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Join Us to March Against Trump’s Anti-Worker Agenda (UPDATED)

The inauguration of the most unpopular President-elect in modern history is only a week away and union members will be joining with countless other organizations to say no to Donald Trump’s anti-worker agenda.

Labor union members, leaders and organizers will be participating in two marches to show our opposition to Trump’s proposed attacks on working men and women. Join us!

Friday, January 20, 2017 – Festival of Resistance: March Against Trump

12:00 p.m. Noon

Join the labor contingent on the east side of Columbus Circle, Washington, D.C.

DC-area labor union members, leaders, organizers, and staff are mobilizing for the Festival of Resistance, a march from Columbus Circle to McPherson Square, on January 20th. We’re calling on all union members – wherever you’re from – to join us!

Union members are encouraged to wear their union’s shirts/colors and to meet on the east side of Columbus Circle no later than 11:45 a.m. The march will kick off around 12:00pm (noon).

This march, part of DisruptJ20, will be fully permitted and fun! There will be families, marching bands, puppets, and other displays that show the diversity and power of the resistance to Trump.

It’s critical that organized labor participate forcefully in these early days of the resistance, as basic worker and union protections will be among the first to be attacked.

Interested in doing more? Want to take direct action on January 20th? We’re doing that, too. Check out: https://www.facebook.com/events/764142167083262/ for details.

 

Saturday, January 21, 2017 – Women’s March on Washington

8:30 a.m.

UPDATED LOCATION: Join the labor contingent at Garfield Park (3rd St SE and G St SE) near Capitol South Metro.

Join thousands of women on January 21 to send a message to the new administration and to the world that we will do everything possible to defend and protect women’s rights to defend and protect women’s rights!

Those unable to attend the D.C. march, please click on the link below to find a march near you in both the U.S. and Canada.

https://www.womenmarch.org/

Virginia Elected Officials Rally With Local 400 to Demand Minimum Wage Increase for Working Families and Access to Drivers’ Licenses for Immigrants

UFCW Local 400 member Rick Howell, who works at a Kroger store in Roanoke, speaks to a crowd at the #TakeActionVA rally in Richmond on Thursday.

Bipartisan coalition of elected officials, immigrants and low-wage workers called for $15 minimum wage and driver’s license access for undocumented immigrants working in Commonwealth

Take Action Virginia members and a number of state elected officials called on the Virginia legislature to answer the plea of working families who demand a $15-an-hour minimum wage and immigrant-rights activists who know that granting driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants is beneficial to the economy of the Commonwealth.

More than 250 people attended the rally outside the state capitol.

“Driver’s licenses are very important for everyone,” said state Sen. Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax. “That is why I continue fighting for them every year until it passes.”

Legislators from both parties support a measure to authorize driver’s licenses to immigrants working in Virginia, who alone contribute $5.5 billion in gross state product to the state economy.

At least 12 states and the District of Columbia have passed similar legislation. Having a state-issued form of ID allows undocumented people to open checking accounts, and also allows law enforcement officials to have positive and verifiable form of identification when detaining individuals.

In addition, advocates called on legislators to increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 by 2021. California, New York and the District of Columbia have passed similar legislation, along with several cities and municipalities.

“Every job in Virginia should be a good job,” said Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam. “I know first-hand, it is impossible for Virginians to, not only support themselves, but much less to support their families on $7.25 an hour. It’s time to give yourselves a pay raise.”

While the minimum wage in Virginia is only $7.25, an individual living in the city of Richmond requires an hourly wage of at least $11.93 to cover the cost of living, according to Dr. Amy K. Glasmeier of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. That number more than doubles if the individual has just one child to support.

“It’s time for us to turn the tide,” said Del. Sam Rasoul, D-Roanoke, who introduced the legislation to increase the federally mandated minimum wage up to $10 an hour this year and to $15 an hour by 2021. “So we’re gonna stand up.”

“It’s wrong to ask people to work two to three jobs and not be able to make ends meet,” said Del. Marcus Simon, D- Falls Church.

The measure has the support of Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, who emphatically rallied the crowd.

