Official Statement: Health and Safety Concerns at Superstore

UFCW Local 401 President Thomas Hesse has released the following statement regarding health and safety concerns at Superstore:

“As a union, we are very worried on behalf of our Superstore members during this dangerous third wave. We have all seen the number of positive cases spiral out of control in Alberta. And our Superstore union members are on the frontlines of this deadly wave, taking risks to ensure that food is getting to the tables of Albertans.

They take their jobs seriously and are committed to fulfilling their essential roles. Unfortunately, Loblaws has demonstrated that it needs to take the pandemic much more seriously.

The Company tells us about their best intentions when it comes to keeping employees and customers safe. But those intentions play out in various ways at various stores.

Every day, UFCW Local 401 receives reports of inconsistent and insufficient safety protocols at stores across the province. Those reports leave us with serious concerns about employee and customer safety that involve issues such as:

  • Mandatory masking
  • Cleaning protocols
  • Effectiveness of the plexiglass shields at tills
  • Lack of plexiglass shielding in lunchrooms (even Cargill has invested in this safety infrastructure)
  • Store crowding and social distancing (even at 10% capacity, hundreds of people wind up crammed into certain sections of the store).

These are giant stores that are tens of thousands of square feet large and see foot traffic from thousands of customers each and every day. Loblaws simply has not taken the time or resources to develop the necessary health and safety infrastructure to keep their stores – and therefore their employees and customers – safe.

We continue pointing these deficiencies out to Loblaws and calling on them to work with us on ensuring customer and employee safety at their many stores during this challenging pandemic. The input from our members can serve as a sturdy and fulsome basis from which to refine and increase safety at Superstore if the Company is willing to take that project seriously.    

In the meantime, we are working to address and resolve issues on a store-by-store and incident-by-incident basis through our grievance process to improve our members’ safety and, by extension, customers’ safety.”