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Congratulations to ABC Drawing Winner, Ashley Owens

Local 400 member Ashley Owens from Safeway #4205 in Washington, DC is the most recent winner of our Active Ballot Club drawing! Congratulations, Ashley!

All across the country, corporations and the ultra-wealthy are funneling unprecedented amounts of money into our political system. Their goal is to create an unbalanced and unfair economy where wages are as low as possible and profits replace respect for the workers that created them.

The UFCW Active Ballot Club (ABC) seeks to level the playing field. By bringing together thousands of workers, our political concerns can be amplified to a decibel that is impossible to ignore. ABC supports pro-worker candidates and incumbents from all political parties and is the prominent political action committee dedicated to the interests of UFCW members nationwide.

By joining ABC, active members are automatically entered to win a monthly drawing. Learn more about the UFCW Active Ballot Club and talk to your rep about signing up today!

Members Lead Fight for Maryland Earned Sick Leave Bill

A team of Local 400 members played a pivotal role in winning passage of the Healthy Working Families Act in Maryland.

Local 400 Shop Stewards Darlene Butler-Jones and Bill Osborn had never gone to Annapolis to meet with their state legislators, testified before the Maryland General Assembly or spoken out at rallies before. So when they were asked to help lead Local 400’s campaign to pass the Healthy Working Families Act, they were a bit taken aback. But after four months of working full-time to make paid leave a right for all Maryland workers, they were fired up and thrilled with the results.

“I wouldn’t trade it for a dime,” said Darlene, who is a meat cutter at Giant #347 in Largo. Bill, a dairy clerk at Giant #339 in La Plata, echoed her sentiments, saying, “It was a really enriching experience.”

Darlene, Bill and three of their Local 400 brothers and sisters played a pivotal role in winning passage of the legislation by a 29-18 vote in the Senate on March 16 and an 87-53 margin in the House on April 7. The bill would allow full-time and part-time workers at Maryland employers with 15 or more employees to earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to five full days per year for full-time workers, benefiting more than 510,000 Marylanders who are currently unable to earn paid sick leave.

Darlene Butler-Jones (left) poses for a photo with a fellow Local 400 member. Darlene was part of a team of union members gathered support for the Healthy Working Families Act in Maryland.

For Darlene, this was personal. “When I started work at Giant 20 years ago, I was widowed with young children,” she said. “I had no sick leave. When my children came home with bumps and bruises or when they got sick, I had to choose between their health and my paycheck. That’s a position no one should ever be placed into.”

Bill Osborn testified about the challenges the single mothers he works with face. “I see them struggle when their kid is sick,” he said. “If they can’t take their kid to day care, how do single parents make it if they don’t have paid leave?

“It’s only fair to have paid leave,” Bill said. “Employers owe it to their employees.”

Darlene and Bill were invigorated by their experience. “It’s been very educational because I’ve learned a lot—I didn’t know how long and tedious it is to get a law passed,” Darlene said. “But it’s rewarding, too—you get to meet people from all walks of life telling their stories. You realize how sick leave and a higher minimum wage means so much and makes people better citizens and more productive workers.

“Today, I can tell my 12-year-old granddaughter, ‘When you go to work, you’ll have paid sick leave, and you can know that your grandmother and her friends were a part of making that happen,’” she said.

“From the very first day, the first rally in Annapolis, we learned the process,” Bill said. “We encouraged our members to support the bill. We canvassed door to door in certain areas. We sat in on a lot of the committee meetings and legislative sessions. Each of us testified and talked about how it affected us.

“It was so satisfying knowing we were there from right at the beginning to all the way when the bill was sent to the governor,” he said. “It was inspiring and it motivated me to be more involved in other bills and to take steps in our union to help others understand the process.”

Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has threatened the veto the Healthy Working Families Act. Darlene, Bill and the three other team members are mobilizing public pressure on Hogan to sign the bill, but if he vetoes it, they’ll fight to get the House and Senate to override his vetoes. If no senator and delegate changes his or her vote, then the override will be successful and the bill will become law.

“If he vetoes it, I’ll be right back doing this all over again,” Darlene said.  “Without a doubt. Call me and I’ll be there.

“Each and every Local 400 member should get out, stand up for themselves, learn about politics and don’t be afraid to talk,” she added. “That’s the real lesson of this experience.”

Congratulations to ABC Drawing Winner, Andre Hickman

Active Ballot Club drawing winner, Andre Hickman (left), poses for a photo with his Local 400 union rep, Johnnie Perry.

Local 400 member Andre Hickman from Safeway #3250 in Alexandria, Va. is the most recent winner of our Active Ballot Club drawing! Congratulations, Andre!

