Safeway announces store closures: ‘This is an insult and an outrage,’ union says

The announcement comes on the eve of negotiation between the company and its workers' union

By
Western Investor
January 23, 2018





SAFEWAY
Safeway's Lougheed Mall location is earmarked among the ten slated closures announced today. | Lougheed Mall

 

Ten Safeway stores across the Lower Mainland will be closing, parent company Sobeys has announced on the eve of negotiations with the union that represents Safeway workers.

The workers’ union, UFCW 1518, said on its website that it received notice from Sobeys this morning (January 23) abruptly announcing the closures, which affects stores from Vancouver to Mission.

“This is an insult and an outrage,” said Ivan Limpright, president of UFCW 1518, which represents about 4500 Safeway employees.“Hundreds of our members will lose their jobs. Hundreds more will be displaced through the transfer process. And Sobeys barely gave us a courtesy call,” he said.

The union sees the move as a scare tactic and plans to fight against the permanent store closures.

“Our members have rights. Sobeys has demonstrated they have little respect for the collective agreement but we’ll be there, contract in hand, every step of the way,” says Limpright.

Safeway has responded to the union's comments and say they are receptive to beginning respectful negotations. However, the company says the union was not open to conversations regarding the stores' profitability before the closure notice was issued. 

"We’ve invited UFCW 1518 to the table to review stores that are under financial pressure in June and then again in October of last year, so that we could talk about ways to help our unprofitable stores turn the corner to protect jobs and continue to serve our customers," said Jacquelin Corrado, Sobeys communications director. "Unfortunately they declined to engage in the conversation both times."
 
Sobeys acquired the Canadian division of Safeway Inc. in 2013 as well other grocery brands such as FreshCo, Thrifty Foods, and IGA. Sobeys says it may open FreshCo stores at five of the closed Safeway locations, if “favourable terms and conditions” are reached.

 

The chain’s grocery store locations slated for closure are:

  • Lougheed Mall (Burnaby)
  • City Square (Vancouver)
  • Sunwood Square (Coquitlam)
  • West Point Grey (Vancouver)
  • Royal Oak (Burnaby)
  • Blundel (Richmond)
  • Broadmoor (Richmond)
  • Newton Town Centre (Surrey)
  • Strawberry Hills (Surrey)
  • Mission

Tanya is Western Investor's web content and social media coordinator. She first joined the Western Investor team as a editorial assistant in 2016, after a summer spent freelancing at Glacier Media papers The Burnaby Now and New West Record. She is a graduate of Langara College's journalism program.
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