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President Obama, Flanked by UFCW Member, Pushes to Expand Overtime Pay

President Obama ordered the Department of Labor to expand federal rules so that more salaried workers would be able to qualify for overtime pay. Currently, any salaried employee making more than $455 per week is not required to be given overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours in a week.

The current $455 per week salary threshold has failed to keep pace with inflation. It was $250 in 1975, equivalent to roughly $1,000 today. This expansion will give millions more workers across the nation the chance to earn extra pay when they do extra work.

UFCW Local 400 member Rob Trotter (standing in back with blue shirt and glasses) stands by as President Obama orders an expansion so more salaried workers qualify for overtime pay.

UFCW Local 400 member Rob Trotter (standing in back with blue shirt and glasses) stands by as President Obama orders an expansion so more salaried workers qualify for overtime pay.

UFCW Local 400 member Rob Trotter, a meat cutter at Giant in Annandale, Virginia, stood next to President Obama as he signed the memorandum.

“I have worked in retail for over 20years for an hourly wage,” he said. “I have depended upon overtime to pay school tuition for my children, or to get out from under a financial hardship. The opportunity to earn overtime has always been helpful and comforting to me.”

It is not yet clear by how much the salary threshold will increase. The President’s order instructs the Department of Labor to come up with an expansion plan following a period of input and study. With the stagnation of wages and the increase in corporate profits, actions like this give workers a better chance to provide for their families.

“There have been years when 20 percent of my income was comprised of overtime,” Trotter said. “Going above and beyond expectations at work takes a toll physically because you’re working harder and emotionally because you’re away from your family for a longer period of time. Every employer should fairly recognize and reward this sacrifice.”

Giant and Safeway Workers from UFCW Locals 27 and 400 Ratify New Contract Today

Giant and Safeway grocery workers from UFCW Locals 27 and 400 voted to ratify a new contract yesterday. The new contract will cover more than 22,000 grocery workers in the Northern Virginia, D.C., and Maryland area.

UFCW Local 400 Giant and Safeway grocery workers gathered at the D.C. Armory and voted to ratify a new contract.

UFCW Local 400 Giant and Safeway grocery workers gathered at the D.C. Armory and voted to ratify a new contract.

“We have showed the company we are strong and this contract reflects that,” said UFCW Local 400 Giant worker Maria Gomez.
The ratification votes follow a tentative agreement reached last week after the previous contract was extended twice.

Addressing Safeway workers at the voting, UFCW Local 400 President Mark Federici said,“Thank you to the membership for your patience in this bargaining process, especially in these complicated bargaining times. The strength and solidarity you and your brothers and sisters at Giant have shown to be powerful and instrumental in the bargaining talks.”

UFCW Local 400 Members Vote to Authorize Strike Against Giant

Fired up about management intransigence at the bargaining table, members of United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 400 yesterday voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike against Giant.

Their current contract originally expired on October 31st. It was extended for two weeks and has since been extended through December 20th, while bargaining takes place on a new agreement. Today’s vote does not mean that a strike will occur, but it sends a strong single to Giant that members will do whatever it takes to get a fair contract.

Giant and Safeway members voted to authorize union leadership to call a strike if necessary by a standing vote. Photo by Joe Coffin/Page One.

Giant and Safeway members voted to authorize union leadership to call a strike if necessary by a standing vote. Photo by Joe Coffin/Page One.

“Today, our members put Giant on notice that it is long past time to come to the table with a proposal that provides them with the security, respect and dignity they have more than earned,” said Local 400 President Mark P. Federici.

“We’re the ones making all their money and it’s about time they recognize that and start respecting us,” said Tasha Schrantz, a Local 400 member serving on the Bargaining Advisory Committee who works at Giant #749. “Now more than ever, we have a stand up together because actions speak louder than words.”

“We need to keep this momentum up, we have to stand together and we as union members need to actively support our decision by participating in store actions,” said LaWanda Nedd-Kea, a Bargaining Advisory Committee member who works at Giant #140.

“It’s our members whose hard work, unmatched productivity and outstanding customer service make Giant so profitable and the dominant grocer in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area,” Federici said. “All our members ask of management is a fair deal that reflects all they contribute to the bottom line. No one wants a strike, but if that is the only way to get a contract providing living wages and health and retirement security, that is what we will do.”

 

            UFCW Local 400 represents 40,000 members working in the retail food, health care, retail department store, food processing, service and other industries in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.