“Labour’s War”- Remembering the Safeway Strike of 1978
1978 was a watershed year for UFCW local 832 as there were almost continuous strikes from May 15th 1978 to January 1979, with the exception of one week at the end of November 1978. 1978 saw massive labor disputes and strikes across Canada due to the fight over price and wage control. Negotiations at the Anti-Inflation board had stalled which ended in the termination of the board. In particular workers and unions were told to exercise self-restraint on wages and benefits while inflation increased the cost of living. Thousands of workers went on strike. UFCW local 832 was front and center during these disputes in Winnipeg. The Safeway strike started in June of 1978 with nearly 2,000 Safeway employees went out on strike. Adding to these numbers were the workers at Lucerne, Empress Foods, liquor stores and the construction industry going out on strike in 1978. All of these factors lead to 1978 being the year of the strike. What follows are some of the stories and memories of former local 832 members and staff about the Safeway strike of 1978.