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Empire Co.( Sobeys) to buy Safeway Canada


It was announced today in the media that Empire Co. (Sobeys) has acquired the Canadian assets of Safeway for $5.8 billion.

In a letter released today to all Safeway Employees, and the President's of all the Local Unions who represent Safeway employees, Safeway CEO Robert Edwards wrote “The employment of all union employees of Canada Safeway will continue with Sobeys in accordance with the terms of each applicable collective agreement.”

UFCW Local 247 President Suzanne Hodge stated that in discussion with the Union’s legal counsel we have been assured that all our members’ rights under the CBA and all other statutory rights under the labour code will continue and flow from Safeway to Sobey’s. We want to reassure our members that it will be business as usual and that we will take every measure to make sure that is the case.

I would strongly advise our members who have not already done so, to attend one of the remaining ratification meetings being held throughout the province either tonight or tomorrow night at the locations listed for your area.

We will continue to update you with additional information and we are posting a copy below of the letter dated today, from Empire Co. (Sobeys) to all the President's of the Local Union's.


June 12, 2013

Dear Union President,

On June 12, 2013, Safeway Inc. announced that it has entered into an agreement to sell the net assets associated with Canada Safeway Limited to Sobeys Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Empire Company Limited. This acquisition is subject to customary conditions, including approval of the Competition Bureau.

Sobeys conducts business through more than 1,500 retail stores (corporately owned and franchised), operating across Canada. Sobeys has six major banners, Sobeys, IGA extra, Thrifty Foods, IGA, Foodland and FreshCo.

We are pleased that the combined strengths of Canada Safeway and Sobeys will create a partnership that will strengthen our position in the market and result in a more competitive and successful nationwide grocery retailer.

Pending regulatory approval, Sobeys is expected to make offers of employment to all non-union employees on substantially similar terms in the aggregate that recognize the prior service of Canada Safeway employees for all purposes. The employment of all union employees will continue with Sobeys in accordance with the terms of each applicable collective agreement.

Sobeys acknowledges and agrees that it will be the successor employer of all union employees and is committed to honoring the obligations of Canada Safeway with regard to each union, including employing all union employees in accordance with the terms of each existing collective agreement. Sobeys will recognize each applicable union as the sole and exclusive bargaining agent of the union employees represented by such union and will bring the necessary applications before applicable labour relations boards regarding the transfer of any certificate of representation with respect to union employees from Canada Safeway to Sobeys.

We are committed to working closely with our industry partners, unions and employees to make the post-closing integration of these businesses as seamless as possible. Our customers will continue to receive the same high quality products and services they have come to expect.

We will continue to keep you apprised of any developments as they become available.


Chuck Mulvenna
President & Chief Operating Officer


  • ufcw [at] ufcw247 [dot] com