News and Updates
September 14, 2016
On September 7, the St. Paul City Council passed the Earned Sick and Safe Time Ordinance by a vote of 7-0, joining Minneapolis and dozens of other cities nationwide that mandate earned sick leave. Members of UFCW Local 1189 played a big role in the passage of this legislation.
“The ability to earn and use sick time in the city of St. Paul is a huge step toward creating healthier workplaces and healthier lives,” said UFCW Local 1189 President Jennifer Christensen. “I am proud of the tireless work done by our state’s unions. Bennie Hesse, Local 1189 legislative and political director, was a leader in the crusade, working with Union Steward (and Executive Board Member) Dennis Reeves to provide important testimony to the city council on the need for paid sick and safe time for grocery workers.”
Members of UFCW Local 1189 served on a task force put together by the city council and mayor for a year and worked with a coalition of advocates and other labor groups to raise awareness about this issue. The Earned Sick and Safe Time Ordinance takes effect on July 1, 2017 for businesses in St. Paul with at least 24 employees. Smaller businesses will have to comply by Jan. 1, 2018.
July 20, 2016
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 19, 2016
The RWDSU/UFCW is part of the New York Union Child Care Coalition, a group of unions that developed and promoted the Child Care Facilitated Enrollment Project to help provide affordable child care for working families in the state. By working with New York State Senators Jeff Klein and Diane Savino, the RWDSU/UFCW was instrumental in helping to establish the program.
And RWDSU/UFCW members are starting to benefit. Elsa Barrera is a Local 1102 member and a mother of three. On top of her dedication to raising her three children, Elsa also works full-time at Flying Foods – an airplane food service supplier – at JFK airport. Barrera has received a grant from the program, and will be able to send two of her children to a camp program for the summer at nearly no cost. This support will help Elsa make ends meet and help her children receive the care and security they deserve.
“Workers like Elsa are truly deserving of this kind of grant,” said RWDSU/UFCW Deputy Political Director Jessica Garcia. “This program will help many others provide for their families while ensuring their children get quality care.”
Other RWDSU/UFCW members at Macy’s and H&M have also seen their child care costs drastically reduced thanks to the program.
July 13, 2016
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 12, 2016
Last week, workers at the Transdev company in Essex County, New Jersey, ratified their first RWDSU/UFCW contract by an overwhelming margin. The Transdev workers include minibus and van drivers, along with schedulers and reservationists, who transport seniors in Essex County.
The Transdev workers joined the RWDSU/UFCW last year to address an unaffordable health care program, low wages, and limited time off with benefits. The new contract addresses these issues.
The agreement increases wages of the lowest-earning workers by $1.45 an hour incrementally in an 18 month period. Other workers will see increases between $1 and $1.50 per hour. The employees – who, prior to negotiations, only had 40 hours of paid time off – will now receive up to 128 hours of paid time off.
“The concept of a union was all new to me. I had an opportunity to sit at the bargaining table as an equal with management and discuss the concerns of the drivers. At the end of the negotiations, we made several improvements that could be measured,” said Transdev employee Tawana Smith.
July 7, 2016
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.”