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Shoppers Members Unanimously Ratify New Contract

At a union meeting in Greenbelt, Md., Local 400 members stood up to unanimously ratify a new union contract at Shoppers Food & Pharmacy.

Strong agreement includes a $2/hour increase in starting pay and no health insurance cost increases for the life of the contract

Local 400 members working at Shoppers unanimously ratified a new, three-year collective bargaining agreement today that puts more money in their pockets faster, and fully maintains their health and retirement security.

After more than ten weeks of challenging negotiations, Local 400 member activism persuaded the company it could not win the concessions it demanded, and resulted in a contract that increases starting pay, greatly improves wage scales, and provides for the same health insurance coverage and pension benefits without any additional employee contributions.

The three-year collective bargaining agreement:

  • Establishes new, higher starting wage rates, reflecting not only the higher minimum wages in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland, but also substantially increasing pay in Virginia, whose minimum wage remains at just $7.25/hour.
  • Provides guaranteed wage increases every six months, rather than having them based on hours worked, resulting in faster raises for all workers, especially part-timers.
  • Preserves Maintenance of Benefits, ensuring that heath care coverage will be fully funded by the company, regardless of the cost.
  • Increases employer pension fund contributions to protect retirement security.
  • Keeps employee out-of-pocket health insurance contributions at current levels
  • Provides that Sunday will continue to be treated separately from the basic work week.
  • Maintains overtime pay for any work in excess of eight hours a day.
  • Keeps successorship language, so members will remain employed and covered by their contract if Shoppers or any individual stores are sold.
  • Keeps seniority policies consistent with past practice, contrary to the company’s original demands.

“These talks were very difficult, but our members hung together and made this strong agreement possible,” said Local 400 President Mark P. Federici.

“We came into this with specific goals,” he said. “One was to change the hours progression to a monthly progression on the wage scale to get people raises faster than before. Another was to avoid any increase in members’ out-of-pocket health care costs, in contrast to what’s happening with most other employers. A third was to ensure proper pension funding. A fourth was to have a strong successorship agreement so our members will keep their jobs and contract if Shoppers is sold. And a fifth was to maintain seniority. Thanks to member activism, we achieved each of these goals.”

“The bargaining started on June 13th and ended August 24th, and there were a lot of blood and guts out there,” said Mike Rickord, a shop steward who works at Shoppers #2674 in Dumfries, Va. and served on the Contract Action Team. “We heard time and again the wishes of the members to keep everything we have, and we kept each and every one of our benefits, while increasing others. I can testify in front of God and country that this is an excellent contract for the next three years.”

“This was a long and drawn out fight with [Shoppers parent company] Supervalu,” said Diane Nokes, a Contract Action Committee member and shop steward at Shoppers #2625 in Manassas, Va. “I cannot tell you how many times they walked away from the table. We did our very best, worked long and hard, and got a good contract.”

“This is an excellent agreement,” said Debra Coleman, a Contract Action Team member and shop steward at Shoppers #2632 in Forestville, Md. “We worked hard from sun-up to sun-down, went to sleep and got up early to do it again. We are the union. Member participation was the key to everything.”

“With some of the proposals the company made, it seemed to me like someone was smoking something,” said Ed Cooley, a Contract Action Team member who is a shop steward at Shoppers #2623 in Clinton, Md. “They wanted to take away Sunday and holiday pay and they were adamant. We won because of everyone who showed up, and because our union is working 24/7 to fight for our members.”

The collective bargaining agreement, covering 2,500 workers in Maryland and Virginia, takes effect retroactively as of July 9, 2017 and it expires on July 11, 2020.

Mary Robertson, a Contract Action Team member who is a shop steward at Shoppers #2650 in College Park, Md., noted that this round of bargaining was different than others in her 25 years as a Local 400 member. “We got out to more stores and talked with more members,” she said. “We made clear to them what was at stake and that they needed to be informed and active, and to be a strong voice. The bargaining was tough at first, but I think that our member outreach convinced Shoppers that we would rather strike than let the company take away our benefits and fill their pockets. That’s why we won a strong agreement.

“In particular, the change in the wage scale progression to monthly will help greatly,” she added, “because it will reduce turnover among newly-hired part-time workers, which has been a big challenge at some of our stores.”

Rickord, also a veteran of previous negotiations, said, “This was one of the hardest fought and most difficult rounds of bargaining in dealing with the company, due to their unwillingness to understand the plight of their own workers. While it wasn’t confrontational, it was often disrespectful, but in the end, we got the respect and recognition we justly deserved. That was because of member solidarity and lots of hard work.”

Stronger Together: Shoppers Food Reaches Tentative Agreement – Be There to Vote September 11

We are pleased to announce that we have reached a tentative agreement with Shoppers that we are prepared to recommend for ratification on Monday, September 11. It is critical that you make every effort to attend this meeting and hear the details of your contract proposal.

