From Westmount to Windermere, our members are speaking out! – President Hesse
Today is the third anniversary of the emergence of the global pandemic. Our members went to work. Our members made sure Albertans were fed. Our members are essential. Bluntly put, our members are heroes.
Our members in health care did the noble work of caring for others. In casinos, hotels, and conference facilities, our members were without work and bore the brunt of economic loss and job insecurity that came with the pandemic. In the camps, union members continue to feel job insecurity as they are threatened by their bosses with take-it-or-leave-it rollbacks.
Bloomberg recently released a report that nearly half of workers continue to be afraid of being exposed to COVID-19 at work. Workers are also feeling the economic strain of inflation.
Last week I was in Edmonton, and I had the opportunity to visit with our members at front ends, in bakeries, in delis, in floral departments, in meat departments, on sales floors, in back rooms, in produce departments, and in coffee rooms at Safeway stores. As we prepare for an ongoing Wage Reopener Negotiation affecting Safeway employees across the province, I wanted to hear the emotions and sentiments of Safeway members as they performed their duties. I thought I would get a good sampling by visiting some Safeway stores.
Here is what I heard and observed:
As we reflect on the third anniversary of the emergence of the horrible and frightening disease that rattled all of our lives, I was encouraged to talk to members who were thoughtful, connected to the issues, and showed a strong sense of solidarity with each other and their union.
Additionally, an important hearing will commence in April where we will be seeking significant remedies for Cargill workers who witnessed the largest COVID-19 workplace outbreak in North America due to corporate negligence. Our lawyers are preparing for that litigation right now.
As we approach all of our employers in the coming months to continue insisting that the health and safety of workers be protected and that compensation be improved, I urge all Local 401 members to stand strong and work together for a better workplace and a better world.
On behalf of our Treasurer, Richelle Stewart, our Executive Board and our staff, our Stewards and our activists, I cannot thank Local 401 members enough for their courage and perseverance. By sticking together with strength and solidarity, we will make it through these difficult times.
UFCW Local 401
Posted on: March 13,2023