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    News and Updates

April 22, 2019

Higher Pay and Strong Health Care in New Local 1776KS Contract

Members of UFCW Local 1776KS who work at Knouse Foods in Peach Glen, Pa., recently ratified a new contract that raises wages and protects health care benefits.

The three-year agreement includes wage increases, improved nondiscrimination language, additional paid sick time, and locks in current health care rates. Knouse Foods members make a variety of products, including Lucky Leaf pie fillings and Musselman’s Applesauce.

April 22, 2019

Big Win for Local 227 Members at Kroger in Kentucky and Indiana

Pay increases for members of UFCW Local 227 who work at Kroger in Kentucky and southern Indiana have been approved thanks to a new contract that was ratified on April 18.

The four-year agreement, which covers more than 13,500 members, boosts pay for cashiers, new workers, and veteran stock clerks, and creates new leadership positions in selected parts of the stores. Health care benefits will also be available for part-time workers and new hires. The new contract also protects the workers’ pensions. Full-time hourly Kroger workers can become vested after five years and part-time members also get a pension if they average 72.5 hours a month.

“It’s the best contract I’ve seen in years,” said Kroger employee and UFCW Local 227 member Elisa Messex in an interview with The Louisville Courier Journal.

 

April 16, 2019

Standing Together With Stop & Shop Workers

As negotiations with Stop & Shop continue in New England, the International is urging all locals and their allies to support the 31,000 members of our union family who work at Stop & Shop as they stand together for a contract that recognizes their hard work and dedication.

On April 11, these brave women and men, who are members of UFCW Locals 328, 371, 919, 1445, and 1459, walked off their jobs at over 240 Stop & Shop stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island to protest the company’s proposed drastic and unreasonable cuts to health care and retirement benefits and take-home pay. They are also protesting Stop & Shop’s unfair labor practices, including refusing to provide our union with financial information to verify the company’s claim that cutting benefits was necessary to stay “competitive.” In addition to hurting our members’ ability to support their families, the proposed cuts by Stop & Shop, whose parent company earned $2 billion in profits in 2018, would also have a negative and severe impact on customer service by impacting the very cashiers, stockers, bakers, deli clerks, and butchers that Stop & Shop customers rely on.

These hard-working members of our union family have been trying to negotiate a fair contract with Stop & Shop since Jan. 14 and deserve better. Since the work stoppage, staff members from the International have coordinated with locals, allies, community groups, politicians, Stop & Shop customers and members of the press so that our members know they are supported during this difficult time. One of the materials the International has created is an online solidarity petition, so that we can show Stop & Shop that support for these workers is building. You can sign this petition here. You can also read a joint statement from the five UFCW locals regarding the fight for a fair contract here. All locals will be getting an appeal for hardship funds in the coming days.

By standing together, we can show Stop & Shop that it’s time to reach a fair contract agreement that reflects the true value of our members.

 

April 16, 2019

THRIVE Network Workers Join Local 888 for a Better Life

On April 5, 470 direct support professionals at THRIVE Network in Brooklyn and Queens, N.Y., joined UFCW Local 888 for better wages, benefits and a voice in the workplace. THRIVE Network is a social services agency dedicated to meeting the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families who are in need of crucial services to enhance their lives.

THRIVE Network workers wanted to join UFCW Local 888 because they were concerned about staffing issues, not being paid their worth and justice center investigations with no representation. In addition, the workers had been denied the cost of living adjustment increase designated by the state of New York for all direct support professionals.

THRIVE Network workers were enthusiastic about joining our union family.

“You do not know how bad we needed this union! 8-8-8! This is a real union!” said Crystal Stephenson.

“Yay, we did it! We look forward to contract negotiations!” said Melissa Kirk.

“Congratulations to all THRIVE Network workers for coming together and voting in favor of their best interest,” said UFCW Local 888 Director of Organizing Marshall Paris. “Local 888 welcomes you to our Healthcare Division family with open arms. We look forward to unifying everyone to negotiate a union agreement that addresses all your issues.”

