Sunday, April 18, 2010

Podunk Below the Masthead (Friday, April 9, 2010)

The Extra Foods saga takes another step, the Community garden finally heads to a groundbreaking and Children's Theatre at the Lester Centre, some of the items of interest for Friday's news cycle.

Daily News, Front page, headline story
WORKERS STAY THE COURSE AT EXTRA FOODS - STORE IS STILL OPEN-- The labour situation at the Prince Rupert Extra Foods gets an examination in the Daily News, as the labour climate within the store has the store under the threat of closure. At stake, the shift of the branding of the store to a No Frills operation and a change in the current staffing and compensation arrangement or complete closure and the exit of the Weston group of stores from the Prince Rupert market.

Prince Rupert's community garden, an oft delayed project will finally begin it's groundbreaking over the weekend.

A preview of the Missoula Children's Theatre group's presentation of Rumpelstiltskin is featured, the show which takes place on Saturday features the talents of fifty six local school children. The Rupert stop is the first of 17 on the group's Canadian tour.

The Sports section features a look at Frank  Slubowski's recent hockey season, the Prince Rupert resident just completed the year as goaltender with the Alberni Valley  Bulldogs of the British Columbia Junior Hockey League. Slubowski's season ended with the elimination of his Bulldogs from the BCJHL Playoffs, as his team lost their series with the Powell River Kings 4 games to 3.

(Daily News Archives for April 8, 2010 )

Workers stay the course at Extra Foods - store is still open
‘Ground breaking’ news on garden
All in a week at theatre

The Northern View
No new items posted on Northern View site for Friday.

CFTK TV 7 News
"Make Sure You're Immunized Against Measles" Warns Northern Health-- An outbreak of Measles in southern portions of the province leads Northern Health to issue a warning for Northern residents (see article here)

CBC News British Columbia, Daybreak North
No new items were posted to the Daybreak North site for Friday.

Daybreak North is only posting selected items on their website now. The most recently posted items can be found on the archive page for Daybreak North click here

Daily News, front page, headline story
Workers stay the course at Extra Foods - store is still open 
By Monica Lamb-Yorski 
The Daily News 
Friday, April 9, 2010

After a meeting over coffee with union officials first thing this morning, workers at Extra Foods in Prince Rupert decided to work as usual.

Originally they had served strike notice for April 9, but instead met for an hour at the Prince Rupert Coast Hotel. 

“What we started this morning is a study session. We’ve initiated our strike mandate and at any given time we can walk out or as well, the employer at any given time can actually lock up,” Frank Pozzobon, UFCW 1518 representative told the Daily News.

On Thursday afternoon a spokesperson for Loblaw Companies Limited told the Daily News the store will permanently close in June.

 “Over the past few months, Loblaw Companies Limited has worked diligently and in good faith with UFCW Local 1518 to try and convert this Extra Foods location in Prince Rupert into a new store format called No Frills, “ wrote Craig Ware, Director of Corporate Affairs, Western Canada Companies Ltd. in an email.

 “As it exists now, this Extra Foods location is no longer viable to operate. Unfortunately continued efforts to reach an agreement with the union have been unsuccessful. As a result, this Extra Foods location will close permanently on June 2, 2010,” Ware stated.

On Thursday morning, Andy Neufeld, Director of Communications for UFCW Local 1518 had confirmed the union was planning to strike over job security and wages.

 “Loblaw is trying to ratchet down the wages and convert the store to a no frill store,” Neufeld explained, adding that presently they are employees earning between $18 and $20 an hour that are being asked to accept $11.90 an hour and no benefits.

According to Neufeld the company was using a possible closure of the store as a threat.

 “Our members are not prepared to go from a living wage to what the company is offering. Even the Labour Relations Board has ruled that the company has not bargained in good faith.”

Members of the union have been on strike at the Extra Foods in Maple Ridge since December 2008 and Neufeld said that strike is part of a bigger fight to stop the roll back of wages across the province.

Over the last few months the store in Prince Rupert has carried less stock than usual and Neufeld said that, as a result, the company has created an illegal lock-out condition.

“With little stock in the store, the workers haven’t had the hours they should have. The company has created an illegal lock-out and been ordered by the Labour Relations Board to pay the workers what they would have made.” 

Pozzobon said the store will remain open until the employer announces the store 

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