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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.

UFCW Region 1 Locals Come Together to Support Mrs. Green’s Workers

MrsGreens-2-300x225UFCW and UFCW/RWDSU Locals 338, 371, 464-A, 888, 919, 1245, 1360 participated in UFCW Local 1500’s day of action on July 22 to support eight Mrs. Green’s Natural Market workers who are returning to work after being unlawfully fired. The day of action commemorated the workers’ victory, fighting back against a multi-national employer.

The eight workers were leading union supporters in a closely contested election to join UFCW Local 1500 in May 2013.  After just barely losing the election, in June 2013 the NLRB charged Mrs. Green’s with violating federal labor laws and illegally interrogating and intimidating employees during the weeks leading up to the union election. In the meantime, employees began to meet with local elected politicians to discuss the difficulties were facing every day at their job and how having a union voice would make their jobs better. In November 2013, the federal charges were settled and Mrs. Green’s agreed under federal order to create an intimidation free environment for their workers, and post a notice in their store for 60-days. 

In January 2014 during the 60-day settlement period, Mrs. Green’s unlawfully fired eight workers who were vocal UFCW supporters.  The workers had over 60 years of combined experience and some of them worked at the store for over 13 years. UFCW Local 1500 filed charges to the NLRB that Mrs. Green’s unlawfully fired the eight workers for supporting a union. In May 2014, NLRB Regional Director files a complaint against Mrs. Green’s after finding merit in UFCW Local 1500′s charges that the employees were unlawfully fired. Days after complaint is filed, CEO Robin Michel is forced to step down.

Since the firings in January, workers had been on a picket line in front of the store for over six months until the company settled and agreed to return the workers with back pay, days before a federal hearing on July 24, 2014. The charges were settled after Mrs. Green’s agreed to create a safe, intimidation free atmosphere, and post a federally issued notice on workers’ right to organize.

“We’re happy to be returning to work and could not have done it without the support from the community. The last time we worked inside the store, Mrs. Green’s illegal treatment of us led to the most difficult times in our lives, so thank you all for your support!” said Yesica Mendez, one of the eight unlawfully fired workers who returned to work on July 22.

 

UFCW Local 75 Members in Ohio Approve New Kroger Contract

L75-Kroger-Contract1-300x225UFCW Local 75 members in Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio, Kroger stores have voted to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement. The new contract merges the formerly separate Cincinnati and Dayton contracts.

Through the hard work of the members of the Cincinnati and Dayton Bargaining Committee, and by sticking together through the negotiations process, members were able to reach an agreement that guarantees annual wage increases; protects quality, affordable health care; strengthens contract language; and preserves full-time jobs.

The new contract:

  • Creates more bargaining power and work opportunities for members. By merging the Cincinnati and Dayton contracts into one agreement, members have more opportunity for promotion and transfer, and one set of work rules for all stores in the area. The merged agreement protects and provides full-time jobs over the life of the agreement, in an increasingly part-time industry.
  • Secures affordable, quality health care. Members have more options for health care and may take advantage of lower weekly contributions by completing biometric screenings. Spousal coverage is maintained through the spouse’s employer provided, ACA qualified benefits; other spouses continue to have coverage through the union contract. Part-time members retain access to health care benefits.
  • Provides wage increases and wage parity. The contract provides guaranteed wage increases each year over term; increase amounts vary depending on classification. There will also be wage parity between Cincinnati and Dayton by the end of the agreement. The bracket progressions have been reduced so members can get raises more quickly, and have been adjusted to reflect an increasing minimum wage.
  • Guarantees pension benefits. Members of UFCW Local 75 are part of the UFCW Consolidated Pension Fund, ratified in 2011. Pension benefits are guaranteed for ten years, until 2021.