Saturday, May 7, 2011

Co-op offers pennies

Written by RWDSU 
Act Up In Sk
Saturday, 07 May 2011

Yorkton Co-operative employees employed in all of that retail’s locations in the city of Yorkton have overwhelmingly rejected what the Co-op has called its best offer. The 100 plus employees at this retail have been bargaining for a new agreement since the last one expired over one year ago. The major issues are all monetary in nature, the big one being wages.

The Co-op has proposed new start rates at just 75 cents per hour above minimum wage in the first year. Top-rated employees who for the most part are in the clerk-cashier position have been offered an increase of $1.36.

However, the Co-op proposed to cancel a $1 per hour incentive program which has been in place for many years. Consequently, the real increase in year one is 36 cents for this group. That would put a cashier on a pay scale of between $10 to $14.66 per hour after four years on the job. The Co-op’s offer for a second and third year employee is 25 cents for all rates except the top, where they are offering 37 and 38 cents respectively.

This wage offer is well below the rates for cashiers at other unionized supermarkets in the city, such as Sobey’s and Superstore. Long term staff are disappointed and feel the Co-op can well afford to do much better.

Yorkton Co-op rates have fallen behind because of many years when staff took wage freezes and very small increases.

It is common knowledge that Federated Co-operatives Ltd., of which Yorkton Co-op is a member owner, has been making hundreds of millions of dollars. Meanwhile petroleum division workers are in the lower end of pay in this industry and gas bar employees after three years will only be getting $11.83 per hour.

Employees are members of the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union and have given the union a strike mandate to conduct job action unless the Co-op begins to close the gap with other major retailers.

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