The Loblaw/RCSS bargaining committee had its preliminary meeting with the employer on July 27-30, 2021. The committee, lead by co-chairs President Dan Goodman and Secretary -Treasurer Charles Pratt, met with the employer face to face at the Sheraton Guilford in Surrey to kick off bargaining. Proposals were exchanged, the intent clarified and the bargaining began with the non-monetary items. Initial discussions began with the Letters of Understanding, scheduling and availability proposals, as well as various Health and Safety issues.
"We represent a diverse membership with very diverse needs" says President Goodman. Our part time members all have different issues with the current scheduling practices depending on their individual situations. There are times where they want more hours, less hours and the need to change their days of work depending on what is happening in their life that particular week. When we met with the employer a year ago in an attempt to begin bargaining early, a unique concept called Dynamic Scheduling had been agreed to in Ontario. This was of interest to your committee as it would allow part time members to fine tune their schedules on a weekly basis by swapping shifts, giving away shifts or picking up additional shifts based on their individual needs. UFCW local 401 in Alberta is currently in bargaining with Loblaws /RCSS and is also interested in the concept.
While monetary discussions do not begin until the non-monetary items have been resolved, President Goodman took the opportunity in his opening comments to remind Loblaw that while Covid 19 had presented challenges for the employer, it had also netted them dramatic increases in profitability. While the employer knows that significant changes to the pay scale are needed to allow them to hire and retain staff, they must not forget their long term members whom have made their record profits possible under the considerable strain of the Covid pandemic.