like these", stated Union Representative Charles Pratt who is chairing these negotiations with Union Representative Dean Patriquin. " The members have sent a strong message to the Employer that their current positions on these issues are unacceptable".

The results of the vote were relayed to Company officials shortly after the conclusion of the meetings. The Employer has subsequently contacted the Union to schedule future bargaining sessions and a dates of April 26 and 27 have been tentatively agreed to.

We are still of the belief that we can come to a fair Agreement but the Company needs to understand the resolve of our members if they continue to table the same proposals and ignore our concerns.

  • ufcw [at] ufcw247 [dot] com