News and Updates


Labor Day at Appalachian Power Park

Night game at Appalachian Power Park vs. Lexington Legends, June 12, 2010. Photo by ChristopherLocke.

Free Game Tickets for Union Members & Their Families! (4 tickets per family)
Saturday, August 26, 2017

Join us for a Tailgate at 3:00 PM at the Charleston Building & Construction Trades
600 Leon Sullivan Way — Free Food & Drinks

**Donations Sought To Aid Flood Victims**
We are asking for donations of canned goods and cleaning supplies; monetary donations can be made as well. Please drop items off at the tailgate!

Presented By:
Charleston Building & Construction Trades Council
AFT – Kanawha
AFT – Putnam
West Virginia AFL-CIO
Kanawha Valley Labor Council
UMWA District 17
South Central Labor Council
CWA WV State Council
West Virginia State Building Trades
Reconnecting McDowell

To get your free tickets by contacting WVA AFL-CIO:
Paul Breedlove, Charleston Building Trades 304-542-6952
Kris Mallory, Reconnecting McDowell 800-222-9838
Dena Fields 304-344-3557


Gates open at 5:00 pm – Game time 6:05pm

Local 400 Board of Directors Passes Resolution Condemning White Supremacy

Today, the board of directors of United Food & Commercial Workers Local 400 passed an official resolution condemning white supremacy and the violent actions of bigots in Charlottesville, Va. last weekend.

“Now is a time to make it clear what we stand for,” said UFCW Local 400 President Mark Federici. “Unity and solidarity are core values of our union family. We embody the diversity that makes our country great. The hardworking men and women of Local 400 stand together for a better life for all Americans. Hatred simply has no place in our union or in our country.”

Local 400 has nearly 11,000 members who live and work in Virginia, including grocery workers at three Kroger stores and one Giant Food store in the city of Charlottesville. The resolution was approved by a unanimous vote of the board of directors at a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday.

The resolution mourns the death of Heather Heyer and further expresses full support of all counter-protesters who demonstrated against the hateful white supremacists. In addition, the board resolution mourns the deaths of Virginia state troopers, Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper Berke M. M. Bates, who lost their lives in the line of duty while serving the Commonwealth.

The full text of the resolution is below:

WHEREAS, nearly 11,000 United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 400 members live and work in the Commonwealth of Virginia;

WHEREAS, we are proud that our membership reflects the racial, ethnic, sexual identity, and religious diversity of the Commonwealth and our great nation;

WHEREAS, although racism is hardly a new phenomenon in the United States, the Southern Poverty Law Center has recorded a significant spike in hate crimes since Donald Trump’s election, as well as violent gatherings of white supremacists, including the deadly events in Charlottesville, VA last weekend;

WHEREAS, the wealthy and powerful have always used the politics of hate, division, and racism to divide the working class and weaken unions;

WHEREAS, by forging interracial solidarity, Lipton Tea workers in Suffolk, Virginia recently won a union contract that dramatically lowers healthcare premiums, raises wages and secures better working conditions for all;

THEREFORE, LET IT BE RESOLVED that UFCW Local 400 condemns the racist, violent actions of Nazis, and white nationalists, and attendees of the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville this weekend.

LET IT FURTHER BE RESOLVED that UFCW Local 400 rejects in the strongest possible terms the ideology of white supremacy.

LET IT FURTHER BE RESOLVED that UFCW Local 400 mourns the death of Heather Heyer and will fight like hell for the living in her name.

LET IT FURTHER BE RESOLVED that UFCW Local 400 is deeply saddened by the deaths of two Virginia state troopers, Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper Berke M. M. Bates, who lost their lives in the line of duty while serving the Commonwealth;

LET IT FURTHER BE RESOLVED that UFCW Local 400 fully supports all counter-protesters who demonstrated against the hateful white supremacists who attended the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville and Local 400 extends our thoughts and prayers to all counter-protesters who were injured in the resulting violence.

LET IT FURTHER BE RESOLVED that UFCW Local 400 recommits ourselves to the struggle for racial and economic justice, gender equality, and human and civil rights for all, and stands in solidarity with anyone who is fighting for the same.

UFCW Celebrates 38 Years of Standing Up for Workers

Happy Birthday UFCW!

The United Food and Commercial Workers union was formed on August 8, 1979, when the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workers of North America officially merged with the Retail Clerks International Union. The newly merged union became the UFCW.

While the history of the UFCW begins in 1979, the history of the various industries that make up our union is long and proud. The industries that UFCW members work in were involved in the earliest stages of trade unionism in North America, and many times these workers acted as a catalyst for early change within the labor community.

