News and Updates
March 21, 2017
On March 18, members of UFCW Local 655 who work at Holten Meat in Sauget, Ill., rejected a contract offer that asked them to work harder for less, and made the difficult decision to authorize a strike.
No matter where our members live or the local they are part of, our union family is stronger when we stand together. Our members who work at Holten Meat have made it clear that a work-life balance is not only important, it’s worth fighting for.
“The issue for our members is about quality of life. It’s about having more control over their lives,” said UFCW Local 655 President Dave Cook.
UFCW Local 655 has been negotiating with Holten Meat over this contract for more than four months. While many workers are satisfied with the wages and benefits the company offers, they’ve become frustrated with schedules that make them choose between working and spending time with their families.
Why is this an issue worth standing up for? Today, a veteran employee who works on the night shift at Holten Meat is unable to use his or her seniority to transfer into an open day shift position. Instead, Holten Meat will frequently hire new employees to fill the open day shifts, making our most committed and dedicated members work schedules that sacrifice time from family.
Members are also being asked to split their days off, meaning they have to spend part of the weekend at work and away from their families for no extra pay.
As we all know, our hard-working members can relate to what’s happening at Holten Meat. The dedicated members who work simply want the better life they’ve earned, and supporting a family shouldn’t mean that you never get to see them.
“Give these hard-working men and women the contract they have earned and deserve,” Cook said. “It’s that simple.”
March 6, 2017
On Feb. 27, members of UFCW Local 21 who work at Olympic Medical Center Home Health in Port Angeles, Wash., ratified a new contract. The contract covers about 60 members and includes wage increases, an extra floating holiday and additional education money. The new contract will help recruit and retain quality staff and allow members to better serve the needs of their patients.
December 6, 2016
On Nov. 30, members of UFCW Local 435 who work at the JBS plant in Hyrum, Utah, ratified a new union contract by an overwhelming majority. The new five-year contract includes substantial wage increases, improved bidding (promotion) language, a sustainable health care package, and grade increases.
This contract includes the largest wage increases members in this plant have ever won, and would not have been possible without the recent membership growth, as well as a committee that was willing to fight for a good contract.
“I thought this process would be done in one day,” said Taner Atwood, a JBS worker and member of UFCW Local 435 who was new to the bargaining committee. “I did not know there was so much involved in negotiations. It took longer than expected, but a good contract is worth the wait. The members look forward to working together to grow and build the union.”
December 6, 2016
Over 7,000 UFCW Local 27 members who work at over 80 Safeway and Giant stores in the Baltimore area ratified new contracts on Nov. 16. Both three-year contracts include higher starting pay, wage progression improvements, no cost increases to employee health insurance, and a plan to secure pensions.
For the past 40 years, Giant and Safeway have jointly negotiated union contracts with UFCW Local 27; but this year, the companies negotiated separately. While the companies were more divided than ever, UFCW Local 27 members who work at Safeway and Giant stuck together and engaged with customers and community members for a better contract.
“As always, Giant and Safeway bargaining presents unique challenges that, coupled with the cost of health and pensions, along with increased competition in retail food, made these negotiations more challenging than ever,” said UFCW Local 27 President George Murphy. “But with the hard work and cooperation of the staff of both Local 27 and Local 400, we were able to come up with an agreement that protects and improves our contract, as well as keeping the employer competitive in an ever-changing market.”
November 29, 2016
On Nov. 10, Quaker Oats workers in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who are members of RWDSU/UFCW Local 110, ratified a new contract.
The new three-year agreement includes a $1,500 signing bonus and yearly wage increases. The contract also calls for improvements to the vacation eligibilities, implements day-at-a-time vacation usage, and includes a vacation bonus for members with over 25 years of service.
The contract also restricts the company from requiring overtime on weekends, and improves the new hire progression rates so that some employees will receive wage increases from $1.91 an hour to $2.46 an hour depending on their time in the progression right away. Improvements were also made to the Short Term Disability Benefits and the Shoe and Clothing Allowances, and to the Perfect Attendance bonus.
November 22, 2016
Nearly 14,000 UFCW Local 400 members who work at more than 200 Safeway and Giant stores in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia ratified new contracts on Nov. 16. Both three-year contracts include higher starting pay, wage progression improvements, no cost increases to employee health insurance, and a plan to secure pensions.
For the past 40 years, Giant and Safeway have jointly negotiated union contracts with UFCW Local 400; but this year, the companies negotiated separately. While the companies were more divided than ever, UFCW Local 400 members who work at Safeway and Giant stuck together and participated in store actions and engaged with customers and community members for a better contract.