All across the country, corporations and the ultra-wealthy are funneling unprecedented amounts of money into our political system. Their goal is to create an unbalanced and unfair economy where wages are as low as possible and profits replace respect for the workers that created them.

The UFCW Active Ballot Club (ABC) seeks to level the playing field. By bringing together thousands of workers, our political concerns can be amplified to a decibel that is impossible to ignore. ABC supports pro-worker candidates and incumbents from all political parties and is the prominent political action committee dedicated to the interests of UFCW members nationwide.

By joining ABC, active members are automatically entered to win a monthly drawing. Learn more about the UFCW Active Ballot Club and talk to your rep about signing up today!

Member Spotlight: John Ruiz Is a Force for Solidarity

John Ruiz gave a fiery speech and received a standing ovation at the Safeway contract ratification meeting in November 2016.

John Ruiz believes in solidarity with every fiber of his being. During our recent contract negotiations with Safeway and Giant, Safeway workers reached a tentative agreement, but Giant workers faced a looming strike vote. John took action immediately to show he and his co-workers at Safeway would stand in solidarity with their fellow union members at Giant.

A night grocery manager at Safeway #1365 who served on the Bargaining Advisory Committee, John went into his store, gave his co-workers an update, made up signs saying “Giant workers, we are with you until the end,” took photos, and posted them online. He also got each of them to “adopt a Giant” and commit to picketing or helping their sisters and brothers in other ways if a strike took place.

“I told them, ‘we might have an agreement, but don’t expect it to always be this way,’” John recalled. “‘Next time it could be us. We might wear Safeway uniforms, but Giant members are our brothers and sisters, and we’re in this fight with them until the end.’”

John showed this same spirit of unity and leadership at the ratification meeting on November 16th, when he gave a fiery speech and received a standing ovation.

“Management came crying claiming employees cost too much,” he told his sisters and brothers. “They blamed us for not being able to man the stores. They claimed we were paid too much. We took that as a slap in the face. It was appalling to hear what the company thinks of us. But we’re the ones who keep the engine running. The companies’ proposals were extra motivation for us. In the end, we accomplished our goal of achieving a fair contract, with no extra health care costs and our pay increases. We defeated all cuts. The contract is very good compared to where we started. This is a win for all of us. United we stand, divided we fall. Solidarity is the only way. Union strong!”

In explaining why Local 400 overcame enormous adversity to win a fair contract, John said. “Solidarity was number one. Sticking together and being there for all of us. No matter how high that mountain was, we were going to climb it until we reached the peak. This was a total team effort.

“I was glad to be a part of the Bargaining Advisory Committee,” he added. “Tough as it was to sit across the table from management, hear them claim the stores are understaffed because we’re paid too much, even though they’re all profitable, and not be able to give them a piece of my mind back, I enjoyed being a part of it every single day. As the end result will tell you, it was well worth it—very gratifying.”

John has worked at Safeway for nearly 30 years and his leadership skills were clear to his co-workers for much of this time. Approximately 10 years ago, when his store needed a new shop steward, his sisters and brothers voted him in even though he was out on workers’ compensation after injuring his ankle in an accident with a powerjack. “They told me, ‘we know you’ll stand up for us and fight for us,’” he said. “I enjoy helping the employees out and working to make sure that no one takes advantage of them or violates the contract language.”

John has also gotten involved in other battles for his union. On November 29th, he spoke at a “Fight for $15” rally in Richmond, where the local NBC News affiliate aired footage of him saying, “Minimum wage workers should not have to work a full week and still have to worry about putting food on the table for their families or paying their rent on time.”

Looking to the future, John is ready to help his brothers and sisters out in any way possible. “I’m always there to do my part, no matter how small or how large, to make sure our union stays strong, that we fight for working families, and that we fight to keep and enforce language in the contract that treats employees the right way,” he said. “Too many times the contract isn’t followed, which is why so many grievances are filed. That’s why we need strong shop stewards who are not intimidated or scared to approach management, and who have been trained in how to handle grievances.”

John is a resident of Springfield. He’s married with 18- and 20-year-old children, and has two stepchildren, as well. And for him, being a Local 400 member has meant everything. “It has given me an opportunity enjoy life and have a secure job,” he said. “I was born in Trinidad. I came here with just $50 and one small bag of clothes. I signed up right away and everything I have now, I owe to Local 400. It’s given me great opportunities, helping me rise from courtesy clerk up to grocery manager. And our union is always there when we need it—including for me. I am so grateful for everything.”

