Unionized workers at Safeway stores in Manitoba have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a strike. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Strike mandate given overwhelming support by Manitoba Safeway workers

WINNIPEG — Unionized workers at Safeway stores in Manitoba have voted 98 per cent in favour of a strike to back contract demands.

The 2,200 employees — who work at stores in Winnipeg, Brandon, Thompson, Neepawa and Dauphin — are members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 832.

The union says in a release that the workers will be in a legal strike position on March 18, the day after their current contract expires.

A strike deadline has not been set.

The company and union were to meet again today.

There has been no immediate comment from management on the strike mandate, but the UFCW says it’s ready to work around the clock to reach a contract and avoid a labour disruption.

Jeff Traeger, Local 832 president, said the company has only proposed conditions that “gut” the current collective agreement.

“This strike mandate result sends a strong message to Sobeys that the membership won’t be bullied,” he said in the release.

“Sobeys purchased a good company and mismanaged it into the ground, ignoring their long-time employee’s experience and advice. Now they want those employees to pay for their mistakes.”

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