After days of picketing, the Moose Jaw Co-op went back to the bargaining table with its union UFCW local 1400 recently. An offer was made but an agreement couldn't be reached.
The union members met Saturday to vote, but the majority rejected what was offered by Coop officials and will continue to strike until a resolution can be found.
On Tuesday morning the local Co-op released a statement.
“We want to let our customers know that we’re keeping our doors open to serve you, and we appreciate your patience as we work toward an agreement that balances the needs of all employees with the long-term viability of your Co-op,” said Gerry Onyskevitch, General Manager of Moose Jaw Co-op. “For more than 70 years, we’ve been a part of the Moose Jaw community. To make sure we can serve you for many more years, we need a deal that’s both fair for our employees and allows us to be competitive in the long-term.”
Onyskevitch also noted that he believes the current accusations of women not receiving equal pay compared to men is unfounded as he says women currently make more than men within the Moose Jaw Co-op, noting that he appreciates and respects the employees who choose to join the picket line and participate in collective bargaining.
He also added that they are not locking out any employees and welcome those who would like to cross back over the picket line and return to their work.
Tuesday afternoon Rod Gillies, Director of Negotiating for the union that represents Co-op employees released more information regarding the rejection and when the two sides will meet again.
"The result was the majority of the membership voted to reject the employers offer and October 19th has been confirmed for the next bargaining session and we've advised the employer that we would make ourselves available anytime if their calendars opened up and an earlier date could be found."
He said the union also believes that there is discrimination when it comes to pay between men and women, and it's because of the way things are set up.
"Presenting because of the way in which the second tier has been set up. 78% of employees on this lower wage grid are women. This isn't surprising when the employers has set up the second tier which seems to target 6 classifications out of 23 classifications and the 6 classifications are 82% female dominated," said Gillies. "The rhetorical question that I have is, 'is the Co-op actually trying to find the lowest common denominator for wages?' This question is being asked in light of these employees, unlike the competitors industries, are actually the owners of Co-op as well as the rest of the membership in the community."
Noting that the memberships is asking the employer to look into and fix the "wrongs" that they see.