• Background Image

    News and Updates

    Industry News

August 10, 2016

CTI Workers Ratify First Union Contract

CTI Workers--Local 1776

On July 28, 75 workers at CTI Foods in King of Prussia, Pa., ratified their first union contract. The CTI workers produce food for fast food restaurants and are members of UFCW Local 1776.

“We feel more united now; we have a better bond,” said Shop Steward Kyle Pendleton, who has worked at CTI Foods for 19 years and was instrumental during the organizing and negotiation process. “The company is working with us now and having a contract has made the company better.”

The new three-year contract guarantees health insurance, safety and labor-management meetings, as well as pay increases. For some workers, this will be the first raise they’ve received in years.

“I would like to congratulate the CTI workers on their first UFCW contract,” said UFCW Local 1776 President Wendell W. Young, IV. “This is a huge win for them and their families.”

August 8, 2016

Grocery Workers Reach Tentative Deal with Ralphs, Vons/Albertsons

Proposed Contract Goes to Members for Ratification Vote August 8th

Oscar Gonzalez, a Ralphs produce worker in Hollywood, marches with grocery workers and supporters Tuesday to demand a new contract. (Michael Owen Baker / For The Times)

Oscar Gonzalez, a Ralphs produce worker in Hollywood, marches with grocery workers and supporters Tuesday to demand a new contract. (Michael Owen Baker / For The Times)

UFCW grocery workers in California reached a tentative agreement on a new contract with Kroger Company and Cerberus Capital, the owners of Ralphs and Vons/Albertsons, respectively.

After intense negotiations following the imposition of an August 8th deadline by seven California locals of the UFCW, the federal mediator helped guide the parties to a proposed contract.

“We are happy to say that five months after our previous contract expired, the corporate owners of Ralphs and Vons/Albertsons have agreed to a proposed contract,” said Rick Icaza, one of the chief negotiators for the UFCW and the President of one of the largest UFCW locals in the country. “This would not have been possible without the strength and solidarity of all the 50,000 grocery workers throughout central and southern California, the cooperation of the seven California UFCW locals and the UFCW International Union. We also owe deep thanks to the support of consumers and community leaders. Because of the unshakable unity of our membership, we were able to bring these negotiations to a conclusion, and will present the offer to membership for ratification on Monday, August 8th.”

“While we are unable to divulge the details of the agreement until we inform our members, we would like to thank the Federal Mediation Conciliation Service (FMCS) Deputy Director Scot Beckenbaugh and Commissioner Isael Hermosillo, without whom this agreement would not have been possible,” said John Grant, Secretary­Treasurer of Local 770. “We believe this contract will address our members’ concerns and begin to secure the important role grocery workers play in our community.”

The previous contract covering nearly 50,000 central and southern California grocery workers expired nearly five months ago. Since then, grocery workers have worked without a contract, staging numerous rallies, marches, and events designed to bring attention to their fight and to bring the corporate owners of Ralphs and Vons/Albertsons to the table. Last Tuesday, thousands of grocery workers, community members, clergy, and fellow union members marched across Los Angeles to demand a conclusion to negotiations.

UFCW grocery workers across central and southern California will gather to review the details of the contract and vote on the offer. Results of the vote will be released when voting is complete by the seven UFCW locals.

 

 

August 4, 2016

Providence Centralia Hospital Workers Ratify New Contract

Providence Centralia Hospital Bargaining Team--Local 21

On July 21, members of UFCW Local 21 working at Providence Centralia Hospital in Centralia, Wash., overwhelmingly ratified a new three-year contract. The 240 Providence Centralia Hospital workers work in various divisions within the hospital, including the Emergency Department, and Critical Care, PCU, Surgical Unit, Medical Unit, Family Birth Center, and Outpatient Surgery divisions.

The new contract provides annual wage increases, caps on healthcare costs, daily overtime that includes the calculation of missed meals and rest periods, and other contractual improvements.

