January 30, 2019
Sobeys closing another 5 Safeway stores

On January 29, Sobeys advised UFCW Local 247 that it would be closing five more Safeway stores in B.C., all located in Metro Vancouver.

The five Safeway stores Sobeys is closing are:

  • Aldergrove (#4959)   – closing May 25, 2019
  • Chilliwack   (#4938)   – closing May 25, 2019
  • Maple Ridge (#4971) – closing May 25, 2019
  • Ladner (#4962)          – closing July 13, 2019
  • Abbottsford (#4932)  – closing Sept. 7, 2019

This latest announcement of Safeway closures comes on the heels of the arbitration rulings issued by Special Officer Vince Ready on December 19, 2018, to settle bargaining over the contract between UFCW 1518 and Sobeys-Safeway.

It is UFCW Local 247’s understanding that Sobeys’ intention is to close the stores mentioned above, and then re-open them as “FreshCo” stores, under a new FreshCo contract that Vince Ready issued as one of his December 19 rulings.

Important: UFCW Local 247 members working at Safeway are reminded that UFCW Local 247 is NOT bound by the terms of the December 19 Vince Ready rulings. (further information below)

Sobeys says it will issue termination notices to employees at the stores scheduled for closure, along with information about bumping rights and severance pay.

Questions & Answers

The latest Safeway closure announcements are a serious concern to UFCW 247, and have left many UFCW 247 members wondering about their futures.

Below are some “Questions & Answers” for UFCW Local 247 members working at Safeway. We will update this information as new information becomes available.

Question: Do we have negotiations scheduled to begin with Sobeys? If not, why not?

Answer: We do not have dates set yet with Sobeys for negotiations, although we have had some discussions with the company on process, and are hoping to begin negotiations shortly. It made no sense to negotiate while Sobeys and UFCW 1518 were before Vince Ready, the “Special Officer” who issued his ruling on December 19, 2018.

Question: If Sobeys is going to close these stores but re-open them as “Freshco” stores, why does this not fall under the “LOU #12 – New Banner” contract language?

Answer: Sobeys did issue the union a Notice of New Banner on February 16, 2018, that is applicable to the FreshCo banner.

Question: UFCW 1518 members are being offered additional options like a buyout or buydown. Why is the same offer not being made to UFCW 247 members?

Answer: The options available to UFCW 1518 members come directly from the Vince Ready rulings of December 19, 2018. UFCW 247 was not a party to that award, and have not been given dates yet to begin bargaining. We have told the company we need to discuss other options that should be available to our UFCW 247 members.