“A Winnipeg employer tried to impose a two-tiered wage system on its unionized office staff last month and backed off only after employees agreed to a four-year wage freeze, following a bitter, five-week strike,” according to Winnipeg Sun columnist Tom Brodbeck on March 2, 2007. In addition, the employer in question boasted that he got his employees to “accept less” in the new deal and suggested potentially cutting new staff. As Brodbeck asks: “Sounds like a big, bad multinational corporation trying to intimidate workers and break a union, right? Nope. The president is Robert Ziegler and he runs one of the largest and most influential unions in Manitoba — United Food and Commercial Workers Local 832.”
As another UFCW leader in Canada told Brodbeck, “Most of the employers we’ve dealt with haven’t treated their employees anywhere near as contemptuously as Mr. Ziegler has treated his employees.”
Even though Ziegler’s Local 832 already has a two-tier system, he was attempting to decrease the starting wages even further. He was pushing for the altered two-tier wage scale even as UFCW leaders in Los Angeles prepare for a possible grocery-chain showdown to get rid of the exact same scheme.