News and Updates
September 25, 2017
Safeway pharmacy technicians in both states were concerned about wage increases, and wanted better health care benefits. The workers in Wyoming were also concerned about being accredited for prior experience. Workers in both states wanted to join the rest of their coworkers for a voice on the job, and with this election, both stores are now wall to wall union.
September 25, 2017
On Sept. 14, about 100 members of RWDSU/UFCW Local 1102 who work in the women’s shoe department at Saks Fifth Avenue’s iconic flagship store in New York City ratified a new contract that will reverberate nationwide. The hard-fought contract repelled the company’s outrageous demands to eliminate employee commissions when a customer paid with an “earned gift card” or “Saks First” loyalty points – a change which would have slashed employee pay by up to 10 percent. This hard-fought victory is not only a win for members of RWDSU/UFCW Local 1102, but is also a triumph for hard-working Saks employees in stores across the country, as the company has indicated that because of RWDSU/UFCW Local 1102’s arguments against these arbitrary programs, it will halt a previously planned nationwide implementation.
Under the new agreement, the company will retain the present commission structure by preserving the union employees’ 10 percent commission on sales of women’s shoes. Further, the union negotiated the right to have employees’ sales goals adjusted to account for their use of vacation and other paid time off. Finally, RWDSU/UFCW Local 1102 negotiated a contract ratification bonus for Saks’ unionized workforce.
“I am taken aback by the company’s response to our concerns about changes to the commission system and their interest in not just retaining the system in New York but for my friends and colleagues at other stores,” said Gil McGarvey, a Saks sales representative and Local 1102 shop steward and executive board member. “In all my years at Saks, never have I felt more heard by the company – and the union is the reason we were heard.”
“I am exceptionally proud of, and humbled by, the hard work and selfless dedication of our nine member negotiations team,” said Alvin Ramnarain, president of RWDSU/UFCW Local 1102. “This contract is a huge win for both our members, and also for workers across the country who would have received drastic pay cuts. Saks, after speaking with its corporate partners, agreed to back off its demands, and actually informed us that because of the arguments presented at the bargaining table, they would quash this program nationwide. We are grateful that Saks understood that when they invest in their people and let them sell, their business will thrive. This is clearly a case where the union difference will have a positive effect on Saks’ profits, and that’s a win for our members and the company. What is clear today is that when workers stand together, we can win.”
September 19, 2017
On Sept. 18, Making Change at Walmart (MCAW) hosted a day of campus outreach at the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Ind., as part of the “2017 Trump and Walmart Make America Worse” tour. The Notre Dame event was organized in partnership with Students for Worker Justice, Notre Dame College Democrats, and Human Rights Notre Dame, and featured educational activities and ways students can stand up for a better America against the Trump and Walmart agenda.
MCAW’s “2017 Trump and Walmart Make America Worse” tour includes stops at over 25 college campuses throughout September to expose the shared agenda of Trump and Walmart, which promotes the privatization of our public education, profits from a low-wage, debt economy, and divides our country.
September 19, 2017
After weeks of negotiations, UFCW Local 400 members who work at Shoppers Food & Pharmacy stores in Maryland and Virginia unanimously ratified a new contract on September 11. The three-year covers 2,500 workers and takes effect retroactively as of July 9, 2017, and expires on July 11, 2020.
The new contract increases starting pay, greatly improves wage scales, and provides for the same health insurance coverage and pension benefits without any additional employee contributions. The contract keeps successorship language, so members will remain employed and covered by their contract if Shoppers or any individual stores are sold. The contract also keeps seniority policies consistent with past practice, contrary to the company’s original demands.
“These talks were very difficult, but our members hung together and made this strong agreement possible,” said UFCW Local 400 President Mark P. Federici. “We came into this with specific goals. One was to change the hours progression to a monthly progression on the wage scale to get people raises faster than before. Another was to avoid any increase in members’ out-of-pocket health care costs, in contrast to what’s happening with most other employers. A third was to ensure proper pension funding. A fourth was to have a strong successorship agreement so our members will keep their jobs and contract if Shoppers is sold. And a fifth was to maintain seniority. Thanks to member activism, we achieved each of these goals.”
“The bargaining started on June 13th and ended August 24th, and there were a lot of blood and guts out there,” said Mike Rickord, a shop steward who works at Shoppers #2674 in Dumfries, Va., and served on the Contract Action Team. “We heard time and again the wishes of the members to keep everything we have, and we kept each and every one of our benefits, while increasing others. I can testify in front of God and country that this is an excellent contract for the next three years.”
“This was a long and drawn out fight with [Shoppers parent company] Supervalu,” said Diane Nokes, a Contract Action Committee member and shop steward at Shoppers #2625 in Manassas, Va. “I cannot tell you how many times they walked away from the table. We did our very best, worked long and hard, and got a good contract.”
