Shoppers Drug Mart owner ready to talk

A letter posted in the window of the Lakelse Shoppers Drug Mart says the owner is willing to return to the negotiating table

  • Thu Jun 28th, 2012 5:00pm
  • News

This letter to striking employees is posted in the window of the Lakelse Shoppers Drug Mart.

Shoppers Drug Mart owner Barb Rae is ready to return to the bargaining table, according to a letter she posted in the front window of her Lakelse Ave. location dated June 26.

“The store continues to lose business,” the letter states. “I am willing to return to the bargaining table without any preconditions.”

Employees of the Lakelse store, who are members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, began job action on May 1 following a break down in the contract negotiation process.

The workers’ contract expired in July 2011. The members have been asking for a contract similar to agreements  in  Lower Mainland Shoppers Drugmarts.

In an earlier letter, dated June 1, Rae suggested the union members consider an agreement similar to the contract agreed to in Quesnel.

But the union and its members have said they are firm in their resolve to negotiate a contract like in the Lower Mainland.

“This is not about the Quesnel agreement,” said union representative Kim Novak. “Our focus is on establishing an agreement that meets the needs of the employees in Terrace, and that is a contract that is comparable to the one in the Lower Mainland.”

In the past, the union has said they are also willing to return to the table with a negotiator whenever the owner is ready to reach out.

Clerks and pharmacy technicians voted 96 per cent in favour of striking at their March 18 meeting.

The union says talks then broke off mid-April when the owner offered a proposal that fell short of the terms reached at stores in southern B.C. and did not address specific concerns brought up by the Terrace members.