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UFCW Local 876 Rite Aid Pharmacy Workers Ratify a New Agreement

Nearly 800 UFCW Local 876 Rite Aid Pharmacy workers voted to ratify a new agreement.

Nearly 800 UFCW Local 876 Rite Aid Pharmacy workers voted to ratify a new agreement.

Yesterday, UFCW Local 876 Rite Aid Pharmacy workers voted to ratify a new, three-year agreement.

The contract guarantees 7% wage increases for all members over the course of the contract and also protects pension and health care benefits, and preserves all current holiday, vacation, and personal days. Nearly 800 Rite Aid Pharmacy workers across 77 retail stores in Michigan are members of UFCW Local 876.

UFCW Local 75 Cincinnati Processing Workers Ratify Their First Contract

UFCW Local 75 workers at Cincinnati Processing, a plant that supplies pork products to Kroger stores in four states, ratified their first contract on March 26. Organizing at the plant was a multi-decade struggle for plant workers and the first contract marks the successful conclusion of that campaign.

The cutting of pork products used to the be the job of union butchers at Kroger stores across the Midwest. However, with the increasing role of case-ready meat, those jobs transitioned to further processing facilities like Cincinnati Processing. Workers began to organize at the plant in the 1990s. However, a prolonged legal battle kept these workers from forming their union.

Cincinnati BeefTheir struggle to have a voice at work at Cincinnati Processing continued for a decade, but ended with a successful vote in 2013. Since then, workers have been fighting hard to negotiate a good first contract. It took a unanimous strike vote, but the workers finally got a contract they could be proud of in their new union shop.

“With this contract we were able to improve our working conditions and win a voice on the job,” said Ignacio Huerta, a cutter at the plant for six years.  “I’m so proud of my coworkers for standing together and making this happen.”

El Super Workers Rally for a Fair Contract and to Raise Standards Across the Grocery Chain

UFCW El Super workers rally in Los Angeles to call on a fair contract for workers and better working conditions throughout the grocery chain.

UFCW El Super workers rally in Los Angeles to call on a fair contract for workers and better working conditions throughout the grocery chain.

More than 100 workers, labor leaders, community activists, students, and clergy members gathered outside a South Los Angeles El Super store last week to demand a fair contract for union grocery workers employed by the chain. Workers at seven El Super stores across California, Nevada and Arizona currently have a union voice on the job. The workers are fighting for a fair contract that will raise standards across the 45-store grocery chain.

“We would like the company to pay us sick leave and give us 40 hours a week – a real full time job,” said Fermin Rodriguez, a cashier and shop steward with UFCW Local 770. “All workers at El Super deserve to be healthy and that’s why we are asking for sick leave. We’re here to send a message to workers and families that we will keep fighting for you and won’t give up until we win. Every El Super worker deserves a fair contract.”

El Super workers represented by UFCW Locals 324, 770, 1167 and 1428 are part of a growing movement of unionized workers at ethnic markets. Rapidly expanding chains like El Super underscore the importance of union workers achieving fair contracts that set higher standards across the chain. While El Super only had 14 stores as recently as 2008, the chain now employs over 4,000 workers and is opening 5 to 6 stores in the U.S. each year.

Martin Ayala, who has worked as a meat clerk at El Super for five years, explained why he was marching: “We are fighting for our benefits and for our rights because the El Super company has rejected all of what we’ve asked for at the bargaining committee. We’re asking for sick days because it’s important – we come into work sick, which is not respectful for the workers or the customers. We are forced to work sick and we handle food, so this is not good.”

Among the issues that El Super has refused to address in bargaining are respect on the job, seniority rights, health benefits and a guarantee of 40 hours per week for full time workers. The Mexico-based retailer that owns 80 percent of El Super, Grupo Comercial Chedraui, took in $120 million in 2012, and co-President Alfredo Chedraui Obeso’s net worth was reported to be over $1 billion as of January 2013.