Promising Start to Sobeys Warehouse Negotiations Turns Sour

We were very encouraged that the first five days of contract talks were very productive. It even looked like we would be heading towards a deal without a lot of resistance or shenanigans from company negotiators. We had reached agreement on 27 different items, and while they weren’t all perfect, they were solid improvements.

Then day six happened.

“I thought we were in a good place and the company seemed willing to negotiate and work with us,” said Chris O’Halloran UFCW 401 Executive Director. “Then we turned our attention to money and things changed.”

Following the last exchange with the employer’s negotiating committee, we talked as a committee and four points seemed very clear to us:

  1. They do not want to invest in your workplace training or education;
  2. They want to be able to more easily fire you;
  3. They want you to come to work when you’re sick;
  4. And they are not going to “show you the money”.

Let’s dig a little deeper into these points

  1. 40% of new hires do not make it through their first 2 weeks of employment, so we asked the company to look at their processes and invest in training and education that the union could provide. – they said, “NO”.
  • They want to double the amount of time a discipline will stay on your record making it easy to fire you if you have a bad week picking or you’re late for work.
  • Due to the global pandemic, we asked them to look at personal days and enhanced sick leave to make sure you don’t have to come into work when you are sick. The company claims they have had “attendance issues” since 2018 and this would just make it worse. The icing on that cake is, they also want you to pay for all doctors notes they request!
  • We know the biggest issue for members is wages. We have seen them make big improvements in Eastern Canada, but there is no indication that we will see the same improvement here. 

We will be back at the negotiating table July 4th and 5th. If you are interested in joining the conversation virtually, please send Chris an email at: and he will send you a link to join the next session. You can also message him on Facebook at: @chrisohalloranufcw401

We are hopeful Sobeys will come back to the table and offer a fair settlement that will address the high cost of living, which includes skyrocketing grocery and fuel prices.

In solidarity,

Your Union Negotiating Committee:

Andre Dupre
Darren Dodge
Rosendo Neri
Terrance Bakalech
Melissa McGregor
Jonathan Underwood
Claudia Kalavritinos
Matt Gilks
Chris O’Halloran