News and Updates
November 13, 2017
On Nov. 6, approximately 4,200 members of UFCW Local 400, who work at 39 Kroger stores in West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky, voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new contract. The contract, which takes effect immediately and extends through August 29, 2020, provides increased pay and maintains healthcare and retirement benefits.
Contract negotiations between UFCW Local 400 and Kroger began in early September, and a team of five Kroger employees led negotiations on behalf of the union. At a time when many retailers are cutting healthcare and retirement benefits, the unionized workforce successfully preserved their benefits while also winning wage increases. The workers attribute their success to weeks of public demonstrations held during the negotiation process.
“I think we made it clear to the company that we were willing to fight to protect our benefits,” said Tami Faulknier, a 34-year Kroger employee who served on the union negotiating team.
“Our customers were overwhelmingly supportive and I think that helped a lot,” said Allen Nuckels, a Kroger grocery clerk from Oak Hill, West Virginia. “I lost count of how many times someone saw us at a rally and stopped to ask me, ‘Are you guys on strike? Because I won’t cross a picket line!’”
“These days, it is extremely rare to ratify a contract without losing a single benefit,” said UFCW Local 400 President Mark P. Federici. “I cannot overstate how much the support of Kroger customers and the rest of the community made a difference in these negotiations. Together, we were able to preserve healthcare and retirement benefits that thousands of hard-working men and women rely on.”
October 23, 2017
After months of negotiations, around 7,300 Food 4 Less workers in Southern California, who are members of UFCW Locals 8GS, 135, 324, 770, 1167, 1428 and 1442, ratified a new contract by an overwhelming margin on Oct. 17. The workers are employed at about 100 Food 4 Less stores throughout Southern California.
The new three-year contract protects our union-sponsored health and welfare and pension plans. The agreement also increases wages, and makes sure our members stay ahead of the minimum wage as it goes up either nationally, statewide, within the county, or locally.
“After six long months of bargaining, the seven locals coordinated together to bargain a great contract for our union family in Southern California,” said Bryan Wynn, director of Region 8. “They stood strong to fight back concessions and to protect the members at Food 4 Less, and I congratulate all of the local union presidents for their leadership and their staff. I’m proud of our members for standing up against our largest employer to make our union family stronger.”
October 2, 2017
Linden Hills Co-op workers in Minneapolis, who are members of UFCW Local 653, ratified their first union contract on Sept. 26. The three-year contract, which began on October 1, includes raises for all employees and paid time off. An overwhelming majority – 85 percent – of Linden Hills Co-op workers voted to join UFCW Local 653 in February of this year.
“By standing together and voting to approve this contract, we’ve improved our lives and jobs. We chose to do this because we’re committed to strengthening our co-op and community because no one deserves to be left behind or struggle alone,” said Evan Adams-Hanson, a front end floor coordinator.
“What we fought for and now have is so real and important to building the better lives we’ve earned and deserve. Our amazing co-op has become even more amazing because we’ll now be able to better serve our community and take care of our families,” said Tracie Lemberg, who works in health and body care.
“As a working parent, having a reasonable and flexible schedule that allows me to spend time with my kids is critical. Thanks to our new union contract, I won’t be penalized for taking time off to attend parent-teacher conferences or caring for my kids when they get sick,” said Heidi Souza, who works in the deli department
“Co-op values are union values, so we feel this contract will only make Linden Hills Co-op and the local community stronger,” said UFCW Local 653 President Matt Utecht. “I am inspired by the Linden Hills workers’ courage to stand up. Our union family is proud to help everyone at Linden Hills improve their workplace and raise standards for all retail workers in Minnesota.”
October 2, 2017
On Sept. 21, deli workers at Albertsons store #169 in Boise, Idaho, voted to join UFCW Local 368A by an overwhelming margin. The grocery and meat departments in the Albertsons store were already organized by UFCW Local 368A, and union members who work in the store and in neighboring stores in the Treasure Valley played a crucial role by standing in solidarity with the deli workers.
“We are really happy we can now sit down and negotiate with Albertsons over several issues we really care about,” said Andrew Cade, who has worked at the store’s deli since September of 2016. “For some time now, we have seen our coworkers in the same store enjoy the benefits of a union contract, such as affordable healthcare, and now we have a real opportunity to bargain for some of those same things.”
Joshua Barton, a frozen supervisor who served as the union’s observer during the election, noted union members’ encouragement was crucial in helping his coworkers stand for what they deserve.
