One of the benefits of union membership is being able to negotiate with your employer on equal footing. Rather than having to go to your boss as an individual and hope they are in the position to be able to do something about your concerns, union representation means there’s an organized and meaningful way to take worker concerns to the company and sit down and hammer out real, binding solutions.
The primary way this is achieved is through negotiating contracts between the company and the local union representing the workers, or what is often referred to as “collective bargaining.” UFCW members at several different locals recently demonstrated how standing together through this process can lead to better jobs and better security.
UFCW Local Members of UFCW Local 700 who work at Kroger stores in South Bend, Indiana, ratified a new contract on Nov. 1 that improves wages and protects benefits. The one-year contract covers about 800 workers in nine stores in the South Bend area.
The new contract helps to create a more secure future for Kroger workers and their families through regular, guaranteed wage increases. The agreement also protects pensions and quality, affordable health care, and includes contract language improvements.
“We are powerful when we stick together,” said UFCW Local 700 President Joe Chorpenning. “Together, we won a contract that increases wages, provides access to affordable health care, and protects retirement benefits for Kroger workers in South Bend.”
Members of UFCW Local 919 who work at Bob’s Discount Furniture stores in Connecticut ratified a new contract that also improves their wages and benefits. The three-year contract covers 70 sales professionals and office clericals at three stores in Manchester, Orange and Stamford.
The new contract, which marks the third agreement for the workers, gave zero concessions and includes wage increases and a zero percent increase on employee health and welfare costs. The office clerical staff will receive an 8 percent raise over the three-year life of the contract, with the first 3 percent retroactive to July 15, 2018. The new agreement also includes improved scheduling and seniority rights, especially when it comes to the distribution of overtime and much desired reduction on the amount of time workers can lose out on their earned commission when a customer returns a purchase.