Collective Bargaining


New Contract for St. Louis and Eastern Missouri Grocery Store Workers

The contract ratification meeting where Local 655 members voted overwhelmingly to approve the contract.

The contract ratification meeting where Local 655 members voted overwhelmingly to approve the contract.

UFCW Local 655, a union of 10,500 members in St. Louis and eastern Missouri, successfully negotiated a contract for the next three years for workers at 104 locations of Dierbergs, Schnucks, and Shop n’ Save stores. The agreement includes a wage increase of 60 cents an hour over the three years, no reduction in benefits, and the ability to continue participation in the union’s health plan.

David Cook, the president of UFCW Local 655, announced that they “were able to address a number of our members’ key concerns” in some of what he called the most difficult negotiations he’s experienced while he’s been with the union. He cited the slow economic recovery, higher number of competitors, and new health care and pension laws as the primary reasons for the tough negotiations. Nevertheless, the vote reflected the success of Local 655’s efforts, with a 1,641-662 margin in favor of the 3-year agreement.

The new contract covers more than 9,000 union members throughout the area.

Bhang Chocolate Workers Ratify First Contract

Agreement Sets New Standards, Raises Floor for Cannabis Industry Workers

Bhang ChocolateOakland,CAWorkers at Bhang Chocolate, a cannabis chocolate company in Oakland, Calif., voted overwhelmingly yesterday to ratify their first union contract, becoming members of the 33,000 member-strong United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 5, which is based in San Jose, Calif.

“We’re working towards a better future and this new contract is just the beginning,” said Beny Valencio, a chocolatier who has worked at Bhang Chocolate for more than two years.

Among other significant gains and protections for workers in the cannabis industry, the newly ratified contract provides for wage increases, employer health care contributions, paid sick leave and vacation benefits.

UFCW Local 5 members work primarily in retail grocery and meat processing with growing numbers employed in department stores, retail drug stores, candy stores, jewelry stores, agriculture and food processing, wholesale meat, seafood processing, financial services, education and the cannabis industry among others.

“This union contract means everyone at Bhang Chocolate has a voice and everyone will be heard,” said Becky Strider who has worked as a packer at Bhang Chocolate for the past four years.

In the United States and Canada, UFCW is the union for workers in the cannabis and hemp industries. UFCW members in the cannabis industry work predominantly in dispensaries, coffee shops, bakeries, patient identification centers, hydroponics stores, and growing and training facilities.

Headquartered in Oakland, Calif., Bhang Chocolate, an award-winning cannabis chocolate company, is the premier medically infused chocolate company.


UFCW Local 5 is affiliated with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), which represents more than 1.3 million workers, primarily in the retail and meatpacking, food processing and poultry industries. Visit or to learn more about the UFCW’s effort to protect workers’ rights in the cannabis and hemp industries.



Members of UFCW Local 1161 Ratify New Union Contract with JBS

New union contract includes raises, maintains affordable, quality health care plan

photo (4)Worthington, Mn.
– Workers at the JBS pork processing facility in Worthington, Minnesota who belong to United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1161 have ratified a new union contract.

“This is a great agreement, not only for JBS workers but the entire Worthington community,” said Mike Potter, President of Local 1161. “This contract means that more than $23 million dollars will be pumped into the local economy over the next five years. Much of our time at the bargaining table was spent working to protect affordable, quality health care. Thanks to the unity of the union membership, and the solidarity shown to us by other UFCW local unions around the country, we were able to hammer out an agreement that keeps workers healthy at a cost that doesn’t threaten the family budget or the company’s ability to grow and make a profit. Negotiations were tough, but ultimately, this agreement shows that sticking together in a union means your voice is heard and respected at work.”

The new contract will:

  • Provide wage increases of 12.8% over the life of the five year agreement.
  • Include a retroactive pay increase for all hours worked since the expiration of the previous contract. The previous contract expired on June 30, 2013.
  • Maintain affordable health care costs for employees with only minor plan changes.
  • Establish a low-cost health care clinic in Worthington which means flexible, easily accessible health care to JBS employees with no cost for primary care (checkups, some treatments, minor procedures, and lab work) and low cost prescriptions and immunizations.
  • Improve paid leave for the death of a loved one.
  • Retain double time on Sunday and time and a half pay on 6th consecutive day worked.
  • Retain current 401 K plan.

More than 1,800 people work at the facility slaughtering hogs and processing and packaging pork products. Workers have been at the bargaining table for more than eleven months. In early May, in an effort to protect health care, workers authorized a strike if one became necessary. JBS workers from across the country also engaged in united actions designed to show JBS that preserving affordable health care was an important priority for their families.

The UFCW represents JBS workers at several other locations around the country. Workers are currently at the bargaining table in Greeley, Colorado; Souderton, Pennsylvania; Grand Island, Nebraska and Louisville, Kentucky. Workers in Omaha, Nebraska will begin negotiations in the coming months.



The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) represents more than 1.3 million workers, primarily in the retail and meatpacking, food processing and poultry industries. The UFCW protects the rights of workers and strengthens America’s middle class by fighting for health care reform, living wages, retirement security, safe working conditions and the right to unionize so that working men and women and their families can realize the American Dream. For more information about the UFCW’s effort to protect workers’ rights and strengthen America’s middle class, visit, or join our online community at and