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October 20, 2016

Giant Eagle Catering Workers Join Local 23

giant-eagle-workers-local-23

Earlier this month, the hard-working employees in the catering department at the Settler’s Ridge Giant Eagle Market District store in Pittsburgh voted to join UFCW Local 23.

The Giant Eagle workers were concerned about respect and fairness on the job, and wanted to join the hundreds of coworkers in the same store who are members of UFCW Local 23 who are striving for a better life.

“We know that there are many nonunion Giant Eagle workers that would love to be part of the UFCW, but due to fear and bully tactics by Giant Eagle, it takes strong workers to stand up to such an anti-union company,” said UFCW Local 23 President Anthony Helfer. “Our stewards were key in helping to organize these workers and we look forward to more activities at Giant Eagle, even in the face of this anti-union company.”

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.

 

 

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 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 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.

June 15, 2016

UFCW Local 21 Member Speaks at the White House United State of Women

Ariana Photo 1Ariana Davis, a UFCW Local 21 member who works at Safeway, spoke at the White House United State of Women Summit in Washington, D.C. She shared the stage with President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, actress Kerry Washington and Oprah to discuss key gender equality issues.

Ariana presented with AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler about the best way to give working women equal pay Ariana with Kerry Washington Photo 2and an equal say – a union. Equal pay, fair schedules, paid leave – the bottom line is that if we stand together and negotiate together, we win together.

Ariana Photo 3In front of a crowd of 5,000 people, Ariana shared her experience with being a part of UFCW Local 21 in Seattle. “Being in a union has allowed me to negotiate for and win higher wages, good benefits and economic stability. But the truth is, the power of a union is about much more than dollars and cents. I’ve stood up for my friends at work who were being disrespected by management. And I helped them get justice on the job. That’s a powerful feeling. I am a force in my community.”

Evidence shows that union membership increases wages for all workers, but women experience especially large Ariana Photo 4advantages. Women are the primary breadwinners in 38% of American households – paying them less for no reason puts millions of families and communities at a disadvantage.

Ariana Photo 5Back in the other Washington, Ariana has been busy collecting thousands of signatures as the citizen petitioner behind Initiative 1433, a statewide ballot measure which will raise the minimum wage to $13.50 and provide workers with up to seven days of paid sick leave.

6.8 million women in America belong to a union. Thanks to Ariana, more people know why. Ariana Photo 6

May 24, 2016

UFCW Stop & Shop Members Thank Customers for Support

Adapted from UFCW Local 1459

duplicate_resizedLast week, dozens of Stop & Shop union members, staff, and community members from New England UFCW locals went out to Stop & Shop stores as part of a Customer Appreciation Day to celebrate the customers whose support helped win a strong union contract for over 35,000 Stop & Shop union members throughout New England and the over 1,500 members in western Massachusetts.

Stop & Shop union members worked without a contract for over two months.  During this period, thousands of customers signed petitions in support of a fair contract, made countless calls to the company asking them to offer a fair deal to hard working union members, and made their opinions known in the stores in favor of a good contract.

With their support, our bargaining committee was able to negotiate collectively for:
• 480 New Full-Time Jobs
• Fair & Predictable Scheduling so that we can spend time with our families and provide for our families
• Fair Pay and a path to $15 for all full-time employees
• Affordable Healthcare for our families

Matt Szulborski, Organizing Director of UFCW Local 1459 said, in gratitude to customers, “Working families coming together on the job and in the community helped win a better life for Stop & Shop union members.  Thank you for all your support and help.  I believe with a voice at work and communities coming together, all working people can gain a better life.”

May 19, 2016

Members of Congress Join UFCW to Stamp Out Hunger

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Last week, members of Congress from across the country, together with members of the UFCW, joined together to help launch the National Association of Letter Carriers’ “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive.

“Stamp Out Hunger,” the largest single-day food drive, invited Americans to leave food by their mailboxes on Saturday, May 14 for collection by their neighborhood letter carriers for delivery to local food pantries.

This year, the UFCW, as a national title sponsor, invited Congressional offices and members from both sides of the aisle to participate. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.), and Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) and their staff participated in helping us to promote this worthy cause.

UFCW Locals from all across the country also hosted their own events, making this year’s food drive one of the biggest and best that anyone had ever seen.

UFCW members see the effects of hunger in America every single day. Every time someone has to turn back and put something away in one of our checkout lines because they don’t have enough money, we feel for them. For millions of families, this year’s food drive was a small, but important, step towards fixing that problem.

