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UFCW Local 400 Shoppers Workers Ratify New Agreement

Local-400-Shoppers1-300x168Last week, UFCW Local 400 members working at Shoppers Food & Pharmacy overwhelmingly ratified a new, three-year collective bargaining agreement that increases their wages and maintains their health and retirement security.

The contract culminates a months-long, difficult round of bargaining that required multiple extensions of the old agreement to resolve complex issues, many of which revolved around increased costs imposed by the Affordable Care Act. The workers’ success was due to a sustained campaign that mobilized support from Shoppers customers and the community, with members of the bargaining advisory committee visiting every store in the area.

“Because our Shoppers members stayed strong throughout this challenging process, they won a collective bargaining agreement that improves their standard of living and keeps their comprehensive health and pension benefits,” said Local 400 President Mark P. Federici. “This is a solid contract that compares well to others in the industry, and it’s testimony to the power of member activism. It also gives our members one more thing to be thankful for two days from now.”

“It took a lot of hard work, but we stuck together in solidarity, and it all paid off,” said Jose Mercado who works at Shoppers #2615. “I think it’s a fair and good contract.”

“I feel good about the contract,” said Kevin Freeman of Shoppers #2618. “We touched base on all the issues people had in the stores and it was a good outcome. I was really glad to be on the bargaining team—it was a great group. Now we just have to keep moving forward.”

“We earned this contract through our actions in the stores,” said Chartel Scott, who works at Shoppers #2653. “I’m proud of the strength we showed through this long process.”

“Together with our union leadership we stuck together, didn’t give up, and got the best deal possible,” said Keith DeWitt, who works at Shoppers #2646. “Our hard work has paid off.”

Key provisions of the contract include:

  • Guaranteed wage increases of up to 90 cents/hour over three years, with all of the agreement’s financial benefits coming in the form of permanent raises rather than one-time bonuses.
  • Increased employer contributions to fully fund pension benefits.
  • Health care maintenance of benefits, which ensures that Shoppers will contribute whatever is necessary to the health care fund to pay all benefits.
  • Spouses will continue to be covered under the health benefit plan.
  • Overtime will continue to be paid for work exceeding eight hours in any day.
  • Sunday will continue to be treated as separate from the basic work week.

The agreement, which affects 2,500 workers in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, takes effect retroactively as of July 13, 2014, and it expires on July 8, 2017.

Bloomingfoods Workers Win Voice on the Job with Local 700

photo-51-300x225In an accelerated, fair process marked by company neutrality and community involvement, around 250 workers across five Bloomingfoods Coop grocery stores and a commissary that supplies ready-made food have chosen a real voice at work with UFCW Local 700.

Bloomingfoods workers had reached out and asked UFCW members for help in getting their company to remain neutral and let them have a free and fair choice to join a union. With your help, the company committed to a fair process and the workers overwhelmingly voted to join with their fellow grocery workers in Local 700.

“Bloomingfoods is part of what I love most about Bloomington,” said Casie Jetter, a Bloomingfoods commissary worker. “I want the co-op to remain strong and successful so that my daughter can some day shop at the same co-op that has remained a staple in our community. Bringing a union to Bloomingfoods will put our co-op one more step ahead of competition in an increasingly competitive market.”

In addition to the hard work of UFCW activists and members across the country, members of UFCW 700 and 23 worked hard to support the efforts of the organizing workers on the ground.

“This marks the end of our unionizing campaign,” member owner and employee Kaisa Goodman said. “But this is just the beginning of our contract campaign…one thing has ended, but something bigger is about to begin.”

Member Spotlight: John Cevasco

In this week’s member spotlight, we’re highlighting UFCW Local 1459 Member John Cevasco.

photo 3John works in the grocery department at Greenfield’s Market of Franklin Community Co-op in Greenfield, Massachusetts.

This is John’s 17th year working at the co-op. Throughout his time there, he has enjoyed educating other members about dietary options offered at the co-op to consider for their health and wellness needs.

Three years ago, John and some of his fellow coworkers formed an organizing committee in order to form a union in their workplace, in order to have a real democratic voice on the job.

Ever since, John has continued to be an active member of his bargaining committee, in which he and his coworkers have won paid holidays, wage increases, and improved job security by sticking together and ratifying their first contract.

In his spare time, John is now visiting with neighboring co-ops and their workers in order to share the good news and talk about the difference that  having a voice on the job with a union really makes.

Keep up the great work John!

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