“We have been talking to them during breaks and after shifts about the fact that they, too, have a right to organize and bargain for what they need, just the way we already do,” Barton said.
September 25, 2017
Safeway pharmacy technicians in both states were concerned about wage increases, and wanted better health care benefits. The workers in Wyoming were also concerned about being accredited for prior experience. Workers in both states wanted to join the rest of their coworkers for a voice on the job, and with this election, both stores are now wall to wall union.
September 19, 2017
After weeks of negotiations, UFCW Local 400 members who work at Shoppers Food & Pharmacy stores in Maryland and Virginia unanimously ratified a new contract on September 11. The three-year covers 2,500 workers and takes effect retroactively as of July 9, 2017, and expires on July 11, 2020.
The new contract increases starting pay, greatly improves wage scales, and provides for the same health insurance coverage and pension benefits without any additional employee contributions. The contract keeps successorship language, so members will remain employed and covered by their contract if Shoppers or any individual stores are sold. The contract also keeps seniority policies consistent with past practice, contrary to the company’s original demands.
“These talks were very difficult, but our members hung together and made this strong agreement possible,” said UFCW Local 400 President Mark P. Federici. “We came into this with specific goals. One was to change the hours progression to a monthly progression on the wage scale to get people raises faster than before. Another was to avoid any increase in members’ out-of-pocket health care costs, in contrast to what’s happening with most other employers. A third was to ensure proper pension funding. A fourth was to have a strong successorship agreement so our members will keep their jobs and contract if Shoppers is sold. And a fifth was to maintain seniority. Thanks to member activism, we achieved each of these goals.”
“The bargaining started on June 13th and ended August 24th, and there were a lot of blood and guts out there,” said Mike Rickord, a shop steward who works at Shoppers #2674 in Dumfries, Va., and served on the Contract Action Team. “We heard time and again the wishes of the members to keep everything we have, and we kept each and every one of our benefits, while increasing others. I can testify in front of God and country that this is an excellent contract for the next three years.”
“This was a long and drawn out fight with [Shoppers parent company] Supervalu,” said Diane Nokes, a Contract Action Committee member and shop steward at Shoppers #2625 in Manassas, Va. “I cannot tell you how many times they walked away from the table. We did our very best, worked long and hard, and got a good contract.”
“This is an excellent agreement,” said Debra Coleman, a Contract Action Team member and shop steward at Shoppers #2632 in Forestville, Md. “We worked hard from sunup to sundown, went to sleep and got up early to do it again. We are the union. Member participation was the key to everything.”
September 18, 2017
On August 25, 9,500 members of UFCW Local 1000 who work at Kroger stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth area ratified a new contract by an overwhelming margin. The UFCW Local 1000 members work as grocery clerks and in the front end of the store, as well as in the bakery, produce, and deli departments.
The three-year agreement includes substantial wage increases over 36 months. The contract protects health insurance benefits for employees, spouses, and children, as well as fuel clerks, and retirement benefits. The contract also improves language pertaining to grievances, progressive discipline, overnight premium, educational leave, personal holidays, transfers, minimum hours, shop stewards, discrimination, and new hire orientations.
September 18, 2017
On September 8, customer service workers at Albertsons store #126 in Emmett, Idaho, voted to join UFCW Local 368-A. The election was won by the workers by a 2 to 1 margin, and they join their coworkers in the rest of the store who already enjoy the benefits of a union contract with UFCW Local 368-A.
The workers decided to join UFCW Local 368-A so that they could have the ability to negotiate better wages and benefits, especially when it comes to health care. Now, these workers have a voice in the workplace, and will be able to sit down with company management and negotiate the better wages and benefits they have earned and deserve.
September 11, 2017
On August 28, members of UFCW Local 23 who work at Giant Eagle rallied for better wages in Pittsburgh. The workers were joined by Pittsburgh United and the United Electrical Workers.
The workers rallied in front of the store location on the south side of Pittsburgh to tell Giant Eagle to stop paying poverty wages and retaliating against employees who are simply trying to earn a living wage and provide for their families. The workers marched and chanted and stood together to tell the company to be the good corporate citizen they claim to be by valuing hard work with fair pay.
September 11, 2017
The three-year contract includes a health care plan that provides much better coverage than the company’s plan at a fraction of the cost, and wage increases. In addition, these workers will now have a grievance procedure, a defined pension plan, and all pharmacy technicians will have the opportunity to reach the certified pharmacy technician level and pay. With this new contract, the Safeway store in Loveland is now wall to wall union.