Shoppers Food Contract Meeting

Monday, September 11, 2017

Registration begins at 8:00am – Meeting starts at 9:00am

Martins Crosswinds, 7400 Greenway Center Dr, Greenbelt, MD 20770

After months of negotiations, we were able to stand strong and settle on what we believe is a fair agreement. It was our unity, standing together, enforcing our contract, and maintaining high union visibility, which got us an agreement that, while not perfect, we can be proud of.

Thank you for your support. Every bit of progress we made in negotiations was thanks to you standing with us in the stores. The proposals we will present are the strongest offers we have seen, and far better than where we started. We are proud to unanimously recommend this agreement to you for approval.

Once again, we thank you for all your hard work. We’ll see you in Greenbelt!

Sincerely,

Your Contract Action Team

 

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Shoppers Negotiations Progressing Slowly

Contract Negotiations Update #6

Federal Mediator Called In

We spent the last week in talks with Supervalu representatives, but negotiations over our next contract at Shoppers continue to progress slowly. To help move things along, we called in a federal mediator. The mediator does not have the authority to order a settlement or contract terms, but a mediator can help us get to a fair settlement. We remain committed to getting a fair deal no matter what it takes. As always, we would rather slowly get it right then quickly get it wrong.

At the negotiating table, we feel the solidarity that is being demonstrated by everyone in the stores. Shoppers knows we are united, but in order to get a fair deal done, we need to continue to show them we are willing to do whatever it takes.

Over the coming days, your union representatives will be in stores letting you know how you can up the pressure on Shoppers to negotiate a fair deal. Now more than ever, we must show Shoppers that we are united for a fair contract.

Sign Up for Text Alerts

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 SHOPPERS to 698-329.

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

Print the Flier (PDF)

 

Shoppers Contract Extended, Negotiations to Continue July 17

Contract Negotiations Update #5

We have agreed to extend our current collective bargaining agreement through August 31, 2017. This means that all of the terms and conditions of the current contract remain in full effect until that date. As part of this extension, Shoppers has agreed that when we ratify our new agreement, any wage increases or other benefits will be retroactive to our original expiration date of July 8.

We will not be rushed into a bad deal. This week we exchanged proposals on health and welfare and pension, but we still have work to do. Our goal continues to be to get the best deal possible, one that keeps our wages competitive and preserves affordable health care and a stable retirement.

The support we are getting in the stores is key to our success at the table. Shoppers needs to continue to see and hear from all of us every day that we are willing to do whatever it takes to get a fair contract. Representatives will be in your stores all next week to answer questions and help you take action to show Shoppers that we remain united for a fair contract. It is important that we all participate and show Shoppers we will not settle for anything less than a fair deal. We will continue to keep you informed every step of the way.

Sign Up for Text Alerts

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 SHOPPERS to 698-329.

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

Print the Flier (PDF)

United for a Fair Contract at Shoppers

Check out more photos on the Local 400 Facebook page.

Contract Negotiations Update #4

We spent this week in negotiations with Supervalu on our next union contract at Shoppers. Progress has been slow, but as always, we would rather slowly get it right than quickly get it wrong.

When we were not in contract talks with Supervalu, we were in the stores to hear from you, our coworkers. We were overwhelmed by your outpouring of support. We know you have our backs – and we have the pictures to prove it! Visit our Facebook page to check out photos from the week and tag your friends!

If you see one of us in your store, don’t hesitate to ask us questions or share your ideas. We want to hear from you. We need your input. Our next agreement not only affects each and every one of us, but it will also take each and every one of us to get the fair contract we deserve.

So let’s continue to wear our union stickers and demonstrate our unity to the company. Together, we can show Supervalu we will do whatever it takes to get the fair contract we have earned.

Sign Up for Text Alerts

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 SHOPPERS to 698-329.

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

Print the Flier (PDF)

Shoppers Contract Negotiations With Supervalu Began This Week

Contract Negotiations Update #3

This week, we met with representatives from Supervalu for two days to negotiate our next contract at Shoppers Food  & Pharmacy.

We had productive discussions and exchanged proposals on a number of items, but we still have a lot of work to do. Our goal is to reach the best deal possible, not to rush to finish and end up with a bad agreement. As we continue negotiations over the coming weeks, we will continue to keep you updated every step of the way.

This is collective bargaining at work. Unlike workplaces without a union, you can come together with your coworkers to negotiate the best contract for everyone. Without a union, you’d be on your own. Without the protection of your union contract, your job would be entirely in the hands of the company, and you could only hope your boss doesn’t do the wrong thing.

