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Shoppers Workers, Community Leaders Rally to Save Stores Facing Closure

Warn of the Loss of Good Jobs and Creation of Food Deserts

Hundreds of Shoppers Food & Pharmacy workers represented by UFCW Local 400, along with community leaders, other union activists and public officials, rallied in front of the chain’s Coral Hills, Md. store on June 26th to protest the potential closure of all stores in the area.

Speakers and participants called on the company to ensure these locations remain grocery stores with strong union jobs.

“I’ve worked at Shoppers for 11 years,” said Amber Stevens, a Local 400 member who works at Shoppers #2669 in Forestville, Md. “It’s my livelihood. It pays all of my bills. Not knowing if I’m going to be able to provide for my family makes me uneasy. When they decided to sell the stores, they should have informed their loyal employees. They should have informed us first. I hope that we can keep our stores and find union buyers — that would be a great outcome.”

“It’s been very stressful,” said Meeko Whitley, who works at Shoppers #2634 in Landover. “I have a family, two children and a grandchild, and it’s been very rough on a lot of people. I hope that I’m able to keep my job and stay employed. I hope UNFI reconsiders closing our stores.”

“We built this company,” Kevin Freeman, who works at Shoppers #2618. “For them to treat us like we’re nothing is wrong. We’re going to keep fighting, fighting and fighting some more. I hope UNFI sees and hears what’s going on and rethinks their decision.”

A host of public officials spoke out in support of the Shoppers workers.

“Prince George’s County has a problem already with food deserts, food swamps and not enough good paying jobs for our residents,” said County Councilwoman Jolene Ivey (D-5). “So this is a double-whammy. We need to protect people’s access to groceries and the right to good jobs. We need to make sure that we have quality grocery store here that’s a union shop. We need both.”

“I have a Shoppers in my district in Charles County,” said state Sen. Arthur Ellis (D-28). “It’s been there for years. I go there from time to time. I consider the people who work there my friends. I want them to keep their jobs, their health care and their retirement benefits. And we want people in our county to have access to fresh, good food, and we don’t want a food desert. Last year, Safeway in Charles County closed but we only found out after the fact. Here, we have an opportunity before an adverse action is taken to keep good jobs and fresh food in our communities.”

State Del. Dereck Davis (D-25) told the ralliers, “This is ridiculous. All we’re doing is asking them to let us know what’s going on. Well, we’re done asking. Now we’re demanding. We’re calling on the CEO to take care of their employees just like they take care of their shareholders.”

“You live here, you are our neighbors and constituents,” said state Del. Andrea Harrison (D-24). “We need to let UNFI know we mean business. Everyone should be able to take care of their families.”

“We are here to tell UNFI, it might be business to you, but it’s personal to us,” said Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy. “You are vital members of our community. I commit to you that I will do everything in my power to negotiate on your behalf.”

All Shoppers Food & Pharmacy stores in the DMV area are at risk of closing due to a decision made by corporate executives at Shoppers parent company, United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI).

In 2018, UNFI purchased the parent company of Shoppers, Supervalu, and immediately announced their intention to divest all of their retail operations, including Shoppers, as quickly as possible. Since that time, the people who work at Shoppers and the communities they serve have been left in limbo, not knowing what is going to happen to the good, union jobs and quality food options that have served their neighborhoods for decades.

“To be clear, Shoppers is not bankrupt or going out of business,” said Mark Federici, president of UFCW Local 400, which represents the unionized workers. “Their parent company is simply determined to sell these stores, regardless of whether or not they are profitable. The loss of these grocery stores and the union jobs they provide would be devastating for these communities.”

Participants noted that 12 of Shoppers’ 36 stores are located in Prince George’s County. Nine are inside the Beltway, where five Safeways have closed since 2010, making them all the more important. Two stores are in Forestville and one in Oxon Hill, considered by county officials to be food deserts. Other stores are in Bladensburg, Bowie, Clinton, College Park, Coral Hills, Hyattsville, Landover and New Carrollton — all communities with residents who periodically struggle to find and afford healthy meals for their families and need access to affordable, healthy food.

For more than 40 years, Shoppers has provided good union jobs with fair wages and health and retirement benefits, as well as affordable, fresh food in many communities that would otherwise be food deserts.

“Our members have been left in the dark for far too long,” explained Federici “After decades of faithfully serving the community, it is irresponsible to leave these hardworking men and women to wonder what the future will hold. We are calling on the company to ensure that these locations remain grocery stores with strong union jobs.”

