VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The company, which owns Safeway, is going to open some of its closed places under a new name.
This spring, FreshCo will begin opening stores throughout the province, offering customers a discount on a grocery store.
All of this is part of the restructuring efforts of Empire Co., which owns Sobeys and its subsidiaries, FreshCo and Safeway. The company has struggled since it bought Safeway in 2013.
Five FreshCo stores will open in spring. Two will be in Richmond, two in Surrey and one in the mission.
All of them will fill the former Safeway stores, which closed many stores in the Lower Mainland in the summer of 2018.
Five additional Safeway seats will be closed in May for repairs, which can take up to five months. Everything will be re-opened as FreshCos later.
Empire says it is taking steps to ensure continuity in its pharmacy divisions and to implement collective agreements of workers' unions.
However, according to the union, workers who are currently working in closed Safeway stores may lose their jobs.
Kate Milberry from the local UFCW 1518 says it is anxiety and frustration.
“It is disappointing that these good, family-friendly, unionized Safeway employment will not be protected,” says Milberry.
However, she notes that employees have some options, although they cannot be hired at FreshCo. They may move to another Safeway branch or receive severance pay.
“Our members are also eligible for severance pay of up to $ 65,000, depending on their length of service,” she says. "We know that some of our members will take advantage of this option."
She says that even with these options, this is a sad day for Safeway workers.
“We believe that all workers deserve a living wage,” she says. "We believe that all workers deserve job security, and we know that our members are experts in the food industry."
These will be the first FreshCo locations in British Columbia.