Grand Slam Vote at Sierra Springs Sobeys Liquor Store

After much anticipation, on March 11, the Alberta Labour Relations Board counted the ballots of the Sierra Springs Sobeys Liquor Store vote held a short time ago in Airdrie and released to the union some wonderful news.

UFCW Local 401 is proud to announce the results of the vote and heartily welcomes its newest members of the Airdrie Sierra Springs Sobeys Liquor Store who voted 100% in favour of joining Local 401! We are thrilled with this result, and as you can imagine, our newest members were very excited to hear the news, and will be expressing themselves in the workplace with UFCW Local 401 union pins displayed proudly on their uniforms.

While the landslide results of this vote have made everyone at your union jump with excitement, this 100% result has humbled us at the same time, as the unwavering trust our newest members have shown in their union by voting 100% in favour of joining us speaks to the power of one voice heard in unity. It is precisely the unity displayed by our newest members which allowed us to break through the final wall in this campaign to the other side wherein there awaits victory and positive change for our newest Brothers and Sisters from Airdrie.

In our last update on the Sierra Springs Store, we informed Local 401 members of objections made to the vote that resulted in a delay by the Labour Board in results of the vote. The position of the Labour Board was once there is an objection made to a vote; it must be resolved before the ballots are counted.

As was previously reported, the Board officer present at the vote objected to the ballot cast by the assistant manager on the grounds that a worker who engages in managerial duties is precluded from participating in a union’s bargaining committee. The assistant manager generously agreed to withdraw her ballot to speed up the process of the count: this would act as if the assistant manager never voted, and allow the ballots to be counted.

Alas, the Labour Board disagreed with this solution and suggested we remove the objection to the report and file dates in the extended future to discuss the inclusion of this employee in the unit. As this would have further delayed the results of the vote for Airdrie members, the union decided to press on with its objection to the Board officer’s conclusion in hopes of finding a speedier solution for members.

On March 2, the Labour Board hearing commenced and our witnesses explained their job duties and expectations in the workplace as an assistant manager to the Board. In light of the union’s persistence in this matter, it was agreed by all parties to remove the union’s original objection to the board report and file a separate determination application to have the assistant manager later included. By taking this approach, the union was able to have the vote counted, and the previous testimony and case of the assistant manager would continue forward without any further delays to the Sierra Springs voting process and without a loss of justice for the assistant manager.

Local 401 will now send the notice to bargain to the employer and will begin the negotiation process to win a fair union contract for our Airdrie Sobeys Liquor Store members. UFCW Local 401 President Douglas O’Halloran will negotiate on behalf of members with the company and will sit alongside members of the store’s bargaining committee to ensure the voice of every worker is heard.

If you would like more information on how to get a union in your workplace, contact UFCW Local 401 Union Organizer Joe Irving confidentially at jirving@ufcw401.ab.ca or at 403-803-4270.