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UFCW Members in Southern Calif. Ratify New Agreement with Food 4 Less

Food-4-Less-300x200Members from UFCW Locals 8GS, 135, 324, 770, 1167, 1428, and 1442, have ratified a new three year agreement with the grocery chain Food 4 Less. The previous contract expired June 8 and workers were prepared to take a strike vote if necessary.

The agreement covers more than 6,000 grocery workers at 100 Food 4 Less stores. The new contract increases wages, protects pension plans, and maintains affordable healthcare.

Members reported that during negotiations, the company was pushing for changes that would undercut worker rights, including cutting the number of full-time jobs and cutting funding for healthcare expenses. Food 4 Less dropped its demands after seeing that employees were standing strong against any changes that could hurt workers.

Through social media, UFCW Local 135 President Mickey Kasparian credited the ratified contract to the “unwavering solidarity” of the membership, and thanked customers and the public for supporting Food 4 less workers during their contract campaign.

“Thanks to the support of consumers and our members’ resolve, we have reached a tentative contract deal that protects employees’ wages, hours, and health care. We would not have been able to accomplish this without the backing of the public and all our members,” said UFCW Local 770 President Rick Icaza.

Food 4 Less, owned by Kroger Co., was the last grocery chain in Southern California to reach a deal on a new contract. UFCW members have recently ratified contracts with all the major grocery operators in Southern California including Ralphs, Vons, Albertsons, Stater Brothers, Gelsons, and Super A.

UFCW Local 1776 Workers at JBS Ratify New Contract

JBS-1776-300x225This week, JBS workers in Souderton, Pa., overwhelmingly voted to accept a new five-year contract. The contract covers more than 1,100 workers.

Negotiations for a new agreement began last December. UFCW Local 1776 members bargained in solidarity for affordable health care and fair wage increases.  Many members participated in various chain activities leading up to ratifying the new contract.

“This year we have more people active and involved and taking part in the process.  We worked together to be effective and to work to satisfy all workers,” said Michelet Felix, UFCW Local 1776 JBS worker.

The five year agreement, which will expire in August 2019, includes affordable health care for employees and their families and significant wage increases for the full term of the agreement along with additional bonuses in the first year.  The agreement includes workers in two different units, the JBS slaughter and processing beef plant and the nearby JBS rendering facility.

Wendell W. Young, IV, President of UFCW Local 1776, said that the vote “can be accredited to the solidarity between UFCW members.”

Young continued: “There is no doubt that the strength and solidarity amongst the workers played a tremendous role in securing this contract. That solidarity stretched from JBS workers in other UFCW plants here in the United States to the global solidarity shown by union JBS workers in Brazil.  JBS workers recognize the value both chain and global unity has in achieving what they deserve.”

UFCW Members Hold Actions in Support of El Super Workers

El-Super1-300x200On July 23, hundreds of UFCW members and their supporters joined workers from El Super stores throughout Southern California in a bus tour that brought protests to 37 of the chain’s stores in a single day. Protests were held in support of El Super workers as they continue to fight for a good contract. Workers have been without a contract since September 27, 2013.

The day of action began in the early morning hours and culminated in hundreds attending a rally at El Super’s regional headquarters in Paramount, Calif., a largely Latino community about ten miles east of Los Angeles.

Members from UFCW Locals 135, 324, 770, and 1167, participated in the day of action that was designed to keep the pressure on El Super management as negotiations appear to have stalled weeks after the stores union employees voted for strike authorization in June.

Wages, paid sick days, and respect on the job have topped the list of issues that union negotiators have pushed hard to advance for months but have run into “a brick wall of indifference on the part of El Super management,” according to UFCW Local 324 Secretary-Treasurer Andrea Zinder.

Despite the company’s apparent unwillingness to compromise, workers at the chain’s union stores have not backed down. They have continued a near constant drum beat of pressure aimed at store management that has included everything from rallies in store parking lots to petition drives. Seven of the company’s 44 U.S. stores are union as a result of the Mexico-based retailer’s purchase of Gigante’ in 2008.