Jibril Wallace: Fighting for Paid Leave

Jibril Wallace has been working at the same Safeway in Washington, D.C. for 28 years, since she was a teenager helping her mother pay the bills. Now her income helps support her two children, ages 18 and 8. Through the years, Jibril moved up from courtesy clerk to food clerk to file maintenance manager, overseeing pricing and tagging. And for much of that time, she had no paid sick days.

“When you were sick, or the kids were sick, you went to work,” Jibril said. “You found a relative who worked in government and had sick leave if you could. Or I’d do the overnight shift and their dad would stay with them, and I’d be there during the day.”

When asked how she managed being sick herself, Jibril said, “I’m not quite sure what that is—you still had to go to work.” For a long time she could get only part-time hours—and part-timers had to be out three days before being paid for any illness. “Your body is giving you a sign that you need to rest,” she explained. “But you’d just medicate yourself, go in and pray you’ll feel better. I had to support myself.”

Jibril described the reckoning she’d go through, imagining the loss of eight hours pay. “I’d already be thinking to next Thursday, what did I have to be planning for financially,” she said. Because hours can fluctuate so much, many employees have to arrange before and after-school care.  Eight hours represents the weekly payment for that care.

But since the District of Columbia’s paid sick days law was expanded to include part-time workers, Jibril has a new peace of mind. “It’s very relieving to know if your kid or you yourself are sick, there will still hours on your check,” she said.

As a Local 400 leader and activist, Jibril makes sure to stay informed and to keep her co-workers informed about their rights. “Management is not going to tell you,” she said. “They tried to play around with it, but it got big, you’d hear it on the news.”

When a manager tried to deny one employee his sick time, Jibril straightened him out. “It’s not coming out of your pocket,” she told him. “It’s the law now.” Jibril is also alerting Safeway workers in Montgomery County, where a strong, comprehensive paid sick days law is now in effect.

Still, workers often aren’t aware of their rights. Jibril described a night stocker who got an infection after having a tooth pulled. “She sent me a picture of how swollen her face was and said she’d been told not to call out.” Jibril told her to take paid sick days. The woman was able to heal and come back to work.

“It’s awesome to know you have that cushion,” Jibril said, “especially when you’re part time. Everybody gets sick, or has a parent or kid who’s sick. This really helps out.”

Original post by Family Values At Work

Montgomery County Members Now Eligible for Paid Sick Days

Thanks to the Earned Sick and Safe Leave Act of 2015, a new law championed by UFCW Local 400 and our allies, if you work in Montgomery County, you can take paid time off if you or a loved one get sick.

Starting October 30, 2016, as a UFCW Local 400 member working at Giant or Safeway in Montgomery County, you earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours you work, and you can earn up to 56 hours a year.

You can use your paid sick leave to:

  • stay home when you get sick
  • go to a doctor’s appointment
  • take care of a sick family member
  • get services for domestic violence or sexual abuse

At UFCW Local 400, we fight hard to pass innovative laws like this one, so our union members and their families can focus on getting better, not just getting by.

If you have questions about this new law or if you have been denied sick leave, contact your union representative immediately or call our headquarters toll-free at 1-800-638-0800 (Mon – Fri, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.).

How To Report Scheduling Violations at Giant & Safeway

Report scheduling violations at ufcw400.org/1pm

Report scheduling violations at ufcw400.org/1pm

Is management violating your union contract?

We all know how hectic life can get. Between work, family, and other obligations, your time is precious. That’s why our union contracts with Giant & Safeway outline strict rules for managers who assign schedules at your store.

Unfortunately, all too often, managers ignore these rules and fail to post schedules on time or make changes to your shift without informing you properly. This not only makes it harder for you to plan your week, but it is a serious violation of our union contract.

Examples of scheduling violations:

Schedule is posted any time after 1:00 pm on Friday.

Schedule is incomplete when posted.

Schedule is changed without individually notifying employees.

Manager posts a sign telling employees to check schedule for changes instead of informing each employee individually.

Schedule does not list employees in order of seniority.

Report Scheduling Violations at Giant & Safeway

You can help us to ensure managers post schedules properly by reporting scheduling violations using the form below. We will file grievances to make sure every reported violation is addressed so you know your schedule and you can get back to what matters: planning your life on your time.

 

 

 

New Contracts Ratified With Safeway & Giant

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Local 400 members working at Safeway and Giant stores throughout the region voted to ratify new union contracts today.