August 3, 2016

Zara Workers Join RWDSU/UFCW

Zara Workers--RWDSU

This week, after a majority of the workers at Zara’s eight stores in Manhattan signed cards stating they wanted to be represented by RWDSU/UFCW Local 1102, the company agreed to recognize the union.  The agreement covers over 1,000 retail workers at all of Zara’s stores in Manhattan.  These are the first Zara workers in the United States to be unionized.

Zara, the Spanish fashion chain owned by Inditex, is the world’s largest clothing retailer.  The RWDSU/UFCW and Zara reached an agreement earlier this year where the employer agreed to remain neutral and not to oppose the union’s attempt to organize its workforce.

“Zara’s approach to recognize the right of its workers to form a union, without intimidation, is a message to all retailers – you can be successful and still respect the right of your employees,” said Gemma de Leon Lopresti, president of RWDSU/UFCW Local 1102.

This is the largest retail organizing win in New York City in recent years. In 2009, RWDSU/UFCW Local 1102 organized nearly 1,200 workers at H&M, another fast-fashion global retail chain.

Workers at Zara look forward to working in an environment where they can make their jobs better, and create better lives for themselves and their families.

“Working in retail is extremely fast-paced and hectic,” said Joseph Minton, an associate at Zara’s 59th Street location.  “I’m excited that the company is willing to listen to our concerns and work with the union for everyone’s benefit.”

“We applaud Zara for recognizing the rights of its employees to choose to unionize, without interference,” said RWDSU/UFCW President Stuart Appelbaum. “Unfortunately, too many American employers refuse to respect their workers’ right to freedom of association and intimidate and threaten workers who try to organize.”

“This process is a huge step for retail workers in New York. Zara, the largest fast-fashion retailer in the world, is sending a strong message that you can remain profitable and still recognize your workers’ right to dignity, justice and respect on the job,” said Appelbaum.

July 22, 2016

Protecting the Safety and Health of Poultry-Processing Workers

close up of workers processing pieces of chicken in a poultry plant

Adapted from DOL Blog

For some workers, a simple trip to the bathroom could result in the loss of a job.

Poultry-processing workers are sometimes disciplined for taking bathroom breaks while at work because there is no one available to fill in for them if they step away from the production line. Some workers have reported that they wear diapers and restrict liquid intake in an effort to avoid using the bathroom.

No one should have to work under these conditions. All workers have a right to a safe workplace, and that includes access to readily available sanitary restroom facilities on the job.

Luckily, there are very clear standards on this issue: the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to provide all workers with sanitary restrooms and prompt access to the facilities when needed. Further, employers may not impose unreasonable restrictions on employee use of toilet facilities. These standards are intended to ensure that workers do not suffer adverse health effects that can result if toilets are not sanitary or are not available when needed.

Poultry processing is one of the most dangerous industries in the United States, and readily accessible restrooms is only one of many problems that workers in this industry face. OSHA has found workers exposed to serious hazards in poultry processing plants, including exposure to dangerous chemicals and biological hazards, high noise levels,unsafe equipment, and slippery floors.

Poultry workers are twice as likely to suffer serious injuries on the job as other private industry workers and almost seven times more likely to contract a work-related illness. They are also at particularly high risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders from the repetitive motions they perform on the job, with workers twice as likely to have a severe wrist injury and seven times as likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome than the average U.S. worker.

These injuries and illnesses must stop. To protect workers in poultry plants, OSHA launched regional emphasis programs targeting these facilities throughout the Midwest, Southern, and Southeast states. Their goal is to reduce injuries and illnesses through outreach and enforcement activities, such as training sessions, public service announcements and targeted, comprehensive safety and health inspections.

With UFCW representation, these workers also have better odds because they have a voice on the job,  and can speak up when they see unsafe conditions without fear of retribution. We often work with OSHA to ensure our poultry workers continue to work at safe jobs.

Learn more about their work to protect poultry processing workers.