June 24-28: Take A Stand at Shoppers

A Shoppers store front in Herndon, Va.

For far too long, the future of Shoppers Food & Pharmacy has been in question. We don’t know when and we don’t know how, but one thing seems clear: thanks to a decision by the corporate office of Shoppers’ parent company, it’s only a matter of time before all Shoppers stores are sold or closed.

For more than 40 years, Shoppers has provided good union jobs with fair wages and health and retirement benefits, as well as affordable, fresh food in many lower-income communities that would otherwise be food deserts.

Now thousands of union jobs are at risk and entire communities could be left without access to fresh food. Just because some far-off corporate office decides to leave the retail business doesn’t mean our community can be cast aside and forgotten.

Join us for a rally on June 26 to call on Shoppers to ensure these locations remain grocery stores with strong union jobs!

Rally at Shoppers
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Shoppers #2626/2345
4801 Marlboro Pike, Coral Hills, MD

RSVP on Facebook

We will be joined by Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy and other local leaders.

Can’t make it on Wednesday? We’re holding other actions throughout the week. Check out the full schedule below and join us at an event near you!

To be clear: Shoppers is not bankrupt or going out of business. Their parent company is simply determined to sell these stores, regardless of the fact that they are profitable.

For the last two years, Shoppers’ parent companies (first Supervalu and now UNFI) have hinted at plans to completely leave the retail business to focus on wholesale distribution. The implication has always been clear – the company plans to sell off all Shoppers locations.

Throughout this time, our union members – the store associates who are the backbone of the Shoppers stores – have been left to wonder what the future will hold. Our repeated requests for information have been met with silence from the company.

Well enough is enough. Join us for a week of action June 24-28 to call on Shoppers to preserve access to fresh food and quality jobs in our communities. Join us at an action near you!

Take A Stand at Shoppers: Week of Action Schedule

Monday, June 24

11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Shoppers #2650/2366 (4720 Cherry Hill Rd, College Park, MD)

4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Shoppers #2656/2371 (2201 Randolph Rd, Wheaton, MD)

4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Shoppers #2635/2353 (806 Largo Center Drive, Landover, MD)

Tuesday, June 25

11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Shoppers #2654/2370 (5110 Nicholson Lane, Rockville, MD)

4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Shoppers #2619/2340 (6881 New Hampshire Ave, Takoma Park, MD)

4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Shoppers #2634/2352 (7051 M L King Jr Hwy, Landover, MD)

4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Shoppers #2281 (8212 Liberty Road, Baltimore, MD 21244)

Wednesday, June 26

11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Shoppers #2653/2369 (6111 Livingston Rd, Oxon Hill, MD)

4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Rally At Shoppers #2626/2345 (4801 Marlboro Pike, Coral Hills, MD)

4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Shoppers #2299 (2000 Gwynns Falls Parkway, Baltimore, MD 21215)

Thursday, June 27

11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Shoppers #2649/2365 (3801 Jefferson Davis Highway, Alexandria, VA)

4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Shoppers #2648/2364 (6360 Seven Corners Center, Falls Church, VA)

4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Shoppers #2615/2336 (9622 Main Street, Fairfax, VA)

4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Shoppers #2338 (264 Solomons Island Road, Annapolis, MD 21401)

Friday, June 28

11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Shoppers #2628/2346 (7005 Manchester Lakes Blvd, Franconia, VA)

4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Shoppers #2641/2358 (7660 Richmond Hwy, Alexandria, VA)

4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Shoppers #2674/2381 (4174 Fortuna Center Plaza, Dumfries, VA)

Shoppers Plans to Close All 30 Pharmacies

A Shoppers store front in Herndon, Va.

A joint statement from UFCW Local 400 & UFCW Local 27

Today, UNFI, the parent company of Shoppers Food & Pharmacy, announced plans to close all 30 Shoppers pharmacies.

Here is what we know:

  • The pharmacies will close on a staggering basis beginning on April 23, 2019.
  • Pharmacy techs at these locations will be informed before their pharmacy closes and will be placed on the stores schedule in a clerk position with no effect to their rate of pay or status (full-time or part-time).
  • CVS purchased the pharmacy scripts and inventory from 24 stores and Walgreens has purchased the scripts and inventory from six stores.
  • The company continues to insist that there are “no immediate plans” to close any Shoppers stores.