We didn’t get everything we wanted, but both contracts include several key improvements over our previous collective bargaining agreements, including:

  • Higher starting pay
  • More frequent wage progression increases
  • Wage progression increases by months of service, instead of by number of hours worked
  • No cost increases to employee health insurance
  • A plan to secure our pension

For the past 40 years, Giant and Safeway have jointly negotiated union contracts with us, but this year, the companies negotiated separately. While the companies were more divided than ever, we stuck together as Safeway and Giant union members. Thanks to your support in the stores, we successfully rejected proposals by both companies to decrease our pay, increase our costs, or make us work longer for less.

Without your support, we would not have been able to defeat any of the company’s proposals or win any of our new gains. By participating in store actions, by engaging your customers and your community, you made it clear to both companies that we would not accept a bad contract.

We’re proud of the gains we’ve made, but we know it’s not everything we deserve. In order to get a strong contract, we must have a strong union. Those of us that sit across the table from Giant and Safeway negotiators know firsthand that it is our power in the stores, not the arguments we make in negotiations, that makes progress possible. If we want to continue to make gains in our contracts, we must continue to build our strength as a union.

Let’s continue to stand together, let’s continue to build our union, and let’s keep up the fight every day to get what we deserve.

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Stronger Together: Giant Reaches Tentative Agreement

Be There to Vote November 16

We are pleased to announce that we have reached a tentative agreement with Giant that we’re prepared to recommend for ratification. We reached a similar tentative agreement with Safeway last week, and we’re eager to present both proposals to you at our contract meeting on Wednesday, November 16. As a member of Local 400, it is critical that you make every effort to attend your meeting.

Giant & Safeway Contract Meetings
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
8:00 a.m. Safeway members | 1:00 p.m. Giant members
D.C. Armory, 2001 E Capitol St SE, Washington, DC 20003

After marathon negotiations, which lasted through the night, we were able to stand strong thanks to your support. In the end, we were able to settle on what we believe is a fair agreement.

Standing together as Safeway and Giant workers, keeping all of our options on the table going into the holidays, and being prepared to do whatever it takes, got us an agreement that, while not perfect, we can be proud of.

We stood together. We successfully prevented takebacks. The proposals we will present are the strongest offers we have seen, and are far better than where we started. We are proud to unanimously recommend ratification on both agreements.

Once again, thank you for all your support. Every bit of progress we made in negotiations is thanks to your actions in the stores. By sticking together as Giant and Safeway workers, by participating in the actions together, by engaging our customers and our communities, we made it clear to both companies that we would not accept a bad contract. Thank you for all your hard work. We’ll see you at the DC Armory!

Sincerely,

Your Bargaining Advisory Team

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Strike Preparations Begin at Giant

Tentative Agreement Reached with Safeway, But Giant Refuses to Budge

We have reached a tentative agreement with Safeway that we are prepared to recommend for ratification at our contract meeting on November 16.

After more than a month of negotiations, after extending our current union contract, and with the holiday season rapidly approaching, Giant continues to refuse to agree to a similar fair deal. Negotiating with each company separately has been a challenge, but we will remain united as Giant and Safeway workers to get what we deserve from Giant.

Giant is still insisting on huge takebacks, including undermining our retirement security, taking away or capping Sunday premium pay for current members, and making Sunday part of the regular work week. We will not give these things away. It is our hard work that has made Giant the number one grocery store in the region. We deserve to share in the success we have built.

Our current contract extension expires on November 18, leaving all options on the table leading into the holidays. We need to act now, before our contract meetings on the 16th, to show Giant that we are a united union family. As both Giant and Safeway union workers, we must show Giant that we are willing to do whatever it takes to get a fair deal for all of us. As always, it remains our goal to get the fair contract we deserve, not to go on strike or disrupt business. We remain committed to negotiating in good faith until we get a fair deal.

Starting today, we will begin preparations in the event we need to strike. We will share information you will need to prepare yourself financially, as well as picket schedules and other materials, so we will be ready if we need to be. Safeway workers will stand with Giant workers in the event that we need to strike at Giant. We will remain in this together.

Union reps will continue to be in all stores, both Safeway and Giant, and it is important for everyone from both companies to tell your store managers now that you plan to attend the November 16th contract meeting. Everyone is allowed to attend and you should contact your rep immediately if you are denied time off. We are ready to do whatever it takes to get a fair contract and we will continue to stand together and fight until we all get the agreement we deserve.

Sign Up for Text Alerts: Text FELRA to 698-329

As we negotiate our next union contract with Giant and Safeway, we’re committed to keeping you informed every step of the way. By signing up for text alerts, you’ll get the latest updates immediately!

To sign up, just text FELRA to 698-329. 

Your wireless provider’s message and data rates may apply – you may opt out any time by texting STOP to 698329.

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