News and Updates
September 3, 2019
Pleasure Chest Workers in New York Ratify First Contract
UFCW/RWDSU members who work at Pleasure Chest stores in New York City recently ratified a first union contract that raises wages, improves benefits and includes security protections.
Highlights of the agreement include guaranteed raises in every year of the contract; accrued vacation time for part-time workers (previously only full-timers accrued vacation time); and significant improvements in workplace protocols and procedures for workers who are threatened or harassed by members of the public, including the right to close the store and remain on paid-time until the threatening individual(s) have left the premises. This part of the contract addresses one of the main issues brought up by Pleasure Chest workers, who sell adult toys, during their organizing campaign.
The agreement also creates minimum staffing requirements for busier times, and new trainings for management and staff. These trainings help employees to address boundaries, safety, and security for conflict de-escalation, as well as reimbursement for self-defense classes. The contract also contains strong language around non-discrimination and respect for workers’ gender identity/expression and pronouns.
July 15, 2019
UFCW supports striking Amazon Prime Day workers
Amazon warehouse workers in Minneapolis went out on strike at about 3 p.m. on Prime Day to address working conditions at the plant.
There have been protests on Prime Day in Europe in past years, but the action in Minnesota is the first major Prime Day strike for workers in the United States.
In June, Amazon announced it would provide one-day shipping on select items to Prime members, a move that has reportedly pushed many workers past their breaking point.
“With the recent move to one-day Prime shipping, Amazon workers are being forced to meet impossible demands at increasingly unsafe speeds,” said UFCW President Marc Perrone in a statement on the strikes. “We are proud to stand with these brave Amazon workers on Prime Day as they fight for what’s right.”
May 28, 2019
UFCW Calls on Amazon to Put Workers and Consumers Ahead of Profits
UFCW International President Marc Perrone recently called on Amazon to address business practices that put employees and consumers at risk and criticized the company for replacing hard-working humans with robots.
On May 22, ahead of the annual Amazon shareholder meeting in Seattle where a vote was held on resolutions ranging from facial recognition to gender pay equity, Perrone said, “The growing frustration and anger with the way Amazon and Jeff Bezos do business is real. Year after year, Amazon earns billions in profits on the backs of American taxpayers and its own workers, while ignoring the company’s responsibility to do what is right.”
“Today’s shareholder meeting is an opportunity to hold Amazon accountable. These resolutions are about sending a clear message to Amazon and Jeff Bezos that the American people are sick and tired of subsidizing billionaires and huge corporations at the expense of workers and consumers,” Perrone added. “It’s time for companies like Amazon to realize that they succeed because of their workers – not in spite of them.”
Earlier this month, a new report showed that Amazon is rolling out machines to automate the boxing of customer orders, a job held by thousands of its workers. Amazon started adding technology to a handful of warehouses in recent years, which scans goods coming down a conveyor belt and envelops them seconds later in boxes custom-built for each item. The company has considered installing two machines at dozens of warehouses, which would result in more than 1,300 job losses across 55 U.S. fulfillment centers for standard-sized inventory.
Perrone called out Amazon’s continued effort to replace workers with technology, saying, “Jeff Bezos’s vision for our economy is focused on driving up profits at any cost by replacing talented employees with automation. While Amazon is raking in billions in tax cuts from cities desperate for new jobs, the company is ruthlessly working to eliminate the jobs of thousands of its current employees.”
“It’s clear that Jeff Bezos cares more about the bottom line than investing in the hard-working employees who made Amazon a success in the first place. Our nation’s leaders need to wake up and realize that left unchecked, Amazon’s predatory business model will only continue to wipe out thousands of jobs that have powered our economy for decades. Our families and communities deserve better than this,” Perrone added.
May 28, 2019
Local 1445 Macy’s Workers Strengthen Pay and Health Care in New Contract
UFCW Local 1445 members who work at Macy’s stores across Massachusetts and Rhode Island voted overwhelmingly to approve a new contract on May 19. The new contract, which follows more than four months of negotiations, includes wage increases and strengthens access to affordable health care.
The three-year contract includes continued Sunday premium pay, wage increases, lower health care premiums and access to more performance bonuses. UFCW Local 1445 represents around 1,000 Macy’s workers at stores in Boston, Peabody, Natick, and Braintree in Massachusetts as well as Warwick in Rhode Island. This contract is part of the UFCW’s united coast-to-coast effort to ensure every member receives the good pay and benefits they have earned and are able to build a better life for themselves and their families.
“Macy’s is a company that continues to grow and succeed because we work hard for our customers every day,” said Anne Connelly, who works at the Macy’s store in Braintree. “This contract recognizes what we contribute to the company and will help the hard-working men and women of Macy’s get the better life we’ve earned and deserve.”
“Months of preparation mobilizing the members at Macy’s helped bring out the leadership in our rank and file who took active roles in securing the best contract possible,” said UFCW Local 1445 President Jeff Bollen.
May 13, 2019
A Better Contract for Local 367 Macy’s Workers in Washington
Members of UFCW Local 367 who work at Macy’s Full-Line and Furniture Gallery in Tacoma, Wash., ratified a new contract on May 1 that raises wages. The contract was ratified by an overwhelming margin (99 percent) and over 80 percent of the Macy’s workers turned out to vote.
The two-year contract was unanimously recommended for ratification by the bargaining committee, which played a crucial role in mobilizing their coworkers. In addition to wage increases, the new agreement provides significant improvements for a majority of the Macy’s associates. Part-time and flex-time members will also have a shorter time period to earn their wage increases by transitioning from an hourly-based progression to a yearly progression, among many other gains. This contract is part of the UFCW’s united coast-to-coast effort to ensure every member receives the good pay and benefits they have earned and are able to build a better life for themselves and their families.
“I have been a part of the bargaining committee for the last four contracts and, for the first time, I felt like I was part of a winning team,” said Terri Warren-Cavillo, who served on the bargaining committee. “Everyone involved was there for the good of the cause and everyone had a voice and used it. If I had to do it all again, it would be with these same people at my side.”
May 6, 2019
A Victory for Stop & Shop Workers in New England
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
Grocery Workers in Colorado and Wyoming Protect Good Pay and Health Care in New Contracts
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
Dallas UFCW Members Host Local Candidates for Kroger Tour
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 Responds to Amazon’s Use of Technology to Fire Workers
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
Standing Together With Stop & Shop Workers
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.