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Bay Area Grocery Workers Unionize in Historic First for Safeway Drivers on Frontlines of COVID-19, Protecting Food Access for Thousands of Californians As Virus Infections Skyrocket

January 8, 2021 Updated: July 15, 2021

Union Victory Comes As Company Pushes to Fire Thousands of Grocery Delivery Drivers Across the State in Shift to DoorDash After Prop. 22 

HAYWARD, CA — Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5, which represents 30,000 food and retail workers across the Bay Area, announced a historic victory for a group of Safeway grocery delivery drivers who became the first at the company to unionize. This comes as Albertsons, parent company of Safeway, announced plans to fire thousands of non-union grocery drivers in California who are a critical lifeline, protecting food access for those who are high-risk or quarantining as COVID-19 cases skyrocket statewide.

UFCW Local 5 President John Nunes released the following statement:

“Today is a powerful victory for these Safeway grocery drivers who are bravely serving on the frontlines of this pandemic, putting their own health at risk to ensure Bay Area families have the food they need during this crisis.

“With this week’s news that Safeway and Albertsons are capitalizing on the passage of Prop. 22 to fire thousands of their non-union grocery drivers, there has never been a more important time for these essential workers to have the power of a union behind them. 

“As the union for thousands of Bay Area grocery workers, UFCW5 is standing with these brave men and women to ensure they have the protections they need as they continue to keep our food supply secure amid this new COVID-19 surge impacting millions of Californians.”

BACKGROUND:

Today’s vote by 250 Safeway.com grocery delivery drivers was overwhelmingly approved with 88 percent in favor, securing a new union contract that includes a wide range of protections and benefits:

  • Guaranteed minimum hours for full-time workers (32 hours)
  • Limits on the use of 3rd-party applications like DoorDash
  • Increase in employer contributions from Safeway for healthcare benefits 
  • Creation of a driver-led health and safety committee
  • Raise in the salary cap from $19 per hour to $22 per hour

Chris Chavez, a driver for Safeway.com who was among the grocery workers voting to unionize with UFCW5 today, said, “With the ratification of this contract, we were able to increase our benefits and hours and protect our jobs in this uncertain time.”

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United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5 represents a highly diverse group of laborers. We are supermarket stockers, retail clerks, food processers, financial professionals and cannabis cultivators.  As members of UFCW5, we speak in a clear, progressive and unified voice—30,000 strong. We take pride in what we do. And we do it all with a human touch.  Headquartered in Hayward—with local offices stretching from Salinas to Eureka—UFCW5 advocates for the hard-working men and women of Northern California. We ensure our members receive fair wages, ample benefits and maintain a healthy work-life balance.Learn more about the UFCW at ufcw.org