“Poverty knows no race, no color, no gender,” Stoney said. “I’m committed to the principle that everyone has an equal opportunity. That means a $15 min wage.”

People who would be directly affected by a minimum wage increase also spoke up.

“I’ve seen the anguished look on the faces of my coworkers when they can’t pay their bills,” said Rick Howell, a grocery clerk from Roanoke and member of UFCW Local 400. “The fight against corporate greed is the most important. The middle class is disappearing fast.”

Take Action Virginia is a progressive and diverse alliance of organizations working to win social, economic, and racial justice for all working families in Virginia that includes 32BJ SEIU, SEIU Virginia 512, CASA in Action, LiUNA! Mid-Atlantic, NAKASEC Action Fund, UNITE HERE Local 23, UNITE HERE Local 25, and UFCW Local 400. The member organizations of Take Action Virginia collectively represent tens of thousands of Virginians employed as home care workers, parks staff, librarians, building cleaners, nurses, construction & highway workers, hotel workers, retail employees, and more. They include African-American, immigrant, Latino, and Korean voters.

A Look Back on 2016

As 2016 comes to a close and we look forward to the year ahead, we want to take time to reflect on our successes over the year. We’ve welcomed hundreds of new members to our union family, successfully passed legislation to benefit hard-working families, and even saved hundreds of jobs threatened by a corporate merger overseas. We know we have our work cut out for us in 2017, but we will continue to meet every new challenge the same way: by sticking together as a union family.

January & February:

“Right to Work” Is WRONG for West Virginia
Thousands Gathered at West Virginia State Capitol To Stop War on Working Families More than 3,000 West Virginia workers gathered at the state capitol on January 13, 2016 to make sure their voices were heard loud and clear: “Right to Work is WRONG for West Virginia!”

UFCW Local 400 Condemns Passage of “Right to Work” in West Virginia
In a partisan vote, the West Virginia legislature voted to override Governor Tomblin’s veto of the “Workplace Freedom Act,” commonly known as “right to work.” Mark Federici, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400, issued the following statement:
“Every West Virginia State Legislator who supported passing this bill should be ashamed of themselves. The bottom line is ‘right to work’ will make it much more difficult for hardworking men and women to earn better wages, secure family-supporting benefits, or ensure proper safety in the workplace.”

Labor Management Partnership Awards Distinguished Service Award to Local 400 Member
Congratulations Margaret “Peggy” Kane, RN

March:

Delivery of Petition Signatures to Kroger on Behalf of Coworker Who Suffered Stroke Draws Local Media Attention
We delivered more than 330 signatures from employees to store managers at a Kroger Marketplace in Portsmouth, Virginia on behalf of Felecia Mayes, an 18-year employee with the company who suffered a stroke while commuting to work, lives only minutes away from the store. The petition called on the company to allow her to transfer to the store with all the benefits and protections of her union contract intact.

Local 400 Launches #SaveMyStore Campaign
Following shareholder approval of the merger of Ahold and Delhaize, the parent companies of local grocery chains Giant Food, Food Lion, and Martin’s, employees at eight area stores were informed that their stores may be sold as a result of the merger. With the future of so many jobs at stake, nearly 100 Giant Food employees were joined by local elected officials and community leaders to launch the #savemystore campaign at a press conference in Fredericksburg, VA.

Local 400 Activists Stand In Solidarity with Verizon Wireless Workers
On Saturday, March 19, Members of UFCW Local 400 were proud to join our brothers and sisters in the Communications Workers of America (CWA), Local 2204, at an informational picket at a Verizon Wireless store in Salem, Va.

April:

Long-time Local 400 representative and organizer Loyd Baker Retires

UFCW Rallies at the Supreme Court to Demand Justice for Immigrant Workers
The rally at the Supreme Court sent a strong message that the UFCW will continue pushing forward with our efforts to build worker power for immigrants and ensure that when the legal ruling on DAPA and expanded DACA are rendered, UFCW members are first in line when the application process begins.

