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Local 400 Police Officers Support Special Olympics with Polar Bear Plunge

Last week, Local 400 members from the Annapolis Police and Takoma Park Police participated in the Police Plunge to support Special Olympics Maryland.

The officers joined nearly 800 participants in the event on Friday, January 25, as part of the Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge taking place last week.

The frigid dives into the Chesapeake Bay raised hundreds of thousands of dollars overall, while the Annapolis Police Department alone raised more than $12,000 in about 12 hours. All proceeds benefit athletes with Special Olympics Maryland.

67 Kroger Leads Upgraded to Full-Time

Garret Wahl, Lead Nutrition Clerk at Kroger #753 in Parkersburg, said he was “completely ecstatic” when he learned his job was becoming full-time.

Local 400 Led Push for Better Hours, Pay & Benefits in W.V.

Sixty-seven Local 400 members working as Lead Clerks at Kroger in West Virginia received an early Christmas present from their Union when they were upgraded to full-time status thanks to an agreement between the Company and Local 400.

As of December 16, 2018, all Lead Clerks were guaranteed a minimum of 40 hours a week and full-time benefits, increasing their financial, health and retirement security.

“I was completely ecstatic,” said Garrett Wahl, Lead Nutrition Clerk at Kroger #753 in Parkersburg, upon learning that his job would be full-time. “I knew I would not have gotten that without the help of my Union.”

Garrett started at Kroger in August 2018. He was originally hired to be on the night crew, but worked mostly as a stocker until becoming Relief Nutrition Clerk. He was promoted to Lead in December and now is very happy to be receiving full-time pay and benefits. “My union looks out for its members,” he said.

Local 400 West Virginia Director Bryan Bond had heard from members across the state that lead jobs deserve full time hours, pay, and benefits and decided to rectify the situation. Kroger management, in turn, recognized that the part-time status of some Lead Clerk positions were hampering the company’s ability to recruit and retain qualified workers and recognized that the upgrade was in its own best interest, too.

“I said to Kroger, ‘How can someone be leading their department if they’re not there because they’re part-time,” Bryan explained. “The company agreed and we achieved a positive resolution for all concerned.”

New $1.00 Night Premium for Kroger Roanoke Associates

Photo via Flickr

We are pleased to announce that UFCW Local 400 and Kroger have negotiated changes in your union contract to provide new incentives for associates working overnight under the Roanoke union contract – including night crew.

An hourly premium of $1.00 will be paid in addition to the base rate of pay for associates working overnight (including night crew) as well as full-time employees in the Meat Department working overnight. The new premiums took effect December 16, 2018 and extend through the life of the union contract.

The precise contract language is as follows:

Article 14.21 shall be changed to read, “A night premium of $1.00 per hour shall be paid for night work performed between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., including grocery night stock clerks. This is separate from and in addition to the employee’s straight time hourly rate. When a clerk is scheduled to work fifty percent (50%) or more of the scheduled work shift between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., the employee will receive the night premium for the entire shift.”

Article 14.22 shall be changed to read, “In the Meat Department, a night premium of one dollar ($1.00) per hour shall be paid for work performed by full-time employees between 9:30 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. on a night shift, such shift not to begin before 9:30 p.m. (except that a night shift may be started at 9:00 p.m. or after on Sunday and holiday nights and the time and one-half (1- 1/2) will not apply). When a night shift employee is scheduled to work fifty percent (50%) or more of his scheduled work shift between 9:30 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., he will receive the night shift premium for his entire shift.

The established night premium will be in effect until the expiration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement which expires on June 6, 2020.

Deadline Extended! Kroger Open Enrollment for 2019 Health & Welfare Benefits

We are pleased to inform you that open enrollment for health care benefits in 2019 has been extended through December 20, 2018 for Kroger associates covered by one of our union contracts.

Everyone currently enrolled must re-enroll by no later than December 20, 2018 – even if you have no coverage changes.

You may enroll online through the secure website (instructions below) or return your paper form by December 20, 2018.

Also, for Kroger associates in the West Virginia division, the physical form deadline has been extended to February 1, 2019. Discounts will be applied after proof of physical is received.

To enroll online:

  1. Go to https://memberxg.gobasys.com/CARDAY
  2. First time users click Create Account and complete the requested information.
  3. From the website, click on the Open Enrollment Icon from the dashboard and complete the requested information.

Or call the Fund Office for an application form:

304-343-7682 or 1-866-343-7682 or 1-800-654-5038

Nov 29: Bestway Silver Spring Contract Vote

On Thursday, November 29, 2018, we will be holding a contract vote for Bestway members working at the location in Silver Spring.

