Employees at Nelson’s Save-On-Foods and other grocery stores are working in stressful conditions during the pandemic. Photo: Tyler Harper

Employees at Nelson’s Save-On-Foods and other grocery stores are working in stressful conditions during the pandemic. Photo: Tyler Harper

Union calling for Save-On-Foods to extend COVID-19 worker incentive program

Save-On-Foods is ending its two-dollar-an-hour pay increase on May 30

A Union representing Save-On-Foods workers is saying it’s disappointed the company has decided to end an incentive program which saw workers hourly wages increase by two dollars during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company’s “Pandemic Premium” program was announced in late March, with UFCW 1518 — the union which represents Save-On-Foods workers in the Province — initially praising the response.

However upon learning Save-On-Foods had decided to end the program late last week the organization issued a statement expressing their concern about the message cancelling the program sends to their workers as the Province braces for a potential second wave of COVID-19.

As the Province enters the second phase of its four-phase reopening plan many workers the organization said many workers still face uncertainly about their safety and the safety of their loved ones while working on the front lines of the pandemic. Premier John Horgan recently noted that “we are far from out of the woods” when it comes to COVID-19, while Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has warned the public a second wave of the virus is likely.

“BC is only beginning to relax its pandemic response, and the crisis is far from over, especially for front line workers,” says UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak. “There remains a lot of uncertainty around what could happen in the coming months. Meanwhile, Save-On-Foods members continue to assume risks by showing up to work every day. Ongoing recognition for that commitment is the least these workers deserve. It is just too soon to end the Pandemic Premium.”

READ MORE: Save-On-Foods temporarily bans reusable shopping bags to reduce spread of COVID-19

Members of provincial parliament have echoed the statements in recent days. On May 25, Finance Minister Carole James called for retail businesses who have seen a boom in sales from COVID-19 to pass that good fortune onto their employees.

“I would encourage all businesses who’ve seen an increase in revenue to ensure that their workers are being properly compensated at this difficult time,” said James.

Black Press Media has reached out to Save-On-Foods for comment on how and why the decision to end the program was made.

Upon learning of the cancellation of the program UFCW 1518 said they immediately asked Save-On-Foods to reinstate it. On May 26 they announced a letter-writing campaign asking the public to send in letters of support to Save-On-Foods president Darrell Jones asking him to extend the incentives.

Currently the minimum wage in the province is $13.85 per hour, set to increase to $14.60 on June 1. Under this program a minimum wage worker would be making $15.85 an hour.

UFCW Local 1518 added it’s imperative to support essential workers on the front lines during these uncertain times and that they are taking risks just by going into work every day.

“The work that Save-On-Foods members are doing today is no different than the work they will be doing a week from now,” said Novak. “These workers are protecting everyone’s health and safety by maintaining enhanced sanitation procedures, observing physical distancing, and keeping shelves stocked. It is only fair to extend the Pandemic Premium as we continue to fight COVID-19.”

UFCW Local 1518 represents more than 24,000 union members working in the community health, hospitality, retail, grocery, industrial, and professional sectors across British Columbia.



trevor.hewitt@interior-news.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Just Posted

Tania McCabe is the city’s director of finance. (File photo)
What’s going on with my property taxes? Q&A with Tania McCabe

Deadline to pay property taxes in Revelstoke is July 2 this year

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

Revelstoke Grizzlies playing in 2019. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Do you like Revelstoke hockey? Then host a Grizzlies hockey player!

The team is getting ready for next year’s hockey season

Men in a work camp at Mile 46 on the Big Bend Highway. 
(Revelstoke Museum and Archives Photo 2259)
Glimpses of Revelstoke’s past for June 17

Bumper strawberry crop, Mt. Logan climbers and unemployment relief

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Starting in 2022, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is extending dog control to the entire Electoral Area D. (Stock photo)
Dog control bylaw passes in Shuswap area despite ‘threatening’ emails

CSRD board extending full dog control in Electoral Area D starting next year

Most Read