April 16, 2019

A Stronger Contract for Local 1776KS Nursing Home Workers

Over 300 members of UFCW Local 1776KS who work at Berks Heim Nursing and Rehabilitation in Leesport, Pa., ratified a new contract on April 2 that preserves long-term, quality resident care and ensures job security.

The new five-year agreement, which was approved by an overwhelming margin, includes a 3 percent yearly wage increase over the previous contract’s 2.5 percent year-over-year wage increase. The agreement also protects employees’ health care, and locks in language that secures Berks Heim employees’ jobs for years to come, with significant penalties if the county were to violate the agreement.

In addition to the approved contract, Local 1776KS, along with SEIU Healthcare PA, which represents the nurses in the facility, has been collaborating with county officials, as well as Senator Judy Schwank and Governor Tom Wolf, to work on solutions to secure additional funding for Berks Heim and other high-performing, quality long-term care facilities through state Medicaid reimbursement programs and other funding mechanisms. With this joint effort, Berks Heim has seen increased state funding through Medicaid reimbursement rates and other funds over the past two state budgets.

“I am proud of the hard work and commitment of our bargaining committee members at Berks Heim. Through months of negotiations, our committee remained steadfast and ensured all key issues were addressed,” said UFCW Local 1776KS President Wendell Young IV. “Working on this contract has helped us develop a better relationship with Berks Heim county officials and I would like to thank the County Commissioners, particularly Commissioner Kevin Barnhardt and Commissioner Christian Leinbach, for their engagement with our membership, as well as SEIU Healthcare – their membership, the bargaining committee and SEIU Healthcare PA President Matt Yarnell. I am grateful for both Senator Judy Schwank and Governor Tom Wolf, who showed crucial, steadfast support of our members who work at Berks Heim. This contract allows our members to continue to provide exemplary care to Berks County residents and keeps the nursing home in County hands where it belongs.”

April 8, 2019

UFCW Urges Congress to Close the Gender Pay Gap

The UFCW has a proud history of negotiating strong contracts that protect workers from discrimination and help them obtain equal pay for equal work. Over the past few weeks, the International’s Legislative and Political Action Department has taken action on the federal level by urging members of Congress to narrow the gender pay gap by supporting and passing the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 7) so that all workers have an opportunity to advance in the workplace. On April 2, their hard work paid off when the House of Representatives passed this legislation, which was sponsored by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.). This legislation will provide women with the necessary tools to challenge pay gaps and gender-based discrimination.

For women who don’t belong to a union, gender pay discrimination is a persistent problem in the workplace. Women are typically paid only 80 cents for every dollar paid to men, and the pay gaps are even larger for women of color. The Paycheck Fairness Act updates and strengthens the Equal Pay Act of 1963 by closing loopholes that have allowed employers to pay women less than men for the same work. It prohibits employers from relying on salary history in determining future pay and requires them to prove that pay disparities are based on factors other than gender. It also protects employees against retaliation for discussing salaries with colleagues and removes obstacles to participation in class action lawsuits regarding pay discrimination.

The passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act in the House of Representatives is an important step toward ending gender-based discrimination. While belonging to a union is still the surest way to guarantee equal pay on the job, with unionized women making approximately 27 percent more than their nonunion counterparts, the Paycheck Fairness Act would provide new and important tools to close the wage gap. The UFCW applauds the men and women of the House prioritizing the passage of this important bill and urges the Senate to pass this legislation immediately and ensure that women don’t go another day without making equal pay for equal work.

To learn more about what the Legislative and Political Action Department is doing to level the playing field for women and all workers, contact your region’s legislative point person in the department. If you are unsure about who your assigned representative is, reach out to Shannon Harris at sharris@ufcw.org.

April 8, 2019

UFCW Welcomes Vireo Health Workers in Maryland to Union Family

On March 22, workers at Vireo Health’s Maryland Medical Solutions in Hurlock, Md., voted to join UFCW Local 27 to ensure they receive the good pay and benefits they have earned. Vireo Health’s Maryland Medical Solutions is a physician-led, patient-focused medical cannabis grower and processor.