 

July 20, 2016

Local 1995 Kroger Workers Ratify New Contract

Local 1995 Kroger workers

On July 1, Kroger workers who are members of UFCW Local 1995 ratified a new contract. The contract covers 12,000 Kroger workers in middle and east Tennessee, north Alabama, and south Kentucky.

The new contract includes wage increases and affordable health care, maintains the employee pension fund, and revises tiers for pay, vacation and holidays.

“The Local 1995 Bargaining Committee and staff did a great job in understanding our members’ needs and effectively communicating those to Kroger,” said UFCW Local 1995 President Gregory Stallings. “Therefore, we were able to reach a Memorandum of Agreement with the company and complete the ratification process prior to July 4th.”

July 15, 2016

Local 400 Members and Customers Come Together to Save Grocery Stores

13619871_1156147594406141_544955539235430165_nIn March, employees at eight Giant stores represented by Local 400 – six in the Fredericksburg, Virginia area and two in Southern Maryland – were told their stores would be put up for sale as part of the merger between Giant’s Netherlands based parent company Ahold and Belgium based grocery store Delhaize. These proposed store sales threatened the better wages, benefits and grocery store experience that the Giant stores provide to the local community.

Which is why Local 400 members who work at Giant, their loyal customers and community leaders banded together to help make people see that selling these stores was a bad idea. Through a series of rallies, public meetings and marches, they sent a clear message that the local community didn’t want these grocery stores and the good jobs they provide to be sold away.

“I’m glad that Giant did the right thing in the end and I’m proud to be a part of a union and a community that would not give up the good jobs and grocery options Giant brings to this area,” said Robyn Wheeler, a Local 400 member who has worked at Giant in Fredericksburg City for 37 years.

In addition to organizing public events that drew attention to the negative aspects of the proposal to sell the local grocery stores, Local 400 members also contacted the Federal Trade Commission and their local elected officials to express concerns about the impact on wages, benefits and competition.

Treesa Shipp, a Local 400 member who works at the Giant in Stafford said, “Because we have a strong union we had a voice in this process and were able to stop our store from being sold. They could not ignore us, the employees who built this company and work hard to make it successful every single day.”

 

July 13, 2016

Holsum Bakery Workers Ratify New RWDSU/UFCW Contract

RWDSU UFCW Logo

Last week, members of RWDSU/UFCW Local 835 who work at Holsum Bakery in Fort Wayne, Indiana, overwhelmingly ratified a new three-year contract. The 78 RWDSU/UFCW members at the plant work in maintenance and production of breads under the Lewis Bakeries label.

The new agreement provides many improvements in the areas of seniority and overtime, schedules, funeral leave, paid holidays and sick days, job classifications, and maintenance advancement programs. Along with wage increases, the new contract also maintains employee health coverage and pension benefits.

July 13, 2016

Holsum Bakery Workers Ratify New RWDSU Contract

RWDSU UFCW Logo

Last week, members of RWDSU Local 835 who work at Holsum Bakery in Fort Wayne, Indiana, overwhelmingly ratified a new three-year contract. The 78 RWDSU members at the plant work in maintenance and production of breads under the Lewis Bakeries label.

The new agreement provides many improvements in the areas of seniority and overtime, schedules, funeral leave, paid holidays and sick days, job classifications, and maintenance advancement programs. Along with wage increases, the new contract also maintains employee health coverage and pension benefits.

July 7, 2016

Chemtrade Solutions Workers Join the ICWUC

Chemtrade Solutions Workers

On June 28, workers at Chemtrade Solutions in Odem, Texas, voted unanimously to join the International Chemical Workers Union Council (ICWUC) of the UFCW. The workers wanted better wages, a safer work environment and a voice in their workplace. Chemtrade Solutions is a supplier of water treatment chemicals for municipalities. This is the second election the ICWUC has won unanimously in the last ten months since the DuBois Chemicals victory.

“The ICWUC organizing department is an organizing machine, and we’re working hard to make the lives of our members and soon to be members better,” said ICWUC President Frank Cyphers. “We welcome the Chemtrade Solutions workers to our union family.”