March, 2013

Stop & Shop Workers from Five UFCW Locals Ratify New Contracts

After several months of challenging bargaining, members of UFCW Locals 328, 371, 919, 1445 and 1459 at Stop & Shop, voted on Sunday to ratify new three-year contracts. The local unions were facing a tremendous amount of financial pressure to bring the five health care plans up to compliance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Under that pressure, the local unions worked in total unison and solidarity to craft creative solutions that invest resources back into workers’ paychecks and provide stability for our existing Taft-Hartley benefit plans.

The new contracts include:

• Wage increases per hour for full and part-time workers ranging from 95 cents to $1.62 over three years.

• Scheduling language that protects current part-timers working over 30 hours per week from any ACA-related pressure to cut hours.

• Mechanisms that keep part-time workers in the existing Taft-Hartley benefit plans for ancillary benefits while investing in health savings accounts for part-timers to use in conjunction with a plan on the state exchange.

• A number of new structures, depending on the collective bargaining agreement or state, for part-time, new hires to connect with their union for health coverage.

Ratification meetings were held in all five local unions this past weekend and the contract was overwhelmingly accepted by members across New England.

The five locals are a perfect example of what we can all achieve when we stick together in solidarity.

Grocery, Meat, CCK Workers from UFCW Local 555 Ratify New Contracts

Last week, grocery, meat and CCK workers in Oregon and southwest Washington who are represented by UFCW Local 555 ratified new contracts that improve health care benefits, increase wages and preserve pensions. A key part of the contracts improve health care benefits by merging the local’s health and welfare trust funds so that all UFCW Local 555 grocery, meat and CCK workers in Oregon and southwest Washington have the same health care benefits available to them. The new contracts cover 14,000 grocery, meat and CCK workers that are employed by Fred Meyer, Safeway, Albertsons and a number of independent employers.

“We are pleased that through the dedicated work of our negotiating team, we were able to present a comprehensive offer to our membership. While all contract negotiations represent compromise, I am confident that we stood our ground on our membership’s core issues and values,” said Dan Clay, president of UFCW Local 555.

Congratulations to all members on the new contract, and the hard-earned benefits it includes.

UFCW Joins UNI’s International Women’s Day March at the UN

Audra Makuch and Betty Wilson from Local 888 standing together for equality

Last week, we all celebrated International Women’s Day, giving thanks to the women who have made a difference in our lives.

This year, UNI Global Union participated in International Women’s Day by being a part of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York.  The theme of the commission this year deals with stopping violence against women and girls.  For International Women’s Day, UNI’s call was that women should be able to join a union without fear.

Volunteers from UFCW Region 1 and from the UFCW Women’s Network joined in the events to show their support.  UFCW Women´s network donated 500 folders to the event, and the Region 1 south network worked to get additional volunteers from the local unions, including Local 888, Local 1500, and RWDSU Local 338. Volunteers attended sessions and blogged about their experiences, hand-billed participants on UNI´s breaking the circle campaign and participated in the march.

The International Women’s Day march was hosted by the UN commission and UNI , to further support their cause, and show their solidarity with other  women around the world who were marching for equality. Those involved in the activities were also busy lobbying governments to stop violence against women and girls.

Volunteers from UFCW participate in the UN/UNI International Women’s Day march

As a labor union, standing up in solidarity to support all of our union brothers and sisters is so important.  No one should be made to fear retaliation or punishment for joining a union, or be submitted to harassment in the workplace for any reason, no matter what gender or race you are.

“We want women to be free from fear and have a voice in the work place and the only way we can ensure that happens is through union organizing. Women must have the right to join a union without fear of intimidation. This is the way we can create a safe environment at work which will have a positive effect at home too. We can break through the circle of inequality and violence,” said UNI Global Union General Secretary, Philip Jennings said, during last week’s events.  We couldn’t agree more!