Brother Michael Lee

The passing of Brother Michael Lee


It is with great sadness that we write expressing our condolences on the passing of our union brother, Michael Lee.

Recently, we learned that Michael’s was yet another life tragically lost to COVID-19. And as with every time we learn about a member of our union family succumbing to this terrible virus, we are left heartbroken and grieving.

Michael worked as Produce staff at Superstore 1574 and started working for Loblaws in 2007. Michael was a Shop Steward and served his coworkers with diligence and compassion since 2018.

Michael was a warm and empathetic man who cared deeply for his fellow Superstore workers. He brought his wife and child to Canada from China only two years ago and was proud to contribute positively to his workplace as a full-time employee.

Our union has worked tirelessly to mitigate the risks our members face in their workplace daily. As “essential workers” who interact with the public every day, the effects of the global pandemic felt by our retail grocery members have been particularly acute.

Over the past nine months, we have relentlessly pushed employers to provide adequate personal protective equipment, to implement rigorous safety protocols, to ensure abundant sick time, and to recognize the overwhelming contributions of Superstore workers with pandemic pay.

As we have sought to serve the best interests of our retail grocery members throughout the pandemic, our motto has been: Safety First.

We know that by ensuring the safety of our retail grocery members, we are also working to ensure the safety of the general public. And in the face of such a widespread and serious public health crisis, putting safety first is the right thing to do.

Too often, the loss of life we all grieve has been preventable. Every life we lose, like Brother Lee’s, is one life too many. And we will continue our work pushing for safety and preventing the loss of life wherever possible.

We know that the coming days and weeks will be difficult for union members at Superstore 1574, as well as for the wife and adult child that Michael leaves behind. Please do not ignore your grief. Know that it is okay to hurt as you work through these difficult feelings.

Please know that your union is hurting and grieving alongside you. And know that we will be here to support you in whatever way we can.


Thomas Hesse, President
Richelle Stewart, Secretary-Treasurer UFCW Local 401