As a Local 400 union member, you have the opportunity to get answers to your questions and vote on your next contract. Please make a plan to vote. Voting will be open from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Bestway Silver Spring Contract Vote

Thursday, November 29, 2018
Voting is open from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

El Golfo Restaurant
8739 Flower Avenue, Silver Spring, MD

Nov 16: DanChem Technologies Contract Meetings

We are pleased to announce that we have reached a tentative agreement with DanChem Technologies that we are prepared to recommend for ratification. On Friday, November 16, 2018, we will be hosting two contract meetings for members to review the offer.

As a Local 400 union member, you have the opportunity to get answers to your questions and vote on your next contract. Please make a plan to attend one of these important contract meeting. (You only have to attend one meeting.)

DanChem Technologies Contract Meetings

Friday, November 16, 2018
7:30 a.m. or 7:30 p.m. (You only have to attend one meeting.)

Courtyard Marriott
2136 Riverside Dr. Danville, VA 24540

Nov 4: Macy’s Contract Meeting

The Macy’s Bargaining Committee – pictured left to right: Bianca Morris (Marlow Heights), Arleetta Hunter (Montgomery Mall), Mary Burns-O’Connor (Bowie), Kimberly Mitchell (Metro Center), Lewis Mattison (Montgomery Mall)

On Sunday, November 4, 2018, we will be hosting a contract meeting for members working at Macy’s.

As a Local 400 union member, you have the opportunity to get answers to your questions and vote on your next contract. Please make a plan to attend this important contract meeting.

Macy’s Contract Meeting

Sunday, November 4, 2018
8:00 a.m.

UFCW Local 400
First Floor Meeting Room
8400 Corporate Drive, Landover, MD 20785
(Please access meeting room at the rear of the building.)

Nov 1: Smithfield Foods Newport News Contract Meeting

The team negotiating a new contract on behalf of the union included Maurice Browder, Dennis Hughes, Ronny Parsons, and Anthony Randolph, as well as Local 400 Bargaining Director Chris Hoffmann, Bargaining Representative John Lee, Regional Director Donna Waddell, and Representative Lavern Wrenn.

On Thursday, November 1, 2018, we will be hosting two contract meetings for members working at Smithfield Foods Newport News.

As a Local 400 union member, you have the opportunity to get answers to your questions and vote on your next contract. Please make a plan to attend one of these important contract meeting. (Please note: you only have to attend one meeting.)

Smithfield Foods Contract Meeting

Thursday, November 1, 2018
8:00 a.m. or 4:00 p.m. (you only have to attend one meeting)

Residence Inn
531 St Johns Rd, Newport News, VA 23602

22-Year Kroger Member Triumphs Over Adversity

Margie Landers poses with her 20-year service award from Kroger.

To say that Margie Landers has never had it easy is an understatement.

Twenty-two years ago, she was living in a homeless shelter in Amadaville, W.Va. and she was determined to make it on her own. During the year she lived in the shelter, she took GED classes, and classes in accounting and bookkeeping. She also got a job as a cashier at Kroger #725 in St. Albans.

Without a car or driver’s license, Margie had to walk the nearly two miles from her shelter to Kroger every working day, but she was grateful to have a job and income.

“The woman who ran the shelter—we called her ‘Grammy’—she never gave up on me,” Margie recalled. “She even helped me get my driver’s license, which made it easier to get to work and keep my job. If not for her, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Not long after joining Kroger, Margie was able to get a place of her own. She also received her certificate in accounting and bookkeeping. And she stayed at Kroger #725, becoming full-time in 2007 and doing almost every job in the store outside of the Meat Department. “I’ve been backup dairy, head produce for a year, backup deli, you name it,” she said. Today, Margie is assistant front-end manager.

However, she recently had a huge scare. One day in August, the head front-end manager was off work, so Margie was to receive an upgrade in pay for the day. It was also the day that payroll was to be transmitted, and she wanted to make sure she was paid the proper amount, but an employee cannot adjust her own pay. So Margie got another employee’s ID and password and made the entry.

“This had been going on for years,” Margie said, “so I didn’t think anything of it. And my entry was correct—I wasn’t trying to get more than I was owed.”

Unfortunately, a co-manager witnessed the event. Rather than tell Margie she wasn’t allowed to use another employee’s ID and password, he said nothing, let her do it and then reported it to the manager. She was immediately suspended.

“When it happened, I filed a grievance,” Margie said. “I was freaking out. This is my first job and I’d never done anything wrong until now. It was insane. I could have lost everything—my home, my car, my dogs.

