UFCW Local Unions are calling out Loblaw Companies for refusing to recognize the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a paid holiday and failing to abide by collective agreement language.
In 2015, The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC), a body mandated to tell Canadians about the truth of residential schools and which has spent years collecting survivors’ stories and compiling historical evidence of what happened there, released a series of reports that contained 94 calls to action in response to the injustices inflicted on First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation.
The 80th call to action in that report urged the federal government to work with Indigenous people to establish a holiday “to honour survivors, their families, and communities and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.”
The federal government’s Bill C-5 was given royal assent on June 3rd and therefore, in observance of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, September 30th will now be a statutory holiday in Canada.
In most of our Local’s collective agreements, the language states that employers will recognize new proclaimed statutory holidays provided all major retailers remain closed.
“We have been in touch with the major employers we deal with and although we don’t expect them to close, we do expect them to pay” said President Dan Goodman during our most recent town hall meeting. It is unfortunate that Loblaw has since chosen to dismiss the existing language regarding newly proclaimed holidays. UFCW Local 247 is joining other Locals across Canada in calling out Loblaw Companies for refusing to recognize the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a paid holiday. “We are extremely disappointed by the position taken not only by Loblaw, but Sobey’s as well. We will be relying on the grievance and arbitration process to ensure that our members’ rights are not violated” said Dan Goodman after hearing the unfortunate announcement. “We are also amending our proposal package to change the statutory/general holiday language in the Superstore agreement and will be doing so for all agreements moving forward”, Dan added.
The B.C. Government has issued the following statement in support of the federal announcement:
“The national holiday will be observed this Sept. 30 by federal employees and workers in federally regulated workplaces. We have advised provincial public-sector employers to honour this day and in recognition of the obligations in the vast majority of collective agreements.”
UFCW Local 247 is pleased , however, that some of the employers we hold collective agreements with have decided to do the right thing and recognize September 30 as a statutory holiday for their employees, our members. Unlike most holidays, this will not be seen as a day for celebration but rather one for commemoration.
*The Indian Residential School Survivors Society Emergency Crisis Line is available 24/7. If you need support , call 1-866-925-4419.