Grocery Heroes Are Union Heroes

The grocery industry has designated today as “grocery heroes’ day.

All of our members have been heroes and all of them are essential. Every single Local 401 member stood strong and did their job through the unprecedented global pandemic. And you have continued to do your jobs during the affordability crisis that we are currently facing.

But we do join with the grocery industry in punctuating this day for our retail grocery members.

Whether you work at Superstore or Safeway, Co-op or IGA, Save-On-Foods, FreshCo, or Sobeys, you courageously came to work during the pandemic to meet the noble goal of feeding society despite all the associated risks. 

Citizens finally came to realize what we’ve always known – your work is, has, and will always be essential. That’s the truth of the matter. 

Unfortunately, this very positive truth is accompanied by a very negative one. Pandemic pay has come and gone. And even though they are allowed under collective agreements, food retailers have not increased wages to match inflation.

Your work is even more challenging, and your day is too often punctuated by rude, angry, or even abusive customers. 

The grocery giants who have incredible power over us need to step up and meet their social responsibilities. They are making unprecedented profits and charging unprecedented prices.

It’s time they turned their attention to people!

Many retail workers are now locked into contracts that limit their ability to speak out, take strike votes, and threaten strikes. But some very big agreements will expire sooner than you may realize.

Safeway agreements will be wide open in 2025, with the Superstore agreements to follow shortly thereafter. Grocery heroes are rapidly becoming union heroes. 

A light bulb has gone off. A realization has occurred. How can my company call me a hero and treat me so poorly, failing to acknowledge my economic needs?

When this light bulb goes off, grocery workers are motivated to action. They connect with each other. They connect with their union. They begin to speak out. They start to push back.

Grocery heroes become union heroes.