“But I also got statements from two employees that this had been happening for years and no one had ever done anything about it until now,” she said. “My shop steward, Kelly Snyder, was awesome, and so was Gary Southall, my representative. They know I’m a person of my word.”

When the grievance reached the second stage, Margie’s evidence—plus her moving testimony about how much her 22 years at Kroger meant to her, how far she had come, and how she would never do it again—won the day. After three weeks, she got her job back as assistant front end manager.

“Ever since I’ve been back, my attitude’s changed,” Margie said. “I’m so grateful to have my job and so grateful for what my union has done for me.”

Margie has always made a point of attending ratification meetings and staying informed about union affairs. She has also found her Local 400 sisters and brothers to be an endless source of support over her 22 years at Kroger, during which time she endured far more adversity.

“I lost my son in 2003 when I was here,” Margie said. “Two years later, my mom passed away. More recently, my fiancé passed away. Kelly has been with me all 22 years and she has been my rock, along with so many other co-workers. They’ve been amazing—tremendously supportive—every step of the way.

“It’s been crazy, but it’s made me who I am today,” she said.

Shop Steward Opens Her Home to Struggling Coworkers

Bernadette Hopkins-Christian (right) poses for a photo with fellow shop steward Christine Mitchell after both received awards in recognition of their service.

It was in the Winter of 2013. The weather was brutally cold and snow was on the ground. A young woman working in the salad bar at Giant #123 in Temple Hills, Md., had fallen on hard times and lost her home. Fortunately, her shop steward was Bernadette Hopkins-Christian.

“I walked up to her,” Bernadette said, “and asked, ‘Where are you going to stay tonight? It’s cold, you can’t stay outside.’ I told her she can stay at my home—we have an extra room in the basement with a bathroom. She lived with us for two and a half years. Now, she’s doing well. She has her own apartment with a friend and is back on her feet.”

Bernadette, who works as a cashier at Giant #123, wasn’t done with her extraordinary acts of generosity. When another co-worker found himself in a similar situation, she put him up in her Clinton, Md. home for a year.

Most recently, Bernadette opened her home to a third co-worker for a year and a half, before she was able to get housing and live independently.

“I take people in all the time,” Bernadette said. “We’ve lived in our house for 18 years and it’s only been just our family for one year. I have a very loving family and I commend them for putting up with my shenanigans. At one point, my son asked me to promise not to take in anyone else, and I said, ‘I can’t promise you that. If someone doesn’t have a place to go, I’m going to try to help them.’

“This is what my calling is,” she explained. “The family and friends we took in have their own places now and it feels good to know they’re doing well. It’s a blessing for them and for us. It’s just the right thing.”

Bernadette takes the same approach in her work as shop steward at Giant #123.

“They call me the Mama Bear in the building,” she said. “If someone’s hungry and doesn’t have enough food to eat, we’ll make sure someone buys them lunch. I take to heart being a steward. I care probably more than I should.

“We have a lot of new managers, so I spend a lot of time putting out fires,” Bernadette noted. “I give guidance and direction every day. I talk to members every day, especially new hires. We have to nurture them—we have to make sure they know what their rights are, what the policies are, what’s in the contract, because management won’t be telling them that.”

Bernadette has always been active in her union and was a member of the Contract Action Team during bargaining in 2016, organizing and participating in rallies and store actions. “It was exciting and very moving to be involved,” she said. “You don’t think people pay attention, but our customers sure did, because we are their families, too.”

In July, Bernadette traveled to Norfolk to speak at a rally for Kroger members whose store was threatened due to the company’s purchase of the Fresh Farm chain, which had its own store located directly across the street. “These companies just want to snuff people’s livelihood away,” she said. “Local 400 members have given up holidays, children’s functions and family functions to make these companies successful. For these companies to think they can wipe these people out and leave them with nothing, it is heart-wrenching to see. To move a store right across the street was such a slap in the face. All of us have to fight for all of our members.”

With 28 years working for Giant, Bernadette calls herself and her family, “Local 400 grown.” Her sister works at Giant #123 as a pharmacy technician. Her son, who is 21 and in college, worked at Giant from the time he was 16 and worked over the summer through his freshman year. And her husband, Terrence Christian, Sr., is grocery manager at Giant #2381 in Washington, D.C. Her daughter is the only exception.

“Whatever I’m able to do for my Local 400 sisters and brothers, I get back a thousand-fold,” Bernadette said. “My parents both passed away within three months of one another, and the support we got from our fellow members was just phenomenal. Thanks to them, we were able to say goodbye to my parents in the right way. There are so many good people at Giant and in our union, it’s wonderful.”