A former union executive and Saskatoon Co-op worker is leading the charge to have the Co-op’s board of directors removed.
Craig Thebaud, head of the Facebook page “Saskatoon Co-op Members for the Fair Treatment of Employees,” is circulating a petition among members to force a membership meeting and vote on a motion to remove the nine members of the Saskatoon Co-op board.
“I don’t want to see the Co-op unfairly treating workers,” he told 650 CKOM on Monday.
“And I don’t view a second, lower tier of wages to be fair treatment of employees.”
Saskatoon Co-op workers, represented by UFCW 1400, are currently on strike because of stalled labour talks. The union has said they cannot accept a proposal from the board to have new employees paid less.
Thebaud, who frames himself as a “concerned Saskatoon Co-op member,” served as vice president of UFCW 1400 between 2008 and 2010 while he worked at a Co-op store.
He later worked as a union representative until January 2017.
However, he said it’s not his union experience fuelling his petition drive, but rather his reasons for shopping at Co-op in the first place.
“It’s a community-owned business, the profits are put back into the community … that’s what the Co-op’s all about,” he said.
“I view these types of proposals as being contrary to the inherent fairness the Co-op is there to create.”
The petition requires 300 signatures to force a notice of meeting for Saskatoon Co-op members, which would give between 10 and 50 days before a vote on the motion to remove and replace the board.
Thebaud said Monday he already had over 200 signatures from people who aren’t happy with the current situation.
“It’s pretty evident from their lack of business,” he said. “Otherwise the members would still be flooding in to shop there.”