What Your Union Does

UCCE is the second largest, all-inclusive, independent bargaining unit in Alberta and the largest independent unit of retail grocery co-operative Support staff in Canada. There is no other bargaining unit/union like us!

Our membership entails every single possible occupational group contained within one bargaining unit, except for those groups listed in Article 3 of the Collective Agreement. We represent members employed in occupations ranging from trades to janitorial to clerical to clerks to cashier to meat cutter and technical work.

Collectively, you own this union. It’s a union with a long tradition, services second to none and an important role to play in the future of the Calgary Cooperative Association Ltd., retail grocery industry in Alberta and in the future of job security and workplace interests of our membership.


UCCE has continued to operate under restrictive labour legislation since the Alberta Labour Relations Code (ALRC) was introduced in 1988. From the beginning, UCCE has been Background

UCCE has continued to operate under restrictive labour legislation since the Alberta Labour Relations Code (ALRC) was introduced in 1988. From the beginning, UCCE has been forced to be aggressive in defending our collective agreement rights.

The struggle continues today, as our union continues to meet new challenges, at the same time as it provides members with day-to-day servicing, grievance representation, workers’ compensation, disability and pension information, training, counseling and advocacy.

Your staff is skilled and experienced in all matters regarding your employment, your collective agreement and UCCE services.


The mission of UCCE is to allow its members to communicate as a single voice with the Cooperative on all matters relating to terms and conditions of employment. Where an effective bargaining relationship is established with the employer, everyone benefits. Employees can negotiate with the strength of numbers behind them and the employer can also benefit from a stable labour relations environment.

First, UCCE ensures that fair and reasonable terms and conditions of employment remain in force for you as an entitlement. Provisions such as salary, schedules, and hours of work, seniority, paid vacation and illness benefits are all the result of decades of UCCE negotiating history. These provisions remain part of our every day working conditions because UCCE monitors and enforces the compliance of them.

Your Union not only protects the status quo, however. It is dedicated to improving your working conditions through ongoing negotiations.

Your Collective Agreement

Our collective agreement has set many new standards in the retail grocery industry. We can be proud of the improvements and the ‘leading edge’ provisions that set our collective agreement apart from our competitors like Safeway, Superstore or Costco.

Your collective agreement is a legally binding contract between UCCE and the Calgary Cooperative Association Ltd., covering such areas as wages, hours of work, overtime, job security, working conditions and benefits. While similar language can be found in most collective agreements, specific rights and wording are negotiated to address the unique needs of our bargaining unit.

Collective agreements are negotiated for a specific period of time, most often one or two years. As a member, you have the opportunity to participate in the democratic process of establishing the union agenda for each new round of bargaining.

Negotiations usually carry on for months before a tentative agreement is reached. Your agreement must be ratified through secret ballot by a majority of voting members before it is signed and put into effect.

UCCE staff, the Executive and authorized representatives (stewards) are your advocates at the work site, in the Centers, in the Departments and at Head Office, to ensure that the terms in your agreement are applied equitably to all members.

They will assist members who feel their rights have been violated.

If you have any questions about your collective agreement, your UCCE staff, executive and representatives are your first line of information.


Your union stands ready to represent you in every way. By being visible at the work site through staff, executive and stewards /reps and by enforcing negotiated protections, it provides a valuable service. It is there when and where you need it.

First, your union is no substitute for a healthy, working relationship between you and your employer. However, if you believe you are being treated unfairly in the workplace or that the collective agreement has been violated, contact your UCCE staff persons and/or steward, who will know how to handle your concern.

If a problem brought to the attention of management is not resolved, your collective agreement provides specific steps for filing a grievance with the Cooperative. Your staff persons/ stewards are your advocates and are experienced and trained to handle your concern in compliance with the grievance procedure. Services

Contract Negotiations

First and foremost, your union has been negotiating for many years with the Cooperative and will continue to work for the best possible working conditions for our members. As a member, you decide the goals for negotiations. Wage increase, hours of work, overtime compensation, vacations, statutory holidays, sick leave, pensions, benefits, layoff/recall- these protections are only gained and enhanced through contract negotiations between your union and the Cooperative.

Although we completed a major round of negotiations in 2001, with the ratification of your new collective agreement in July 2001, the preparation must begin now for the future.


The future of our industry, our survival and our jobs will involve issues like:

– protecting bargaining unit work

– protecting our job classifications

Labour Relations

All members of UCCE have access to any one of 5 (five) full-time union Executive members, UCCE Business agent, a designated representative/steward(s) in each Centre. In this way, a concern affecting members in a number of different and distinct departments can have their issues addressed by the same person.

All labour relations staff are trained and experienced in problem solving; contract interpretation; health and safety; workers’ compensation; benefits; job title administration (job classification); posting and transfer process; security interview investigations; sexual harassment investigation and many other employment issues, as they arise.

We can provide assistance and advice about issues like long term disability, pensions and other items referenced in the collective agreement.

The scope of the involvement of UCCE staff, elected executive and representatives and other volunteers in the administration of your collective agreement is extensive:

– Joint Labour Management (LM) Committees.

– Master UCCE and Joint Health and Safety LM Committees;

– Occupational Health and Safety Committee;

UCCE staff and members represent your collective interests by being involved in external matters like the:

– Calgary Cooperative Association Ltd. Board of Directors;

Workers’ Compensation Board


Keeping members informed and up-to-date on Cooperative and employment-related matters is a top priority for UCCE. Our Newsletter Committee compiles a Bi-monthly newsletter called UCCE News and Views”, and topical information items in the ‘Did You Know’, which are distributed at the work site by members like you. We also have a website which is updated regularly. The address is UCCE.info techniques to gain the support of the Cooperative community and the general public are important ways of making our case to the public and making inroads in the negotiations process.

The future of technology in our everyday lives is essential and important to the survival of our union.

External Matters

UCCE can improve and develop the many accomplishments of our union by advancing in the area of relationships with outside organizations. We can achieve results by:

– working closely and lobbying with the Co-operative Board of Directors;

– providing a mechanism for Alberta retail and wholesale grocery industry employee unions and staff associations to share information on activities or trends which can affect the employment of their members;

– provide education and training for members;

– maintaining a unique relationship with the ‘Co-op Kobe Workers Union’ from Japan for international exchange ideas.


UCCE is your union in more ways than one. It works for you and it works because of you; from the top and all through the organization, your union is directed by members like you.

You can become involved in UCCE in a number of ways, depending on your work site and level of interest.

Take an active role in UCCE activities; union meetings allow you to have a direct voice in the direction that UCCE takes.

Take a leading role in your area. In order for UCCE to function effectively, our union needs leaders in every work site, representing all occupational groups and serving as representatives.

The staff, the executive and the membership utilizes the resources available to the organization, pursues the collective interests based upon the mandate and achieves our agenda and goals in accordance with the authority provided to the organization.

UCCE is only as strong as the collective will of our members!!