Workers at the facility were excited to join our union family.

“I’m excited to be able to negotiate over wage increases that would allow for things like a savings account,” said Ian Stenzer.

“It’s exciting to know that we will have job security and will have the power to bargain for improvements to our jobs,” added Blaine Hill.

“Congratulations to the hard-working men and women of Vireo’s Maryland Medical Solutions,” said UFCW Local 27 President Jason Chorpenning. “They have empowered themselves with the tools for a better future. We look forward to negotiating the best contract that we can for the workers and their families.”

April 8, 2019

Victory for Minnesota Tannery Workers With Better Wages and Benefits

Members of UFCW Local 1189 who work at S.B. Foot Tanning Company in Red Wing, Minn., ratified a new agreement on March 28 that improves wages and protects benefits. S.B. Foot Tanning Company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Red Wing Shoes Company, Inc. and is the principal supplier of leather to their shoe manufacturing plants.

The three-year contract includes wage increases for all members and continues the fully employer-paid health care at current benefit levels. The contract also made great strides to strengthen equal pay standards and end the two-tier wage system.

Congratulations to the Union Bargaining Committee for their hard work in protecting benefits, improving wages, and trying to reform the payroll system.

April 8, 2019

Local 1445 Helps Launch Boston Program to Support Local Farmers, Workers

UFCW Local 1445 played an instrumental role in supporting the Boston City Council’s passage of the Good Food Purchasing Program on March 20. The program will transform the way public institutions, including Boston Public Schools, purchase food and put millions of dollars back into Boston’s regional economy. This is the second time this year that our union has helped to pass a food justice policy. UFCW Local 75 helped to pass the Good Food Purchasing Program in Cincinnati on Jan. 28.

Boston’s Good Food Purchasing Program encourages food suppliers to provide healthier food that is ethically produced, locally sourced and environmentally friendly. The policy also protects workers’ rights to organize a union free from intimidation and helps ensure that farmers receive a fair price for the fresh food they produce.

UFCW Local 1445 was part of a community-based coalition that included other unions, as well as faith, policy and student groups, and environmental and animal welfare organizations, which advocated for the program.

“We commend the City of Boston for passing the Good Food Purchasing Policy, which includes fair labor standards,” said UFCW Local 1445 Political Director Jim Carvalho. “The city took a strong step towards providing strong incentives for food companies receiving taxpayer dollars to pay their workers a living wage, provide strong protections against workplace hazards, and otherwise move towards adopting more sustainable food production practices in a manner that bolsters our local economy.”

April 1, 2019

Bipartisan Bill in Congress Protects Workers and Families From Discrimination

On March 19, the UFCW OUTreach board voted to formally endorse the Equality Act, a new bipartisan bill that would strengthen protections for workers and families across the country and help to end discrimination that has impacted so many communities.

Every American deserves the freedom and opportunity to earn a living and build a better life for themselves and their family without facing discrimination. In a majority of states, LGBTQ Americans are still not fully protected from discrimination. While many states have strengthened protections for workers and families who are at risk, the current patchwork of laws leave many vulnerable to discrimination.

This bill would ensure that all Americans enjoy the full protection of the law and are not discriminated against when it comes to employment, housing and other public accommodations. In addition to bipartisan support in Congress, the bill has also been endorsed by a broad coalition of more than 160 leading American companies across the country.

“While our UFCW union contracts protect our LGBTQ members on the job, the lack of non-discrimination laws across our country leave them exposed to discrimination once they walk out of their workplace,” said UFCW OUTreach Chair Michele Kessler, who is the Northcentral Division Director and Secretary-Treasurer at UFCW Local 1776KS. “It’s time to get this law finally passed and we urge our UFCW family to help by contacting their members of Congress to support the Equality Act.”

You can get more information about UFCW OUTreach here.