Important Vote for Medicine Hat South Country Co-op Members

As you are aware, UFCW 401 represents both the Meat & Deli, and Retail members at the South Country Co-op in Medicine Hat. We have currently exchanged proposals with your employer to renew your Collective Agreement. Through the course of taking proposals from the members, and upon receiving your employer’s proposals, we have had interest from both parties in merging the two Collective Agreements into one.

When UFCW Local 373A merged with Local 401 on February 12, 2007, there was a commitment given that the two contracts would not merge for the foreseeable future. In the nearly 10 years since the merger, interest in merging the two Agreements has grown enough that we believe it’s time for each of you to make that decision through a democratic vote.

If we do merge the two Agreements, the time to do it is through the course of bargaining. With both sets of bargaining just getting started, we have decided to canvas the membership to see if you want us to attempt this at this set of bargaining.

This is not something that your union will do without the members voting in favour. Should one group or the other vote not to merge then there will be no attempts made to merge them. Both bargaining units must be in favour of merging for us to attempt it during this set of bargaining. It’s important to mention that if we should get a “yes” vote to merge the two Agreements, the employer still has to agree to blend the language to our satisfaction.

Many of you will undoubtedly have questions, so we have scheduled two information meetings and voting times on March 31, 2016 at the Holiday Inn Express (9 Strachan Bay S.E.). You can attend either at 10 a.m. or 7 p.m. that day. Please try to attend one of these meetings to ask your questions and cast your ballot.


Al Olinek, UFCW Local 401 Negotiator