“We came into this bargaining with specific goals,” said Mark Federici, president of UFCW Local 400. “One was to get rid of the hour-based pay scale system and get members more money faster than the previous system. We did that. A second goal was maintaining our health and welfare coverage, and we did that. A third goal was to protect and strengthen our pension fund, and we did that.”
“Bargaining is never easy,” Federici added. “This was especially demanding due to the logistical challenges imposed by the separation of the two companies. We had to address the complexity of ensuring that our pension funds are secure and maintaining our members’ health coverage. We told management we’ve done enough. We wanted to change the hour system to monthly and we succeeded.”
November 22, 2016
On Nov. 20, 2,400 workers at the Tyson Fresh Meats pork processing plant in Waterloo, Iowa, ratified a new contract. The workers are members of UFCW Local 431.
The new five-year contract includes $2.60 in wage increases for the five-year term of the contract, with $1.10 per hour upon ratification; $.50 per hour wage increases in years two and three; and $.25 per hour wage increase in years four and five. The contract also includes an additional paid holiday, and increases vacation leave to four weeks after ten years of employment.
“This was a team effort between UFCW Local 431, our bargaining committee, our members and UFCW International to help close the wage gap in the pork industry,” said UFCW Local 431 President Jerry Messer. “I would like to thank everyone involved for helping to secure this contract. I am proud of each and every one of our members.”
November 15, 2016
Members of UFCW Local 1776 who work in the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s (PLCB) Wine and Spirits stores overwhelmingly ratified a new three-year agreement with the commonwealth on Oct. 10. The new contract provides significant wage increases and maintains a strong benefits package for the nearly 3,000 employees.
The members who work in the Pennsylvania Wine and Spirits stores make considerable contributions to the commonwealth. From generating much needed revenue for the state to preventing minors from getting alcohol, these workers are on the front lines helping our communities.
“I would like to congratulate the members and negotiating committee for their accomplishments in this ratification,” said UFCW Local 1776 President Wendell W. Young, IV.
November 1, 2016
On Oct. 15, members of UFCW Local 617 ratified a new five-year agreement with Pinnacle Foods in Fort Madison, Iowa. UFCW Local 617 represents over 400 hourly employees at the Pinnacle Foods Fort Madison Armour Star facility.
The new contract provides significant wage increases for all employees over the life of the contract, including a much faster progression for new hires. The contract also protects pensions for current and future employees, and continues to provide quality, affordable healthcare with no increase in deductibles, copays or out of pocket maximums for the life of the agreement. Other improvements include increased medical leave, and faster 401(k) eligibility with auto enrollment and company match.
The contract continues the high performance, team-based work environment structure that has created a highly skilled and flexible workforce. In addition to a strong base pay, workers have the opportunity to continue gaining more skills and even higher pay.
“Our members are very skilled and talented,” said Robert Cale, vice president of political education at UFCW Local 617. “We have taken on a lot of responsibility within the plant. We are very proud of what we do and the skills we demonstrate to make our facility successful. Our members are also very passionate about our union.”
“We all know the role our union plays in making our facility successful and profitable,” Cale added. “While negotiating our contract with Pinnacle Foods, we were committed to protecting and improving the high quality jobs at the facility. That means good wages, affordable high quality healthcare, and retirement security in the form of a defined benefit pension and 401(k). Without the strong union membership we have, none of this would be possible.”
November 1, 2016
Members of UFCW Local 655 who work at Schnucks in St. Louis ratified a new contract on Oct. 26.
The three-year contract includes wage increases, eligibility to earn up to five weeks of vacation and includes a two week advance notice of work schedules. The new contract also maintains health insurance and pension benefits.
“I’m very grateful we have a new contract. I’m a pharmacy technician at Schnucks, but I was also a member of the bargaining committee, and that was an eye-opening experience,” said Rebecca Garrett. “I have a whole new respect for the process of bargaining a contract. I’m happy we were able to maintain health benefits and I’m especially happy that for the first time this contract has specific language and recognition for pharmacy technicians because we have a very important role in people’s lives. This contract took months of very hard work, and without a union like mine, there wouldn’t be an opportunity to have input at all. This is why I’m a strong supporter of UFCW Local 655. They give us a real voice at work.”
“While this contract does not have everything we wanted, it does represent significant improvements over the last proposal,” said UFCW Local 655 President David Cook. “Our members deserve to be recognized for their sacrifices with a fair contract. The significant concessions from Schnucks shows they understood that and came back to the table with a much better contract.”