This is a frustrating situation for everyone involved, and the lack of information has only made things worse. We are continuing to push UNFI to provide us with more information. We have made it clear that we expect UNFI to respect the terms of our collective bargaining agreement in the event that stores are sold.

In the meantime, we will continue to enforce your rights under your contract and we are committed to sharing any new information with you as we have it.

Sign Up for Text Alerts

We will use text message alerts to keep you updated as things move forward. If you have not already, please sign up for text alerts by texting 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.

Meeting with UNFI CEO Provides No New Information

A Shoppers store front in Herndon, Va.

A Joint Statement from UFCW Local 400 & UFCW Local 27

On Tuesday, April 2, 2019, we met with United Natural Foods (UNFI) CEO Steven Spinner with other UFCW leaders who represent workers at UNFI owned and operated retail employers. Unfortunately, Mr. Spinner provided no new information about UNFI’s plans for the Shoppers Food & Pharmacy stores beyond what has already been reported to you by us and in the news media.

We share your frustration with the lack of information from UNFI about their plans for your stores. It is the employees that have made Shoppers into a successful company and keep customers coming back. We expect UNFI to acknowledge the value of your hard work and commitment when the stores are sold to another operator.

We understand that this has been a difficult situation and the lack of concrete information from the company is not helping. We will continue to demand information from UNFI to ensure that they are complying with our collective bargaining agreements as they discuss a planned sale with potential buyers. In the meantime, we will continue to enforce your rights under your contract and we are committed to sharing any new information with you as we have it.

A Message from President Federici to All Shoppers Members

A Shoppers store front in Herndon, Va.

A message from Mark Federici, President, UFCW Local 400:

As we all know, for some time now the future of Shoppers Food & Pharmacy has been in question. For nearly two years, Shoppers’ parent companies (first Supervalu and now UNFI) have cryptically disclosed plans to completely leave the retail business to focus on wholesale distribution. The implication has always been clear – the company plans to sell off all remaining Shoppers locations.

Long before Shoppers was owned by Supervalu, and certainly long before United Natural Foods (UNFI) took any interest in our stores, our members were there day in and day out keeping this company successful.

Throughout this time, our members – the store associates who are the backbone of the Shoppers stores – have been left to wonder what the future will hold. Our repeated requests for information have been met with silence from the company.

Well enough is enough. Just because some far-off corporate office decides to leave the retail business doesn’t mean our members can be cast aside and forgotten.

Yesterday, I sent a letter to the CEO of UNFI demanding answers. The full text of the letter is below.

We are tired of this company communicating to investors and news reporters while leaving us in the dark. It’s long past time for us to have a seat at the table. You deserve to know how your future livelihoods will be affected. More importantly, you deserve respect. You have earned the opportunity to be heard. You have dedicated your careers to this company and we will not stand idly by and allow your employer to ignore you.

In the coming weeks, we expect UNFI to provide us with the information we have requested. If they do not, we will take appropriate action, including actions we will be asking you to participate in, both in your stores and in the communities you serve. UNFI and whichever company they choose to sell to need to respect you and respect your union contract. That means a seat at the table and the information we need and deserve as they look for buyers.

Please be on the lookout for updates and be ready to join your coworkers to take action if necessary.

Sign Up for Text Alerts

We will use text message alerts to keep you updated as things move forward. If you have not already, please sign up for text alerts by texting 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.

My letter to UNFI CEO Steven Spinner:

Dear Mr. Spinner:

Over the past days there have been multiple media reports that UNFI has sold Shoppers stores within Local 400’s jurisdiction. UNFI has nevertheless failed to provide Local 400 with any material information regarding these reported sales or the consequences the sales will have on Local 400 members.

Local 400 demands that you provide us with information about these reported store sales immediately. Local 400 will not hesitate to exercise its rights under our previous arbitral award and other laws if we are not promptly  provided  with information sufficient to advise our members. We have learned that the identities of the purchasers have been known to UNFI for some time now.

Our members have been the backbone of Shoppers stores for far longer than UNFI has had any interest in those stores and they deserve far more respect than UNFI has shown them in this process. They deserve to know what the future holds. On behalf of the hardworking people who continue to ensure that Shoppers remains a successful business, we expect an immediate response to this letter.

Sincerely,

Mark P. Federici

President and International Vice President

President Mark Federici's letter to UNFI CEO Steven Spinner, March 21, 2019.

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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