Kicking Off the New Safeway Walking Steward Program

October 8, 2020 – Calgary, AB. One of the achievements of the last round of Safeway negotiations was the introduction of Walking Stewards, an additional resource for Alberta Safeway employees. This innovative and exciting new program begins today!

Shop Stewards serve union members every day, and they are the key to effective union representation in the stores and in the day-to-day.

“Retail and meat and deli employees are at the front lines bringing food to the tables of Albertans,” said UFCW Local 401 President, Thomas Hesse.  “Every day, Local 401 Walking Stewards will be at the frontlines bringing increased representation to those members.”

An important aspect of the work of our union is to ensure that there is effective union visibility and accessibility in the workplace. Walking stewards will go a long way to increasing our union’s presence.

“The new Safeway contract has its strengths and its weaknesses,” continued Hesse. “But no contract is worth the paper it is written on if it isn’t or cannot be enforced.  Local 401 Staff Representatives work very hard at enforcement and so do our Shop Stewards.  But under the new Safeway contract, we have successfully negotiated an additional enforcement mechanism at no cost to you.  The company is paying for new Walking Stewards. Through a rigorous selection process, they have been appointed and their role will be to provide that extra layer of representation that we are referring to.”

There will be three Walking Stewards serving the northern part of the province and three serving the south.

“This is arguably the toughest economy we have ever faced,” said Hesse. “This is arguably the worst political environment working people have ever faced. With COVID-19, this is arguably the scariest environment our members have ever worked in. Further, there are profound changes occurring in the retail food industry, and FreshCo Stores will soon be part of the shopping and employment landscape for grocery store workers. Our members will need advice, information, and a friendly and sympathetic ear. Please welcome these Walking Steward’s into your Store when they come by to hear your concerns and assist in representing you.”

This new initiative will bring even more value to our members in the stores and is an important part of our New Voices initiative. Encouraging member activism and engagement throughout the province has undeniable value members.

“Our union cannot be an out-of-sight idea or individuals that are in some office somewhere,” said Hesse. “New voices must be welcomed, and senior union members must be given new opportunities for their voices to be heard. We encourage all members to join us in this initiative and help us reinvent our union to meet these unprecedented times.”


Northern Alberta

Catherine Eden  – currently from 8895 in Edmonton, Catherine has been working at Safeway for ten years in the Deli department.

Karm Ryan – currently from 8866, Karm has worked in the pharmacy at Safeway for 12 years.

Margaret Macauley – currently from 8863, Margaret has been working at Safeway for 33 years, she has been a cashier, file maintenance, helped out in the bakery, bulk foods, repack, Variety Operator, and is now in the cut fruit area.

Southern Alberta

Peter Isiah – currently from 8849, Peter has been with Safeway for 39 years in the meat department.

Teresa Ludwig – currently from 8833, Teresa has been with Safeway for 30 years in the Front End

Tia Zavalo Goss – currently from 8903, Tia has been with Safeway for 19 years in the Front End