Safeway Bargaining Committee Visits Edmonton Food Bank

January 14, 2020 — Edmonton, Alberta — It’s cold, bitterly cold. Someone said last night that it’ll be colder than Antarctica in Edmonton this week, and yesterday morning it was entirely believable. Still, members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 401’s Safeway bargaining committee bundled up, and they braved the cold to volunteer at Edmonton’s Food Bank. 

It’s not like they hadn’t already contributed. Safeway members had sold more than a half a million dollars’ worth of food hampers over the holiday season, almost half of the total food bank contributions to the whole province of Alberta! 

But, UFCW Local 401’s Safeway bargaining committee was nevertheless stepping up again.  

They were doing it because they knew that the Edmonton Food Bank helps feed about 30,000 Edmontonians per month and that 40% of that number are children. 

“This has really been an eye-opener,” noted Margaret York, a member of the Safeway bargaining committee. “I had no idea of the numbers and the magnitude of the need in our province. It blows me away. My heart bleeds for the hungry children.” 

Food banks have become the standard answer to helping people, including families with children, afford food as incomes have worsened, work grows exceeding precarious, and our social safety-nets have declined over time.  

Regular diets are a must for healthy eating and the root of human health. They are critical for the prevention of disease, and if we do not have access to a sustainable supply of suitable foods, our health will be endangered, regardless of available health care.  

For sympathy, empathy, and common cause, the members of the UFCW 401 Safeway Bargaining Committee ask that you pitch-in. You can try:

  • Volunteering at the local food bank; 
  • Buying food hampers at Safeways; 
  • Find out if your employer participates in a matching donation program like United Way food drives; 
  • Donate items to the Food Bank; 
  • Donate produce from your garden; 
  • Talk to your Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA), and firmly express your support for poverty reduction programs; and 
  • Work in solidarity with workers across Canada to fight for reliable, fair employment for all. 

The UFCW Local 401 Safeway bargaining committee continues to do their part by pressuring Sobeys Management for fair compensation for the hard work of their fellow Safeway employees. But, to paraphrase Food Banks Canada, “Canadians visited food banks 1.1 million times in March 2018. What number of visits will make you finally take action?”*  And that number has since stayed pretty consistent in 2019 with 1.08 million visits according to the HungerCount2019 report. **  

The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 401 is Alberta’s largest private-sector union with 32,000 members working in diverse industries such as retail, food processing, beverage production, hospitality, gaming, and education. We are part of the 1.3 million-member United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, representing working people across North America.


* Food Banks Canada, HungerCount2018, (2018) online: ( 

** Food Banks Canada, HungerCount2019, (2019) online: (