The union that represents grocery store workers in Manitoba is calling on the province to declare Sept. 30 a statutory holiday.
On June 3, the federal government declared Sept. 30 as a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and added it to the list of general holidays. The Manitoba government announced earlier that it will be a school holiday this year but not a provincial statutory holiday, which has riled the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 832.
"Our provincial government has made little to no meaningful action for this day, since union collective agreements were already giving civil servants and teachers the day off," the union said in a release.
The new holiday is intended to honour residential school survivors and to ensure the tragic legacy of residential schools is not forgotten, said Local 832 which represents 19,000 Manitoba workers in food production, food distribution, warehousing, grocery retail, hospitality, security, personal care and assisted living.
"The Manitoba government has committed to consult with Manitoba’s Indigenous leadership, employers, labour and community organizations for their views and undertake regulatory consultations related to making Sept. 30 a statutory holiday for provincially regulated workplaces," wrote Olivia Billson, press secretary for Premier Kelvin Goertzen, in an email.
"In the meantime, the government is recognizing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a day of observance and believes that is an important first step."
Co-op stores across Manitoba, including all Red River Co-ops in Winnipeg and nearby areas, have granted their employees a statutory holiday on Sept. 30, though not required by contract, the union local said.
Loblaw and Sobeys are not recognizing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a statutory holiday for their roughly 6,000 Manitoba employees.
Sobeys did not respond to a request for comment.
Loblaw said it has made a commitment to Indigenous people but isn't recognizing Sept. 30 as a stat.
"As with any federally regulated holiday, provincially regulated businesses like ours are not expected to close," Loblaw said in an email.
After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.