Today the union represents well over a million workers including meat cutters, meat packers, manufacturing workers, food processors, grocery clerks, cashiers, delicatessen clerks, delivery people, seafood clerks, produce managers, frozen food specialists, bakers, hardware salespeople and health and beauty aid salespeople – to name only a few.

Learn more about the history of the UFCW or download this timeline of our history (PDF).

Save the Date! Kroger West Virginia Contract Meetings

Local 400 shop stewards from West Virginia Kroger stores pose for a group photo during a meeting on August 1, 2017.

What do you want in your next Kroger contract?

Join us for an upcoming union contract meeting to help us to shape our strategy and prioritize our goals for contract negotiations. Your input will help us put together proposals well in advance of the actual contract negotiations, and it will help us fight hardest for the things you and your coworkers want most.

All meetings will run from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

August 28, 2017
Bridgeport Conference Center, 300 Conference Center Way, Bridgeport, WV 26330

August 29, 2017
Comfort Inn & Suites, 167 Elizabeth Pike, Mineral Wells, WV 26150

August 30, 2017
Embassy Suites, 300 Court Street, Charleston, WV 25301

August 31, 2017
Holiday Inn & Suites, 3551 U.S. Route 60 E, Barboursville, WV 25504

September 1, 2017
Country Inn & Suites, 2120 Harper Road, Beckley, WV 25801

Please plan to attend any one of these contract meetings. You should receive a card in the mail inviting you to the meetings. We need to hear what YOU want to see in your upcoming contract, so make sure to be there!

Lipton Tea Workers Vote Overwhelmingly to Ratify First Union Contract

Check out more photos from the day on the Local 400 Facebook page.

Workers from the nation’s only Lipton tea plant voted overwhelmingly to approve their first union contract at a mass meeting in Suffolk on Monday, July 24, 2017.

This represents the first time in the history of the plant when workers were given the opportunity to vote on the terms and conditions of their employment.

“It was a long process, but we couldn’t be happier with the outcome,” said Anita Anderson, an Operator at Lipton for 11 years.

The contract covers 240 employees at the facility and includes significant improvements to working conditions and healthcare benefits. The union deal will result in many workers saving more than $4,000 a year on healthcare costs while greatly improving coverage.

“Our new healthcare plan is a huge weight off my shoulders. Personally, I take medication every day and I can’t go without my health insurance. But I’m also a dad, and saving $4,000 a year goes a long way for me and my family,” said Terrell Owens, who has worked as an operating technician at Lipton for the past nine years.

Last Spring, several people working at the Lipton facility reached out to the UFCW to explore the possibility of forming a union at the plant. At the time, many workers were required to work up to 12-hour shifts for as many as 13 days in a row with only one day off in between. The widespread practice of forcing employees to work overtime was known as “drafting” and went on for several years.

“A lot of us missed a lot of quality time with our families because of our forced commitment to the company – times that we will never get back,” said Robert Davis, a maintenance technician who has worked at the plant for more than 25 years.

The union contract places strict limits on when management can require employees to work overtime. The agreement provides workers with four days per year to opt out of mandatory overtime, in addition to two weekends off each month in which they can’t be forced to work overtime.

In an election last August, a majority of workers at Lipton voted to unionize with Local 400. Negotiations on the first collective bargaining agreement at Lipton began last Fall. A team of eight Lipton employees served as the union’s bargaining committee and lead negotiations with Lipton representatives that resulted in the contract ratified today.

“For the last ten years, we saw so many of our benefits taken away,” said Paul Garrison, a 16-year mechanic. “But now that we have a union, we’re getting them back again.”

Philip Surace, a mechanic at Lipton, said his first experience with a union was when he called UFCW Local 400 last Spring. “I didn’t know much about unions, but I knew something had to be done. Enough was enough. I was looking for help and the union sent people right away.” Philip quickly pulled together a meeting with his coworkers to learn about their rights to form a union. “Two months later, we had our union. I would encourage anyone who wants to make their workplace better to do the same thing we did.”

“As a longtime Virginia resident, I know all too well how decades of regressive legislation and outdated federal labor law have stacked the deck against workers, particularly in the South,” explained Local 400 President Mark Federci. “This unfortunate reality only makes me more proud of what the workers at Lipton have accomplished.”

Lipton is owned by Unilever, a British-Dutch multinational corporation jointly headquartered in London, U.K. and Rotterdam, Netherlands. The Lipton plant in Suffolk has operated for more than 60 years and produces nearly all of the Lipton tea sold in North America.

Check out photos from the ratification vote on Facebook.