Now, more than ever, is a time to stand together. We will only get a better contract if we stick together to get the best deal for all of us. If you know a coworker that hasn’t signed up, encourage them to take part in the process by becoming a Local 400 member today. We all need to stick together so we can get the fair contract we deserve.

Sign Up for Text Alerts

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 SHOPPERS to 698-329.

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

Print the Flier (PDF)

 

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.”

Meet the Shoppers Contract Action Team

Contract Negotiations Update #2

We are your Shoppers Contract Action Team! We are store associates who have volunteered to help mobilize our coworkers to take action for a better contract at Shoppers.

The only way we will win a better contract is if we all stand united, stay informed, and take action together. We must show Supervalu that we are united for a fair contract at Shoppers and we are willing to do whatever it takes to get the deal we deserve.

Over the coming weeks, we will invite you to take action with us to keep the pressure on the company to negotiate a fair contract. If you see one of us in your store, don’t hesitate to talk to us, ask us questions, or make suggestions. We want to hear from you. We need your ideas and we need your participation to succeed. If you know a coworker that hasn’t signed up, encourage them to take part in the process by becoming a union member. Sticking together is the only way to get the best deal for all of us.

Sign Up for Text Alerts

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 SHOPPERS to 698-329.

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

Print the Flier (PDF)

Nearly 1,000 Employees Sign Petition to Supervalu CEO Demanding Fully Funded Healthcare

We did it!

In only a matter of days, we gathered nearly 1,000 signatures from Shoppers Food & Pharmacy employees on a petition to Supervalu CEO Mark Gross demanding the company fully fund our health and welfare benefits.

We have earned our benefits. Our union contract requires the company to contribute to a fund as much money as is necessary to pay for our benefits. Supervalu has made it clear that we must fight to protect what we have.

Last week, in a powerful display of unity, we formed small delegations at dozens of stores throughout the region and delivered the petition signatures to managers on Friday, May 17.

But this was about more than health care. By standing united and demonstrating our ability to work together, we have shown the company that we are willing to fight for the fair contract we deserve.

As we negotiate our next contract with Shoppers, we know we have a tough road ahead. We know the company will try to do everything it can to reduce labor costs and take money out of our pockets.

That’s why we must remain united for a fair contract. Last week was only the beginning. We must continue to take action together to get the deal we know we deserve. In the coming weeks, we will have many opportunities to demonstrate our unity. Let’s take every opportunity to prove to Supervalu we are determined to get the deal we deserve.

Sign Up for Text Alerts

As we head into negotiations with Shoppers, we are committed to keeping you informed every step of the way. Sign up for text alerts to get the latest updates immediately.

To sign up, text Shoppers to the phone number 698329.

Your wireless provider’s message and data rates may apply – you may opt out any time by texting STOP to 698-329.

Having trouble signing up for text alerts?

It has come to our attention that some of our members who use certain wireless providers (Sprint, Boost Mobile, and T-Mobile) are unable to sign up for text message alerts. Your cell phone plan may not permit you to subscribe to our text messages. If you’re having trouble signing up, call your wireless provider to see if your plan is eligible for keyword text messages.

Let’s Show Shoppers We Are United for a Fair Contract

Local 400 members at Shoppers Food & Pharmacy stores are gathering signatures on a petition to the CEO of Supervalu.

Contract Negotiations Update #1

Thanks to all of our Shoppers members who took the time to fill out our contract survey and to those of you who made it out to one of our recent contract meetings. Thanks to your input, we developed clear priorities together for bargaining our next Shoppers contract with Supervalu.

While no one can guarantee the outcome of contract negotiations, and no one can make promises, we have clear proposals for what we hope to achieve in our next contract:

  • Increase wages
  • Eliminate the hours threshold for raises
  • More holidays + PHs + vacation days
  • Maintain health benefits, improve dental and vision coverage
  • Protect our pension and retirement security

We know we have a tough road ahead. Supervalu will do everything it can to reduce labor costs in our next contract and take money out of our pockets. But we know we deserve better – we’ve earned it.

We must stand united for the contract we deserve. Our membership is strong, and sticking together as a union family is the only way we will win a better deal.

To demonstrate our strength and unity, we are circulating a petition to Mark Gross, the CEO of Supervalu, demanding the company fully fund our health and welfare benefits.

Thanks to your work, hundreds of Shoppers associates have already signed the petition. If you haven’t added your name, talk to your shop steward or download a copy of the petition below. We must show the company that we are willing to do whatever it takes to get the fair contract we’ve earned.

Sign Up for Text Alerts

As we head into negotiations with Shoppers, we are committed to keeping you informed every step of the way. Sign up for text alerts to get the latest updates immediately.

To sign up, text Shoppers to the phone number 698329.

Your wireless provider’s message and data rates may apply – you may opt out any time by texting STOP to 698-329.

Print the Petition