Your Voice e-newsletter v14.120

Happy Holidays From UFCW Local 401

Regardless of what you happen to be celebrating in this very festive month of December, UFCW Local 401 would like to take a moment to wish you a happy holiday season. We look forward to continuing our work building a better life for working Albertans with you in the New Year!

- UFCW Local 401 Staff

UFCW Local 401 Congratulates Marc Perrone On Election As President of UFCW International

UFCW Local 401 congratulates brother Marc Perrone on his election as the new President of the UFCW International.

President Perrone has a long history with the UFCW, first joining the Retail Clerks (later to become the UFCW) in 1971 while working as a courtesy clerk at Weingarten’s food store in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Since that time, President Perrone has held various positions within the UFCW, including Region 1-Eastern Director and National Director of Strategic Programs, Collective Bargaining and Organizing.

For the last decade, President Perrone’s financial leadership as the UFCW International’s Secretary-Treasurer has helped to build the union into the force it is today.

As the International’s chief administrative officer, Perrone streamlined the UFCW’s financial transition to a growth-oriented union by channeling finances toward growth, growth support, and union administration departments. His leadership and financial guidance has facilitated the UFCW’s ability to meet its new growth priorities – putting more resources and staff into organizing.

UFCW Local 401 is happy to see Perrone succeed outgoing President Joe Hansen, whose tireless dedication to improving the lives of workers leaves a high bar to be met.

“On a personal note, there is no one with more passion, drive and complete devotion to the 1.3 million members of our great International Union than Marc Perrone,” said President Doug O’Halloran.

We look forward to working with President Perrone in the coming weeks, months, and years. UFCW Local 401 knows that together with exceptional leaders like President Perrone, we can make life better for working people in Alberta and throughout the world.

- Doug O'Halloran

Vacation and Leave of Absence Requests at Superstore

It is around this time of year with the Real Canadian Superstore that I find that there is an increase in the number of questions I get from Superstore workers as a UFCW Local 401 Union Representative regarding vacations and leaves of absence. To better inform our Superstore membership about their rights at work, I have chosen to focus on this issue.

On January 31 2015, the company will post a notice stating that if you would like to request vacation, you must have those selection requests in by February 28. Full-time employees are generally the ones to submit their requests during this time but part-time employees may do so as well. All vacation requests will be confirmed by March 15 and any changes that need to be made will be made by mutual agreement. If you have not submitted your vacation requests by February 28, your vacation requests will then be left to the discretion of the company. Therefore, it is important that you do not leave your requests for vacation to the last minute as doing so may result in your request for time off not being granted.

The number of weeks that you are entitled to for vacation is based on your years of continuous service with the company. Please see your Collective Bargaining Agreement or contact your Shop Steward or Union Representative if you have any questions or concerns about this.

Remember that a leave of absence request is different than your vacation. Vacation is a paid time off work. If you are a full-time employee, you will receive your vacation pay as you would a normal pay period. Part-time employees will receive a one-time payment by the end of January for the previous year. This amount is based on your years of service and the total earned from the previous year.

Unlike vacation, leaves of absence are determined by the need of the employee. There are several types of leaves of absence listed in your Collective Agreement, for example: maternity leave, military leave and union leave. Leaves of absence can be requested outside the vacation selection dates and they can also be taken in addition to your vacation entitlement.

It seems that the most common request made is for long distance travel and so many of our members have asked questions about this. Until the most recent collective bargaining with Superstore, leaves of absence were only granted for up to a period of four (4) weeks. We were able to successfully negotiate specific language regarding the sensitive need for extended time and consideration to be given to employees when they are planning to travel outside of Canada and the US. Although the length of the leave of absence is still left to the discretion of the company, the language allows you to ask for a reasonable period of time off (without pay) with consideration given for the distance to be travelled.

No request for leave of absence will be unreasonably denied. If you submit a request for time off under the long distance travel language, the company is required to respond to your request within fourteen (14) days. If you have not received your response within the fourteen (14) days, contact your Union Representative immediately for assistance.

You should also call your Union Representative should your leave of absence be denied. The final decision for approval does not rest at the store as Superstore Labour Relations have the final say as to whether your request for leave of absence should be granted or not.

It is important to know that you shouldn’t reserve any travel arrangements, such as flights or hotel, without first receiving written confirmation that your time off is approved. This rule applies for both vacation and leaves of absences as the company is not responsible for booking cancellation costs or the cost of a non-refundable ticket should you have to change your travel plans.

- Michelle Cahill

New UFCW Canada webCampus Courses for January

Have you taken advantage of UFCW Canada’s free WebCampus courses? UFCW Local 401 members, their families and friends are eligible to register for free WebCampus courses throughout the year.

It is an opportunity to learn at your own speed, day or night! WebCampus courses are so convenient that you only need an internet connection to start learning additional life and job skills. What’s even better is that you can learn together with your family.

Is your son or daughter interested in taking a WebCampus course? Maybe your partner, parent or sister would like to open the door to learning but needs some encouragement?

Now is the time to start! All WebCampus courses are free of charge. UFCW Canada members, family and community members can register online at or by calling toll-free 1-866-865-0202 or emailing, where staff are available to help members through the online registration process step-by-step.

These two courses are open for participants to take from January 5 – 30, 2015:


When PowerPoint was introduced to the world of presentations, it was the program of choice. That was decades ago, and Prezi is quickly becoming the preferred presentation tool for many reasons such as 1. It’s free for everyone who has a computer and internet connection 2. It’s more visually appealing than the predictable slide show 3. It’s easy to learn and use.

Click here to watch a preview of the course.

Making a Difference

While we have our ‘Charter of Rights’, it appears many of our governments tend to avoid or ignore serious situations until they are forced to recognize the wrongness. Many look for ‘someone else’ to stand up, yet Margaret Mead captures a common truth in this quote “A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” This course is about the ways and means Canadians can make a difference.

Click here to watch a preview of the course.

- UFCW Local 401 Communications and Education

Excel Society Members Ratify First Union Contract!

UFCW Local 401 is proud to announce that members with the Excel Society working for the Gerard Raymond Centre and John McGee Employment Options have voted overwhelmingly in favour to ratify their first Union Contract. Workers will enjoy the certainty and dignity of representation and a strong collective agreement.

UFCW Local 401 represents over 40 Community Support Workers in Edmonton who provide support to persons with developmental disabilities in the day programs at the Gerard Raymond Centre and who provide volunteer and employment support through John McGee Employment Options.

The Union Contract won by Local 401 brings about improvements to compensation and quality of life for these essential support workers. These improvements will also help to retain and attract qualified staff thus improving the overall quality of service provided in these support centres.

Highlights of the Union Contract that expires on March 31, 2018 include:

  • retroactive pay increases of 8.5% for all members to March 26, 2014;
  • guarantees that future government funding allocations will go towards staff raises;
  • language allowing for breaks or paid time when breaks are unavailable;
  • language providing fair processes around discipline and investigations;
  • health and safety and joint labour-management committees to bring forward important
  • worker concerns.

The deal was possible thanks to the hard work and long hours put in by the bargaining team, as well as the support of the workers.

Congratulations to our new members on their first union contract!

- Bryan Neath