August, 2004

New UFCW Contract Raises Living Standards for Dakota City Workers

(Dakota City, NE) – Members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union Local 222 turned out today to vote their approval for the agreement covering 3,000 workers at the Tyson Dakota City plant.

The new UFCW contract brings an immediate 60 cent increase in the base wage for production and slaughter employees, with a $1.55 increase over the term of the contract, making the pay among the best in the beef industry.   Maintenance workers will also receive substantial pay increases.

Highlights of the new agreement include:

  • Guaranteed wage increases totaling $1.55;
  • Establishes standard of a minimum 36 hours a week;
  • An additional week of vacation;
  • Improved health benefits, including adding vision, long-term disability, retiree coverage and a supplemental Medicare plan;
  • Increased retirement savings through additional employer 401(k) contributions and added stock options for employees.
  • Maintained overtime pay rates;
  • Increased funding for multi‑cultural fund that provides resources for programs such as safety training in Spanish and English-as-a-Second Language classes; and
  • Provides a clear attendance record for all employees (no disciplinary action based on past absences.)

“The solidarity and determination of UFCW members gave us the strength at the bargaining table to win a groundbreaking contract that will improve the living standards for thousands of Dakota City families.  The entire community will benefit as workers have more money to spend in our local economy,” said Marv Harrington, President of UFCW Local 222.  “Solidarity works and solidarity wins for everyone.”

 

 

Canada Wal-Mart Workers Stand Up for a Voice on the Job

QUEBEC CITY, QUEBEC    - A Wal-Mart located in Jonquière, Quebec, Canada is on its way to becoming the only unionized Wal-Mart in North America after a ruling on Monday by the Quebec Labour Relations Board (QLRC) to grant employees union certification with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Canada.

The union accreditation was issued by the QLRC after a majority of employees at the store signed UFCW Canada membership cards.  QLRC adjudicator Jocelyne Houle stated that, “the applicant is representative, as required by law.”  A hearing has been scheduled for August 20th to finalize the specific definition of which employees will have the right to union representation.

“The Quebec certification shows that when workers’ rights are protected, Wal-Mart workers will exercise those rights for a voice at work.   Our challenge is to make sure that governments protect workers rights across Canada, the U.S. and around the world,” said Joseph Hansen, UFCW International President and President of the Union Network International, a global trade federation representing 16 million workers in 100 countries.

Today’s Labour Board victory is the latest in a series of organizing drives at Wal-Mart stores throughout Canada.  Currently UFCW Canada has other applications pending for Wal-Mart stores in Weyburn and North Battleford, Saskatchewan; in Terrace, British Columbia, in Thompson, Manitoba; and in Brossard, Quebec where a majority of workers have sought UFCW representation.

The Quebec store will be the first wall-to-wall Wal-Mart store where workers successfully chose union representation.  Meat department workers in the Jacksonville, Texas, Wal-Mart Supercenter voted for UFCW representation in 2000. Wal-Mart refused to bargain with the workers, despite orders from the National Labor Relations Board.  It also eliminated the meat department in Jacksonville and across the country in an attempt to scare workers from standing up for a voice on the job.

Wal-Mart stated publicly that it supports workplace democracy and that it would not close the store because workers chose a union.   The UFCW Canada looks forward to sitting down to negotiating a first contract without delay.

UFCW Canada website