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Shoppers Members – What the SuperValu Sale Means For You

As many of you likely saw and heard yesterday, SuperValu, parent company of Shopper’s Food and Pharmacy, announced that it is being acquired by UNFI (United Natural Foods, Inc.) for around $2.9 billion. Based on the information that has been shared by the companies so far, they expect the sale to be completed in the last three months of the year.

 

Your collective bargaining agreement continues to protect you under this sale. It states that Shopper’s must have the agreement of any buyer of 10% or more of the Shopper’s stores to take our contract and the current employees as part of a sale. This means that UNFI will be bound by the terms and conditions of the agreement in the same way that SuperValu was. We will do everything we can to enforce that provision of our contract.

 

We fought hard to preserve that successorship language in your agreement during our last negotiations with SuperValu. Your union will continue to fight hard and do everything in our power to protect you and your family as this uncertain and difficult process moves forward. It is times like these when it is more important than ever that we are protected by our union and our union contract. We have a voice in this process that non-union workers do not. Over the last 30 years, Shopper’s has changed hands several time, but we have always maintained our contract.

 

We have been in touch with the company and will continue to be in communication with them to insist that they honor their obligations under our contract. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and our staff, attorneys, and other professionals are prepared to do whatever we can to preserve your jobs and our contract. In the meantime, we will keep you updated through your representatives and stewards, as well as our website, Facebook, and our text message system, which you can sign up for by texting “Shoppers” to 698329.

 

Right now we need to continue to stand together as union members and be ready to do whatever is necessary to protect what we have. Without our union we would be nothing but an afterthought in this deal. With our union and our solidarity, we have the power to fight to preserve our wages, benefits, and jobs. We will work together to make sure that happens.

 

You can read the press release about the sale at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/unfi-to-acquire-supervalu-in-transformative-combination-creating-north-americas-premier-food-wholesaler-300687053.html

 

How to Upgrade to a Full-Time Position at Giant, Safeway, & Shoppers

Preston Brown, now a service clerk in the Seafood Department at Safeway in Alexandria, Va., was recently upgraded to a full-time position after enforcing his union contract.

If you want to work full-time, you should be able to. But all too often in the grocery industry, hard-working men and women aren’t getting enough hours to get by. Thanks to our union contracts, our members have the opportunity to access full-time status.

In recent months, dozens of members have won upgrades to full-time status or better jobs by enforcing the terms of our contracts and winning grievances against our employers.

One is Preston Brown, now a service clerk in the Seafood Department at Safeway #3250 in Alexandria, Va. He was officially part-time, but over an eight week period last year, he worked 48 hours each week. After more than six weeks of working more than 40 hours/week, Safeway should have automatically created a new full-time position at the store and allowed part-time employees to bid for the position. But that didn’t happen.

“I was informed that I had the right to become full-time, so my shop steward and I pushed forward with a grievance,” Preston said. “But once management realized the situation, they cut my hours to around 32 a week. It took more than a month before they recognized that I had completed what I needed to do to be full-time.”

When Preston learned that he had won his grievance and was now a full-time employee, “I was very happy, very pleased to get that status,” he said.

Reginald Richardson faced a different set of circumstances than Preston but had a similar positive outcome. He was hired to serve as night captain at Safeway #2737 in Washington, D.C. But while doing the work of a night captain, Safeway didn’t code him as one, so he wasn’t being paid at the proper rate. “I fought for that position,” Reginald said. “It took a whole year.”

But Reginald won his grievance. “I was blessed,” he said. “I was happy. I got what I wanted after such a long time. I received back pay. I moved to full-time. And I got a supervisor’s position, as well. I am so very thankful for my union.”

Suma Gomes, Diti Rozario and Benny Mercado were working as service clerks in the Deli Department at Safeway #2781 in Wheaton, Md. Under the terms of their contract, 65 percent of the hours in their department must go to deli clerks and 35 percent to service clerks. But at this store, the ratio was reversed. So they filed grievances—and they won, too. All three were upgraded to deli clerks, with improved pay and benefits.

At Safeway #1716 in Bethesda, Md., an unusually complicated situation arose. Yolanda Lopez, a part-time deli clerk, transferred from Safeway #2848 because she was told she would receive a full-time position at her new store. Just prior to her transfer, part-time service clerk Claretine (Smitty) Smith had been working in the store’s Deli Department for 40 hours/week for far longer than six consecutive weeks, but didn’t realize this automatically entitled him to a full-time upgrade. So he submitted a bid for a full-time position during the open bid period.

