June 29, 2020
Union and Sobeys Make FOS Arguments

As we previously explained, Letter of Understanding No. 29 requires that the final offer selection arbitrator hear submissions from each of the parties and then select one of the final offers as presented.  The final offer selection arbitrator does not have the power to change the expiration date of the collective agreement which is March 31, 2023.

In crafting our submission with the guidance of counsel, we wanted to identify for the arbitrator how our final offer reflected protection against the items that may have the greatest long-term impact on the membership. The issue of third party kiosks posed the greatest threat to our work jurisdiction (meaning the ability of the Company to introduce them undermined our union’s work jurisdiction, including protection of hours and jobs for Local 247 members).  This was the major focus of our submission. We felt that there is too much uncertainty on how the Company could utilize the kiosk concept and certainly there are many aspects of our work that could be impacted.

The other major area of difference was the Company’s proposal in FOS discussions to freeze or reduce contributions to Dental and Health and Welfare Plans. We presented the Arbitrator with an Actuarial report that showed the significant impact of their proposal and why our position should be preferred.  Ultimately, this evidence led to the Company pulling that proposal from its FOS submission.

The nature of the FOS process forces the parties to be “reasonable” so that the Arbitrator will choose their submission. Prior to filing our document, we went over the content with the Union Negotiating Committee so we were all in agreement on our direction. We would expect Arbitrator Hall to issue his decision quickly and will update members as soon as possible.