Co-op files unfair labour complaints
Saskatoon Co-op has filed two unfair labour practice complaints against the union representing around 900 employees currently on strike, one of which also names a former union representative who started a petition to unseat its board of directors.
The first complaint alleges that both United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1400 and Craig Thebaud used the petition as “an improper bad faith tactic” to undermine bargaining and “interfere” with the co-operative’s governance structure.
“It is deeply concerning that the Saskatoon Co-op would choose to waste members’ money on this undemocratic and frivolous court proceeding,” Thebaud, who speaks for Saskatoon Co-op Members For The Fair Treatment Of Employees, wrote in an email.
Saskatoon Co-op CEO Grant Wicks disagreed, saying Thebaud’s clear connection to the union — which has endorsed the petition — makes the document a “clear example of bargaining in bad faith” and an unfair labour practice.
“It’s clearly an attempt to circumvent the collective bargaining process, attack my board of directors and replace them with union puppets,” Wicks said.
UFCW spokesman Rod Gillies said the union — which shared the petition on social media and endorsed it publicly — did not instigate the campaign, and has “no connection” with Thebaud, who is exercising his right as a co-op member.
The second complaint accuses the union of engaging in “unlawful strike activity ” because UFCW Local 1400 is party to a separate application before the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board involving a co-op store with different union representation.
Gillies said his reaction to that complaint was one of “disappointment but not surprise.”
Management and the union are not set to resume negotiations until Nov. 29.