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)


Labor, Community Groups Host Meet & Greet with Former Congresswoman Donna Edwards

On Wednesday morning, former Congresswoman Donna Edwards shared reflections on our country’s current political atmosphere and her vision of the future of her community with a crowd of labor leaders, local politicians and interested residents of Prince George’s County. The event was hosted by UFCW Local 400, along with UNITE HERE Local 25, CASA in Action and LiUNA Mid-Atlantic, representatives of which enthusiastically introduced Edwards as an advocate and friend of working families.

Edwards, a former congresswoman from Maryland’s fourth district, lost a closely-watched Senate race last April in which she was endorsed by Local 400. As she explained to the crowded room, after leaving office, she seized the opportunity to go on a three-month road trip across the country. Edwards said this time away from home gave her space to reflect on her pride in her community and her ability to serve it. She returned from her trip more aware of the “promise and opportunity” of her county, and resolved to capitalize on this potential.

In her search for local solutions, Edwards recalled the community activism she was involved in beginning in 1999, when plans for a development project in Fort Washington included turning a two-lane road into a four-lane road. The road bordered Fort Foote Elementary School, and Edwards and other members of her community were determined to keep it a safe and welcoming place for children and their families. They saw the fruits of their activism in the completion of this re-developed road two years ago – still two lanes, but with added sidewalks, roundabouts, and bike trails.

“Progress is slow,” Edwards said, but for her this was a clear reminder of what can happen “when you organize in your community and fight for what you want in your community and don’t let up.”

She reiterated this message of collective community activism throughout a discussion in which constituents expressed concerns about education, immigration, health care, prison reform, and protecting the environment. She emphasized the fact that county governments have more flexibility than many realize in how they use taxpayer dollars, regardless of the policies of the federal government. “It’s tough for a county to push back against the federal government, but it’s the right thing to do,” she said. “Four years is a long time, but four years is a short time.”

She envisions refocusing county resources toward protecting and supporting the county’s large immigrant population, helping residents get the health care they need, and improving the area’s lowest performing schools. “Education doesn’t work trickle down, it works bottom up – just like, actually, a lot of things,” she said.

Indeed this seems to be Edwards’ strategy for enacting change in general: start at the bottom, with local issues like trash collection. Edwards recalled encountering a woman at the pharmacy who recognized her as an elected official and began complaining about her infrequent trash pick-up. “Little things can start to get on your nerves because they start to mirror some of the bigger problems,” Edwards said. “Structural problems become even more difficult to solve if people don’t trust you to pick up their trash.”

Edwards closed by addressing rumors that she is gearing up for another political campaign. “I haven’t decided if I’m going to run for anything,” she said. “What I have decided is that there are so many different ways that we can contribute to and strengthen our communities.”

While Edwards was sure to make clear that she has not made any decisions about whether she will run for political office in upcoming county or state elections, there is no doubt that she intends to remain a leader in determining the future of the county. For now she intends to think about how she can best serve, whether as an elected official, in the non-profit sector or somewhere else. “When I figure that out, y’all will know,” she said.

Lipton Update: Tentative Agreement Reached!

CORRECTION: Contract Ratification Vote July 24*

Contract Negotiations Update #8

On August 26, 2016 we took a leap of faith together and decided that it was time to have a union. We joined the campaign at different times and for different reasons but our collective goal has always been the same: building a better Lipton, together. We have had months of long, difficult negotiations, full of tough decisions, but we are thrilled to announce that we just completed our final bargaining session and have a tentative agreement that we are unanimously recommending for ratification!

We are close to our first collective bargaining agreement, the final step will be voting, and like our decision to have the union, it will be up to all of us.

Registration: 9:00 a.m.
Meeting: 10:00 a.m.
Hilton Garden Inn, 100 East Constance Rd, Suffolk, VA

*CORRECTION: A previous announcement stated voting would take place over two days, July 23-24, but since then, Lipton unilaterally decided on their own to close the plant. The vote will now take place at a single meeting on July 24 so everyone can participate in the same meeting and vote at the same time.

Only Lipton employees who have completed and submitted a union membership application will be allowed to attend the meeting and vote, so if you haven’t filled one out yet, do it now! We will mail entry cards to those who have filled out and submitted their application, but you will still be allowed to enter and vote if you fill one out any time before the meetings. We will answer any questions and/or get an application to you, but we aren’t permitted to share details about the tentative agreement until the meeting.

Sincerely, Your Negotiating Committee

Print the Flier (PDF)

Never Miss An Update: Sign Up for Text Alerts

As we negotiate our first union contract with Lipton, 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 LIPTON to 698-329. 

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


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)