News and Updates
April 16, 2019
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
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
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 1, 2019
Thanks to the strength and courage of our members at Local 222, they were able to achieve a new four-year contract that ensures the hard-working women and men at Empirical Foods receive the pay increases they’ve earned and can take time off (up to 52 weeks) when they need to take care of a sick or injured service member. The new contract also provides workers up to 90 days to return to work with renewed work authorizations without loss of seniority, a significant improvement from the previous contract.
“This is an unbelievable contract. I never thought we could accomplish all these changes,” said Kimberly Orellana, who served as a member of the bargaining committee. “My coworkers are very happy with the wages and various improvements.”
March 25, 2019
A rally in western Massachusetts on March 20 united customers, local leaders, teachers, and community members in support of Stop & Shop workers in the push for a new contract that honors the hard-working women and men who have made the grocery chain one of the most successful in the country.
Hundreds of members of Local 1459 helped lead the rally outside of the Stop & Shop store in Chicopee, Mass. They were joined by Springfield City Council Member Jesse Lederman, a representative from the office of Senator Eric Lesser, and members of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, SEIU and Jobs With Justice.
UFCW Local 1459, along UFCW Locals 371, 328, 919 and 1445, have been united in working to secure a new contract with Stop & Shop that invests in workers and strengthens our commitment to delivering the very best service to the communities we serve. Negotiations began on January 14. Together, all five locals represent over 31,000 Stop & Shop workers.
New England communities know that Stop & Shop’s plan to drastically cut the number of full-time jobs will mean less customer service in the aisles, fewer products on the shelves, and longer lines at checkout. Our members want to be able to provide the very best service for their customers while still being able to provide for their families
“Stop & Shop is a neighborhood store and it is our members who provide quality service and food every day that keep our friends, families, and neighbors coming back,” said UFCW Local 1459 President Tyrone Housey. “Today’s event makes it clear that the community also values good service and wants Stop & Shop jobs to be jobs where people can work hard and build a better life.”
The Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island AFL-CIO organizations recently sent a letter in support of the five locals’ pursuit of a fair contract. The letter states: “Together, we represent approximately 700,000 union members across Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. You have the full weight of the labor movement behind you in your struggle for as long as it takes.”
Jobs With Justice and other community allies held another rally in support of Stop & Shop workers in Somerville, Mass., on March 23.
March 18, 2019
Members of UFCW Local 7 who work at Darling Ingredients in Denver ratified a new contract on Feb. 1 that increases wages and secures pensions. The workers at Darling Ingredients process beef, poultry and pork by-products into sustainable food, feed and fuel ingredients, which are used by pharmaceutical, food, pet food, feed, fuel, bio-energy and fertilizer industries around the world.
The new three-year agreement covers workers in the inedible and edible divisions and includes wage increases for each year of the agreement, which will amount to an increase of $1.50 per hour during the third year of the contract. The new agreement also increases the employer contribution to the pension plan, and adds five days of paid funeral leave. Workers in the edible division will also receive earlier eligibility for health care coverage.
March 11, 2019
On Feb. 28, members of UFCW Local 1445 staged a rally at the Macy’s store in Downtown Crossing in Boston to show support for Macy’s members in Massachusetts and Rhode Island who are trying to secure a better contract with the company. Members of UFCW Local 400 and the RWDSU, as well as a large and enthusiastic group of friends, supporters, customers and allies, also attended the rally. Together, they called on Macy’s to provide these hard-working women and men with the wages and benefits they have earned and deserve. The rally also highlighted the hard work and commitment our Macy’s members in Boston, Braintree, Natick, Peabody and Saugus, Massachusetts, and Warwick, Rhode Island, have invested in this company.
This rally is part of a coordinated effort by UFCW Locals 5, 21, 367, 400 and 1445 and RWDSU Locals 1-S and 3 to build bargaining power for 10,000 members of our union family who work at Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s leading up to negotiations with the company in 2019 and during the next two years. During the Macy’s rally in Boston, locals that represent Macy’s workers in other parts of the country handbilled the union Macy’s stores in their areas or posted supportive messages on social media in a show of solidarity.
UFCW Locals 5, 367 and 1445 are engaged in bargaining with Macy’s this year. RWDSU Local 1-S will negotiate a new contract with Macy’s in 2020, and RWDSU Local 3 and UFCW Locals 21 and 400 will negotiate new contracts in 2021.
March 4, 2019
UFCW Local 152 members at Dietz and Watson in Philadelphia ratified a new contract on Feb. 10 that increases wages and preserves health care benefits. UFCW Local 152 represents about 460 workers at Dietz and Watson who make premium meats and artisan cheeses, including Italian specialties like sopressata and salami.
The three-year agreement, which was approved by an overwhelming margin, includes yearly, across the board wage increases for the life of the contract, and preserves affordable health care. The agreement also includes longevity increases, additional earned time off, and other benefits.
February 19, 2019
Members of UFCW Local 919 who work at Arett Sales in Bristol, Connecticut, recently ratified a first union contract that raises wages and improves working conditions. The 41 workers, who work in the warehouse distribution division of Arett Sales, joined UFCW Local 919 last May because they were concerned about harsh treatment by management, unsafe working conditions, poor wages and forced overtime. Arett Sales Corporation is a distributor of lawn, garden, home and holiday supplies.
The three-and-a-half-year agreement includes new scheduling language that allows employees the benefit of knowing day-to-day when they can go home, guaranteed raises twice a year during every year of the agreement, a ratification bonus, and strong seniority language to finally end favoritism.
January 28, 2019
On Jan. 20, members of UFCW Local 770 who work at Overhill Farms in Vernon, California, ratified a new contract that raises wages and improves benefits. This ratification comes after 18 months of contract negotiations, three strike votes, and various actions demanding respect, dignity, and a voice on the job.
Effective from September 2018 to September 2021, the new contract benefits around 400 employees in the bargaining unit. It includes wage increases of up to $2.00 per hour during the contract term, according to seniority (a base salary greater than the minimum wage will rule). The employees will also receive retroactive back pay to Sept. 1, 2018, and a sizeable bonus paid within 30 days of ratification.
Regarding health insurance, the company will establish a fund to reimburse deductibles to employees who are currently enrolled in the company’s health care plan – up to $900 per year for employees with single coverage and up to $1,200 per year for employees with dependent coverage. Grandfathered employees (including covered family members) will receive reimbursements of some copays (up to a total of $50,000). The contract also guarantees no annual increase to weekly medical premiums for the life of the contract.
UFCW 770 members won a guarantee that the company cannot unilaterally change the health care plan, as it had done in the past. Overhill Farms committed to paying up to a 12 percent increase per year and maintaining the same health benefits. If the increase exceeds that amount, then the union can offer another, more cost-effective plan, which the company must accept or pay the entire increase itself.
During contract negotiations, the bargaining committee and rank-and-file members stood strong fighting for better living wages, affordable health benefits, seniority protections, a safe workplace, and dignity and respect. Community, labor, and faith leaders joined the workers in solidarity at all the mobilizations in front of the company’s main plant.
Overhill Farms employees are mostly immigrant workers who produce frozen food items such as plated meals, soups, pastas, sauces and other specialties. Overhill Farms is owned by CPF, a Thailand based conglomerate.