Co-op files un­fair labour com­plaints

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - NEWS - ALEX MacPHER­SON

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.

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