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May 3, 2016

El Super Reports 5th Consecutive Quarter with a Decline in Customer Traffic Since Start of Union Initiated Consumer Boycott

—Negative El Super sales coincide with Formal Settlement Agreement with US Government ordering company to furnish information and bargain in good faith with UFCW —

SSS Decline at El SuperLos Angeles— Grupo Comercial Chedraui – the parent company of El Super grocery stores in the U.S. – has reported another quarter of disappointing sales growth. The company’s growth performance has been weakened by negative same store sales (SSS) in its El Super grocery store segment as reported over the past year, a period which coincided with the consumer boycott in the U.S. Same store sales at El Super stores in the U.S. declined for the fifth consecutive quarter since El Super workers and their union, UFCW, launched a consumer boycott of the grocery chain in December 2014.  The Boycott was targeted at the Company’s unfair labor practices, its failure to negotiate in good faith and its failure to reach a fair agreement with its workers.

The El Super sales decline during the first quarter of 2016 is significant because the company added four new stores in the period just prior to the last 12 months. The four new stores—two opened in the 4th quarter of 2014, and one each in the 2nd and 3rd quarters of 2014. The first quarter 2016 new store benefit represents the largest new store boost to El Super’s SSS in more than a year. Inclusion of these new stores leads to an expectation that U.S. SSS growth would increase, not decline.

Recently available U.S. government data on labor hours during 2014 and 2015 at 17 El Super stores in California and Arizona, eight of which were subject to active pickets as part of the consumer boycott during 2015 and nine of which were not, reveals an interesting pattern. The data – maintained by El Super in compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) – shows that El Super cut labor hours at all stores in our sample which were subject to active pickets in 2015, while hours for the non-picketed stores in our sample were relatively flat and showed no consistent pattern. El Super workers have reported some store managers blamed the consumer boycott for poor sales and resulting in the need to make cuts in hours, and further undermines the company’s denials that the boycott has had a negative effect on sales.

El Super Enters into Rare ‘Formal Settlement Agreement’ with U.S. Government to Resolve Charges it Violated Workers’ Rights

The Union has continued to seek to hold the Company accountable for its actions with respect to negotiations through all legal avenues.  The reporting of negative sales growth at El Super stores coincides with an April 28, 2016 ‘Formal Settlement Stipulation’ between El Super, UFCW unions that represent El Super workers, and the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board. A formal settlement contains a direct order from the National Labor Relations Board itself and is very rare. Consistent with NLRB law and policy the formal settlement can serve as evidence that El Super is a regular violator of labor law and that EL Super has a proclivity to violate the Act.

Under the terms of the Stipulation, El Super has been ordered to ‘cease and desist’ from:

(a) Failing or refusing to bargain in good faith with the UFCW regarding wages, hours and other working conditions of the employees

(b) Failing or refusing to provide UFCW with information that is relevant and necessary to their roles as the unit’s bargaining representative.

(c) Failing to timely furnish the Unions with information that is relevant and necessary to their role as the unit’s bargaining representative.

(d) In any like or related manner interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees in the exercise of their federal labor rights.

In connection with the Stipulation, the U.S. Government ordered El Super to:

(a) Bargain collectively and in good faith with the UFCW.

(b) Provide UFCW Local 770 with a seniority list for unit employees at its Arleta, California store that includes employees’ dates of hire, position titles, rates of pay, and whether they are classified as full-time or part-time.

(c) Provide the UFCW with the a seniority list for all unit employees that includes employees’ full names, last four digits of their social security numbers, hire dates, wage rates, seniority dates, and full-time/part time statuses.

El Super workers have been fighting to win a fair union contract from El Super since September 2013. The information the company was ordered to provide is essential to formulating contract proposals that address UFCW El Super members’ longstanding goals of winning fair pay and more guaranteed hours for full-time workers.

About El Super

El Super is managed by the Paramount, California, based Bodega Latina Corp. El Super’s business model focuses on serving first, second and third-generation U.S. consumers of Mexican descent. Grupo Comercial Chedraui (Chedraui) is Mexico’s third-largest retail chain with over 42,000 employees in 224 stores throughout the country. Through its 84.85% ownership stake, Chedraui controls California-based Bodega Latina Corporation, which does business as the El Super grocery chain. During 2015, El Super opened five new stores – bringing its total to 54 locations. It has 46 stores in California, five stores in Arizona, and three in Nevada.