Saskatoon Co-op will not hold special meetings as requested in 2 petitions

Safeway at The Centre in Saskatoon changes over to Co-op next month.
Saskatoon Co-op’s board of directors said it weighed a number of issues before deciding not to hold the special meetings requested in two petitions. Joel Senick / Global News

Saskatoon Co-op’s board of directors will not hold any special meetings as requested in two petitions.

One asked for a special meeting to vote on the removal of the board and the second to discuss decisions around collective bargaining.

The board said it weighed a number of issues at its meeting on Nov. 26 before making its decision.

READ MORE: Petition calls for removal of Saskatoon Co-op’s board of directors

The board said they were advised by legal counsel the petitions failed to meet a number of requirements set out in the province’s Co-operatives Act, the company’s bylaws, and general principles of law around members meetings.

WATCH BELOW: Saskatoon Co-op strike impacting other businesses

Saskatoon Co-op strike impacting other businesses
Saskatoon Co-op strike impacting other businesses

It also said the petition to remove the board is before the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board (SLRB).

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Saskatoon Co-op filed an unfair labour practice against the petition, stating it undermines the bargaining process.

The application has not yet been heard by the SLRB, but the board said any ruling made will not change its decision not to hold a meeting.

READ MORE: Saskatoon Co-op files unfair labour practice in ongoing strike

“We respect our members’ decision to share their views through the requests they brought forward,” Grant Whitmore, chairperson of the Saskatoon Co-op board of directors, said in a statement.

“Our board of directors continues to act with the interests of all of Saskatoon Co-op’s 116,000 plus members as our guide.”

Craig Thebaud, who spearheaded the petition for the special meeting to have the board removed, said he is dismayed by the decision.

“The latest antics of the Saskatoon Co-op only reinforces for me the need to remove the current board of directors,” Thebaud said in a press release.

“Democratic control of the Co-op by members is the very underpinning of the co-operative movement. I am confident that we will be successful in having the special meeting called.”

Thebaud said he is now asking the registrar for Co-operatives to call the special meeting.

Roughly 900 unionized Co-op employees walked off the job on Nov. 1 after failing to reach an agreement on a new contract.

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Officials with United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) local 1400 said a stumbling block is the company’s desire to bring in a second-tier wage scale for new employees.

The company has said it needs to ensure the long-term viability of the company.