Union members at Saskatoon Co-op locations could be off the job as early as Nov. 1.
United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) local 1400 issued a 48-hour strike notice on Monday.
UFCW, which represents roughly 900 workers at grocery stores, gas stations, Agro centres, home centres, and liquor stores, said one of the main stumbling blocks is Co-op’s “demand to introduce a second-tier wage grid.”
Union officials said this would lower wages for new employees.
“The sole reason given by the CEO of the Saskatoon Co-op for the introduction of the second tier is ‘long term sustainability’ of the Co-op,” UFCW said in a Facebook post.
“This rationale does not make sense to the employees’ bargaining committee, as this sustainability shouldn’t be achieved by lowering the quality of life of new employees.”
Saskatoon Co-op CEO Grant Wicks said they are disappointed the union walked away from its best and final offer, which he said provided higher wages and increases than their competitors in the city.
“We made an offer that protects our employees’ wages and benefits while ensuring our Co-op can remain competitive in the long-term,” Wicks said in a statement.
Wicks said they remain committed to working with UFCW to reach a new agreement.
Saskatoon Co-op officials said they will attempt to keep most locations open in the event of a strike.