News and Updates
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.
August 28, 2017
On August 23, UFCW International President Marc Perrone sent a letter to Whole Foods CEO John Mackey and the entire Whole Foods Board of Directors, calling on them to take specific steps to protect the jobs, wages, and benefits of employees who may be negatively impacted by Amazon’s acquisition of the company. Amazon’s $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods was finalized on Monday, August 28.
The letter states:
“Realistically, we expect shareholders to approve of your company’s merger with Amazon. Our union family’s only hope is that you will consider the well-being of every employee who works inside your stores. These hard-working men and women are not numbers on a balance sheet; rather, they have families to support and lives to build. They may not matter much to you or Amazon, but they matter to us.”
Perrone also made clear the risks for Whole Foods if they fail to do what is right:
“The question now is whether shareholders and the Board of Whole Foods will consider the loss of Whole Foods jobs and the brand impact once customers realize Amazon has sacrificed these workers – the very people who made Whole Foods stores so successful.”
You can read the entire letter here.
August 28, 2017
On August 23, Quality Food Center (QFC) Clicklist workers in Sammamish, Wash., voted to join UFCW Local 21. Based in Bellevue, Wash., QFC is a supermarket chain owned by The Kroger Co., and Clicklist is Kroger’s online grocery service.
The six new UFCW Local 21 members fulfill the online orders for QFC, and load and deliver the groceries. They joined UFCW Local 21 because they were concerned about shift protections. A union contract means they can’t be sent home if Clicklist work is slow, and they will be able to help out in other areas of the store.
UFCW 21 represents nearly 21,000 grocery workers in Washington State, including 4,342 QFC workers.
April 17, 2017
Al Garnett, a UFCW Local 328 shop steward who works as a produce manager at Stop & Shop in Harwich, Mass., was awarded the 2017 Retail Produce Manager Award from the United Fresh Produce Association on March 6. This prestigious award is granted each year to 25 of the industry’s top retail produce managers from across the country and Canada.
This program, which is co-sponsored by Dole Food Co., recognizes top retail produce managers for their commitment to fresh produce, innovative merchandising, increased sales and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, community service, and customer satisfaction.
Garnett began his career over 25 years ago and has been a UFCW Local 328 shop steward for most of that time. In Harwich, Garnett is a recognizable face and enjoys building lasting relationships with both customers and coworkers. As a shop steward, he has taken a proud role in educating his coworkers about the importance of the union and making sure that the contract is enforced.
The award winners will be honored at the United Fresh 2017 Expo in Chicago in June. You can learn more about Garnett and what this award means to him here.