However, Yolanda had more seniority than Smitty, so when she came to Safeway #1716, she worked 40 hours/week and Smitty’s hours were cut. After Yolanda had worked 40 hours for six consecutive weeks, she filed a grievance to be upgraded to full-time. But the store’s shop steward noted that because Smitty’s bid for full-time status pre-dated her arrival, he should be first in line for the upgrade. Importantly, Smitty had kept a copy of his bid sheet, so he had evidence store management could not refute.

Yolanda’s and Smitty’s Local 400 representative, Linnette Floyd, advocated a win-win solution by arguing that both members had legitimate claims to full-time status. Management insisted there was only one full-time position to be filled in the Deli Department. But after months of difficult negotiations, Safeway agreed to the workers’ demands and made both full-time deli clerks—a huge victory.

The stories of these members demonstrates how critical it is that you know your contract, observe when its terms are not being followed, and take action to enforce it. The results can pay off many times over.

How to Upgrade to a Full-Time Position

If you work part-time at Giant Food, Safeway, or Shoppers Food & Pharmacy, there are three ways you can be upgraded to a full-time employee:

  1. One, as Preston Brown experienced, is to work at least 40 hours a week for more than six consecutive weeks. If you have worked at least 40 hours a week for six consecutive weeks, then the company must create a new full-time position in the store. You may then bid for the position, and the company must offer it to the most senior qualified part-time employee who bids for the job.
  2. The second way is to submit a written request for a full-time job during one of two annual open bid periods—and keep a copy for your records. The open bid periods are March 1-21 and September 1-21 each year.
  3. The third way a full-time position becomes available at your store is if a full-time employee retires, transfers, or resigns. The company must provide that full-time position to another employee. You may bid for the position and the company must offer it to the most senior part-time employee who bids for the job.

If you would like a full-time position, talk to your shop steward or contact your union rep and they can help you through the process.

Reminder: Vacation Requests Due Feb 28 at Giant, Safeway & Shoppers

If you are a Local 400 member working at Giant Food, Safeway, or Shoppers Food & Pharmacy, don’t forget to submit your vacation bids before February 28th!

Under your union contract, you have from January 1st to February 28th each year to select your desired dates for vacation for the year, with no “blackout” dates. You can select any days or weeks you desire. The final selection will be awarded on a seniority basis within each department. Your supervisor is required to respond to you in writing by March 31st with a final decision.

If your manager fails to give you a final decision in writing, or tells you there are certain days or weeks that are “blacked out” and you are not allowed to take vacation during those times, it is a violation of your contract and you should report it to your union representative. Call our headquarters toll-free at 1-800-638-0800 to report violations to your union representative.

Read the official contract language below.

Giant Food:

From January 1 to February 28 of each year, employees shall select their desired date for vacation for that year. Said selection will be awarded on a seniority basis within each department. After February 28 (February 29 in a leap year), employees may select vacant weeks by seniority but may not bump less senior employees who have exercised their vacation selection during the bid period. Employees who have selected vacation during the vacation bid period will be notified of the final vacation decision in writing by March 31. Vacations requested after the bid period will be honored on a first-come, first-served basis. Employees may take vacation in any of the fifty-two (52) calendar weeks, subject to management approval.

The vacation schedule of any employee cannot be changed, except by mutual agreement. The vacation schedule shall be available on request by an employee.

Safeway:

From January 1 to February 28 of each year, employees shall select their desired date for vacation for that year. Said selection will be awarded on a seniority basis within each department. After February 28 (February 29 in a leap year), employees may select vacant weeks by seniority but may not bump less senior employees who have exercised their vacation selection during the bid period. Employees who have selected vacation during the vacation bid period will be notified of the final vacation decision in writing by March 31. Vacations requested after the bid period will be honored on a first come, first served basis. Employees may take vacation in any of the fifty-two (52) calendar weeks, subject to management approval.

The vacation schedule of any employee cannot be changed, except by mutual agreement. The vacation schedule shall be available on request by an employee.

Shoppers Food & Pharmacy:

From January 1 to February 28 of each year, employees shall select their desired date for vacation for that year. Said selection will be awarded on a seniority basis within each department. After February 28 (February 29 in a leap year), employees may select vacant weeks by seniority but may not bump less senior employees who have exercised their vacation selection during the bid period. Effective January 1, 2009, employees who have selected vacation during the vacation bid period will be notified of the final vacation decision in writing by March 31. Vacations requested after the bid period will be honored on a first-come, first-served basis. Employees may take vacation in any of the fifty-two (52) calendar weeks, subject to management approval.

The vacation schedule of any employee cannot be changed, except by mutual agreement. The vacation schedule shall be available on request by an employee.

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.”