“This is an excellent agreement,” said Debra Coleman, a Contract Action Team member and shop steward at Shoppers #2632 in Forestville, Md. “We worked hard from sunup to sundown, went to sleep and got up early to do it again. We are the union. Member participation was the key to everything.”
September 18, 2017
On August 25, 9,500 members of UFCW Local 1000 who work at Kroger stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth area ratified a new contract by an overwhelming margin. The UFCW Local 1000 members work as grocery clerks and in the front end of the store, as well as in the bakery, produce, and deli departments.
The three-year agreement includes substantial wage increases over 36 months. The contract protects health insurance benefits for employees, spouses, and children, as well as fuel clerks, and retirement benefits. The contract also improves language pertaining to grievances, progressive discipline, overnight premium, educational leave, personal holidays, transfers, minimum hours, shop stewards, discrimination, and new hire orientations.
September 18, 2017
On September 8, customer service workers at Albertsons store #126 in Emmett, Idaho, voted to join UFCW Local 368-A. The election was won by the workers by a 2 to 1 margin, and they join their coworkers in the rest of the store who already enjoy the benefits of a union contract with UFCW Local 368-A.
The workers decided to join UFCW Local 368-A so that they could have the ability to negotiate better wages and benefits, especially when it comes to health care. Now, these workers have a voice in the workplace, and will be able to sit down with company management and negotiate the better wages and benefits they have earned and deserve.
September 11, 2017
We need your help raising funds for UFCW Local 455’s Membership Assistance Fund to provide vital financial assistance to over 15,000 UFCW members who have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey. These hard-working men and women are in urgent need of temporary shelter, clothes, fresh food, and other daily essentials, and UFCW Local 455’s Membership Assistance Fund will help them during this critical time.
The UFCW Communications Department has a breakroom poster, graphics, sample social media posts, and a sample email you can use to help raise funds for this important cause. If you are interested in obtaining these materials, contact Erin Ward at email@example.com. If you are interested in Hustling your members about Hurricane Harvey relief, contact Amber Sparks at firstname.lastname@example.org for access to an updated list of your members and sample scripts.
You can donate to UFCW Local 455’s Membership Assistance Fund by filling out the donation form here.
If you are a UFCW member affected by Hurricane Harvey and need assistance, please click here.
You can read a heartfelt message from UFCW Local 455 President Bill Hopkins here.
September 11, 2017
On September 7, 15 members of the UFCW Women’s Network from 11 different states visited with members of Congress to discuss issues that impact hard-working families. One member flew in from as far as California, and Valencia, a member from Florida, made the trip despite the chaos created by Hurricane Irma.
Women make up nearly half of the workforce, and many families need two incomes to make ends meet. With the responsibilities of taking care of kids or helping sick family members, having all the support women can get is critical to helping them and their families build the better lives they’ve earned and deserve.
The Women’s Network discussed the FAMILY Act, The Schedules That Work Act, and the importance of affordable health care with members of Congress.
The FAMILY Act would provide paid family leave to all Americans, and will make sure that hard-working people are able to take care of themselves and their loved ones no matter where they live, what job they have, or who they work for.
The Schedules That Work Act provides retail, food service, and cleaning workers with two weeks advanced notice of their schedules and guarantees minimum pay when they’re sent home from work before completing their entire shift.
It’s essential for women to have affordable health care options. High health care costs are an especially large burden for low-income women who regularly need health services, but who struggle to pay premiums and out-of-pocket costs. Making sure that all women have access to quality, affordable care will strengthen millions of American families.
Having women’s voices at the table is critical to building a better workforce that works for all.
Valencia, from UFCW Local 1625 in Florida, explained the power of showing up to speak face-to-face with members of Congress. “I’m a mother of three, and I understand that twelve weeks of unpaid leave is unreasonable for a single-income household,” she said. “That’s why I’m here to talk to my Congress member. It’s important to speak out about these issues and for them to hear directly from us.”
September 11, 2017
On August 28, members of UFCW Local 23 who work at Giant Eagle rallied for better wages in Pittsburgh. The workers were joined by Pittsburgh United and the United Electrical Workers.
The workers rallied in front of the store location on the south side of Pittsburgh to tell Giant Eagle to stop paying poverty wages and retaliating against employees who are simply trying to earn a living wage and provide for their families. The workers marched and chanted and stood together to tell the company to be the good corporate citizen they claim to be by valuing hard work with fair pay.
September 11, 2017
The three-year contract includes big pay increases of 15 to 22 percent over the course of the agreement. Workers will also receive an extra half day of paid time off for Christmas Eve, an allowance for safety shoes and uniforms, and a fourth week of vacation earned in less time. An important win was moving workers into the RWDSU/UFCW health plan, which New England Joint Board President Tina Buonaugurio said,“saves workers significantly, giving them even more of a raise.”
“Sodexo is well known for their anti-union tactics, but workers stood together and won big,” Buonaugurio added.