News and Updates
May 6, 2019
Across New England, 31,000 UFCW members at Stop & Shop grocery stores won a powerful victory by successfully approving strong new contracts following a historic 11-day walkout to protest cuts to health care, take-home pay, and other benefits.
Members of UFCW Locals 328, 371, 919, 1445 and 1459 in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island ratified the new contracts by an overwhelming margin in votes held April 24 through May 1. The new agreements preserve health care and retirement benefits, provide wage increases, and maintain time-and-a-half pay on Sunday for current members.
Negotiations with Stop & Shop received national attention for being one of the most important work stoppages in the grocery industry in recent memory and a powerful win to protect good jobs.
UFCW Locals 328, 371, 919, 1445 and 1459 worked together throughout negotiations with the company and issued the following joint statement: “We are incredibly grateful to our customers and everyone who proudly stood together with us every day for a contract that invests in the communities we serve and makes Stop & Shop a better place to work and a better place to shop.”
“It’s exciting to be back to normal, but it’s also exciting to know how much our community cares about good jobs,” said Nicole, a UFCW member who works at Stop & Shop. “We’re all a lot stronger now.”
May 6, 2019
On May 2, more than 20,000 members of UFCW Local 7 who work at King Soopers, City Market, Safeway and Albertsons in Colorado and Wyoming ratified new contracts that strengthen pay and protect health care benefits.
The three-year contracts include better wages, including pay raises retroactive to the end of the previous contract; good health care benefits, including better dental benefits; and pension protections for 12,000 retirees and those still working. The contracts also include significant language gains, including safety and protections pertaining to automation and the advancement of technology; credit for military service as work experience; more time off to ensure the safety of victims of domestic abuse or stalking; and easier access to first-day sick leave so food workers can stay healthy on the job. Safeway meat warehouse workers also won significant wage increases, double time on all holidays and the elimination of the entire two-tier system.
“These hard-working women and men stood together for better lives and a better place to work,” said UFCW Local 7 President Kim Cordova. “Together, our new contracts will provide pay raises for every worker, good health care and retirement benefits, and a safer workplace. Making each store a better place to work also makes it a better place to shop. Strong customer service is what made these companies successful and we are pleased these contracts invest in the workers who proudly serve our communities every day.”
May 6, 2019
UFCW Local 1000 members recently hosted eight endorsed Dallas candidates for city council and mayor at local Kroger stores for tours and one-on-one discussions with workers ahead of the city’s May 4 election.
Each candidate spent an hour walking through a store and talking with UFCW Local 1000 members one-on-one about the issues affecting their lives. Candidates learned about the issues our members care about, as well as how critical our union is in representing those members at the workplace and why it’s so important to have a union grocery store in their communities. The events were a way to make sure that local elected officials heard directly from the workers they hope to represent.
Anthony Elmo, political and communications director for UFCW Local 1000, asked that any candidate seeking the union’s endorsement take the time to visit an area worksite so they could hear directly from their membership.
“Elected officials should campaign for votes where hard-working families bring home the bacon,” Elmo said. “They need to meet us on the shop floor and understand our issues.”
Chad West, who won the open seat in Dallas City Council District 1, left the visit with a deeper understanding of our union and the workers we represent.
“It was great getting to talk with people in my district who live and work in this community. The majority of the people in my district are working people and it’s good to know that they have a union like UFCW Local 1000 looking out for their best interests and engaging them in the political process,” West said. “I look forward to working with Local 1000 and representing your membership as a member of the Dallas City Council for years to come.”
One of the most important issues was the paid sick leave ordinance that the Dallas City Council passed by a 10 to 4 vote on April 24, which requires employers to credit their employees with one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours they work. Members at every stop let the candidates know how they felt about this important issue in advance of the election, and UFCW Local 1000 member Candice Oglesby, who works full-time as a florist at Kroger in Oak Cliff, was interviewed by ABC News 8 about the ordinance.
Local 1000 members played an integral role in pushing for the Dallas ordinance over the last year, working with coalition partners from local unions and community groups. The ordinance is likely to face legal challenges, as well as an attempt by the state legislature to nullify the law, but the hard-fought victory was a huge win for working people in Dallas.
“Paid sick time in Dallas is an amazing victory for grocery workers. Our members will directly benefit from this policy as the new floor for future contract negotiations,” said Elmo.
April 29, 2019
UFCW International President Marc Perrone recently condemned Amazon’s use of technology that can automatically fire workers without a human supervisor’s involvement. In response to the new report about the technology, President Perrone released the following statement:
“Who needs real human beings when you have Amazon? It’s one thing for Jeff Bezos and Amazon to use a ruthless business model to destroy jobs for profit, but it is surreal to think that any company could fire their own workers without any human involvement. Is this really the America we want to live and work in?
“It is time for America’s elected leaders, Republicans and Democrats, to wake up to the economic and social damage of Amazon’s business model, and to the fact that Jeff Bezos is determined to destroy what makes America – the people who actually do the work.”
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 8, 2019
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 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 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 11, 2019
UFCW International President Marc Perrone issued a statement on March 6 in response to news that Whole Foods cut workers’ hours after its parent company, Amazon, enacted a wage increase for employees.
Perrone’s statement reads as follows:
“The reports of Amazon’s Whole Foods cutting worker hours is the worst case of bait and switch I’ve ever seen. Just months ago, they told the American people and their workers that they were raising their minimum wage to $15.00 per hour. But now it appears that this was all a public relations stunt as they are now cutting worker hours – which is a cruel pay cut, plain and simple.
“More than ever, it is clear Jeff Bezos’s retail vision is focused on driving up profits at any cost by cutting hours and replacing good jobs and skilled hard-working employees with automation. It is time for the American people to wake up to the fact that Amazon’s vision, left unchecked, will cost us millions of good retail jobs. The men and women of Whole Foods have earned the right to a better life, and they deserve so much better than the treatment they are receiving from Amazon.”