MEC boosts employee perks in effort to turn around struggling retailer

As Mountain Equipment Co-op makes major changes to remain viable, the Vancouver-based retailer is investing in its frontline employees.

MEC converted more than 950 jobs classified as casual, non-permanent roles into full- and part-time positions. Those employees will now receive MEC’s benefits package, which includes extended health and dental coverage, a tuition assistance benefit, a registered retirement savings plan with company match, as well as maternity and parental leave top-ups.

The change comes after MEC received feedback from its staff, he said, and decided to improve job stability and employee engagement among other things.

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The company will work with its union partner to implement similar changes at its Vancouver and Victoria stores, he said. MEC’s workers at its Victoria store and one Vancouver location voted to join UFCW 1518 last year, according to the union’s website. The company reduced costs elsewhere to be able to make the job classification changes, said Phil Arrata, the company’s chief executive.

“The changes we are implementing are measured and progressive and will have both an immediate and lasting positive impact on our operations,” he added.