«At the end of the day, we reached an agreement that allows our co-ops to remain competitive while creating good jobs in our community,» said Grant Wicks, CEO of Saskatoon Co-op. «We look forward to serving our communities, with our employees, in the transition to the world of work.» With the help of a mediator, Saskatoon Co-op and UFCW negotiated a new seven-year contract that includes a two-tier salary scale to ensure Co-op`s long-term viability. It also includes wage increases of two per cent per year for the duration of the contract and a mechanism to reduce the gap between pay scales during the years when Saskatoon Co-op has achieved financial success. Saskatoon Co-op, which operates food and spirits stores, DIY stores, gas stations and more in and around Saskatoon, is a consumer co-operative (also known as a retail co-operative) — meaning it is owned by its customers. Unlike a private company that charges its customers as much as possible to make the biggest profit for its owners, a consumer cooperative ideally uses its profits to make quality goods available to its members at low prices. Profits remain in the Community and dividends are paid to members. Along with nearly 200 other consumer co-operatives in Western Canada, Saskatoon Co-op is a member of the Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL), through which cooperatives jointly purchase wholesale goods such as food, oil and construction, agriculture and livestock needs. Because members are owners, the success of a consumer co-operative depends on the policy of those members. When membership and leadership begin to view a co-operative as a source of profit and not as an instrument of justice, it is the cooperative system — and its workers — that suffers the most.
The seven-year contract provides for a two-tier salary scale and a two per cent pay increase per year for the duration of the contract. (April 17, 2019) — Saskatoon Co-op employees yesterday voted on a recommended agreement with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1400. Union members voted 54% in favour of accepting the terms of the agreement, ending more than five months of strike action. Lori Johb, president of the Saskatchewan Labor Federation, says the provincial government has played a role in a wave of businesses, including the Moose Jaw and Saskatoon co-operative, that are imposing two-tier wage structures on workers — which Johb calls «one of the worst forms of precarious work» — on workers. It began when, in 2017, the Sask party attempted to force public service employees to cut salaries by 3.5 per cent.