Union, store owner are resuming talks

Shoppers Drug Mart and the employee union are set to return to the negotiating table today.

These Shoppers Drug Mart employees at the Lakelse Ave. location have been on strike since May 1. But talks resume today.

Terrace Shoppers Drug Mart and its employees’ union are set to return to the bargaining table today.

Employees at the Lakelse location, members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1518, have been on strike for over two months.

The two sides arranged to resume talks following a recent move by Shoppers Drug Mart owner Barb Rae.

Rae posted a letter in the front window of the store on June 26 saying she was ready to return to the bargaining table.

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

Job action began 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 Drug Marts. In Metro Vancouver, contract settlements included wage increases with retroactive pay  and contract language improvements.

Clerks in the south got “a rather modest” settlement that landed in the range, depending on how long a worker had been there, of $1 to $1.05 over the three years, James Raposo, the collective bargaining director for the Union of Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1518, said in April.

Pharmacy technicians got $1.20 over three years, he said.

In the Lower Mainland, a clerk’s salary ranges from entry level of $10.40  to $16.70 and for a pharmacy technician the range is $10.65 to $18.75, he said.

The union says talks 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.

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

Although there are not specific details as to what is in the Quesnel agreement, employees there voted 95 per cent in favour of accepting it this March.

It expires in 2015, and includes signing bonuses, wage increases over the last two years of the collective agreement, a merged payscale, and improvements to rules around scheduling, according to a notice on the union’s website.

But over the past two months, 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.”

The Terrace store unionized in 2008 and had its first contract negotiation in 2009.

Clerks and pharmacy technicians voted 96 per cent in favour of striking if need be at a March 18 meeting.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

What is the future of transportation in Terrace?

Active transportation, transit, road networks to play a big part in the coming years

Single-engine aircraft crashes near Telkwa

Two occupants of the plane sustained minor injuries and were transported to hospital

Terrace firefighters heading south to help battle wildfires in Oregon

Over 200 B.C. firefighting personnel will assist in the U.S.

Cullen announces bid for provincial NDP nomination for Stikine riding

Current MLA Donaldson not seeking re-election

Nicole Halbauer seeks B.C. NDP nomination for Skeena riding

Halbauer is the current Chair of the Board of Directors at Coast Mountain College

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Thousands of child care spaces coming to 35 B.C. communities

Province announces milestone in Childcare BC plan

Most Read