May:

Hundreds of Employees, Customers, Allies Deliver Thousands of Petitions to Giant Demanding Save My Store
Hundreds of Local 400 members, Giant customers, brothers and sisters from other unions, community allies, elected officials and faith leaders today marched from Local 400’s office to Giant headquarters to deliver thousands of petitions telling the company, “Save My Store!”

Kroger Roanoke Members Authorize Strike Vote
On Wednesday, May 18, at our mass meeting in Salem, members voted unanimously to reject Kroger’s “last best offer” and authorize a strike at 41 stores in the region.

June:

New Contract Ratified with Kroger Roanoke

When Kroger tried to force us to accept a bad deal, it wasn’t until we all stood together and voted unanimously to authorize a strike that we forced Kroger to do better. By standing united, we won several improvements over our last contract, including higher starting pay and additional personal holidays.

D.C. joins Seattle and San Francisco to become third major city to enact $15 minimum wage

July:

We Saved Our Stores!
By standing together as a union family, we were successfully able to save hundreds of jobs and prevent all Giant eight stores in the region from being sold as part of a corporate merger.

Local 400 Members Mobilize for Giant & Safeway Contract Negotiations
Local 400 scheduled special meetings for all Safeway and Giant Food members to provide an opportunity to actively participate in the upcoming contract negotiations.

Local 400 Members Raise Thousands of Dollars to Help West Virginia Families Devastated by Flooding

August:

Thousands Gather in Richmond for Historic Fight for $15 March
Thousands and thousands of us marched through the streets of Richmond to demand economic justice for the 64 million Americans working for less than $15 an hour. The march brought together people from across the country working too much for too little – from Kroger associates to fast food workers to childcare providers and even college professors.

Workers at Nation’s Only Lipton Tea Factory Vote to Unionize
The Lipton plant has operated in Suffolk, Virginia for more than 60 years and produces nearly all of the Lipton tea sold in North America. Lipton workers announced the victory at a press conference outside the plant on Monday, August 29.

September:

Giant & Safeway Bargaining Team Begin Negotiations

October:

In-Store Actions at Giant and Safeway: Reporting Scheduling Violations, Talking to Customers and Being a Team
We created some serious buzz among the members and customers as we continued to bargain for a fair deal at Giant and Safeway. In just two days, more than 4,000 customers delivered cards to store managers expressing support for us as we negotiate our new contract.

November:

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

Lipton Workers Begin Negotiating First Union Contract With Unilever

December:

D.C. Council Advances Expansive Family and Medical Leave Rules
District of Columbia is set to pass the nation’s best paid family leave legislation in the country. The city council not only moved the Universal Paid Leave bill forward on Dec. 6, but restored medical leave to the program. The proposal now includes eight weeks of parental leave, six weeks of family leave and two weeks of medical leave, making it one of the nation’s most generous packages of family and medical leave benefits.

D.C. Council Advances Expansive Family and Medical Leave Rules

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The Council of the District of Columbia not only moved the Universal Paid Leave bill forward on Dec. 6, but restored medical leave to the program. The proposal now includes eight weeks of parental leave, six weeks of family leave and two weeks of medical leave, making it one of the nation’s most generous packages of family and medical leave benefits.

“Today’s vote demonstrates the power of families who united across the District around the shared need for vital benefits,” said Ward 7 resident Dyana Forester of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 400, which represents grocery and retail workers, many of whom are workers of color. “Now it’s up to the council and mayor to take the final step to make it a reality.”

The final vote on paid family leave is scheduled for Dec. 20. Mayor Muriel Bowser has still not indicated if she will ultimately support the bill, despite the backing over 80% of Washington, D.C., residents.

Read the details of the paid family leave bill.

Originally posted by Chris Garlock at AFL-CIO

Stay in a Fair Hotel This Holiday Season and Support Working Families

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The holiday season is one of the most travel-intense parts of the year, and many people will be visiting and sharing valuable time with loved ones. Your ability to travel and participate in these holiday traditions is, in many ways, a product of the hard work of people who have their own families and holiday traditions to try to enjoy. With our decisions each year, we can go a long way toward not only helping ourselves, but helping those around us, too. One key way to do this is to make sure that when you spend your money, it goes to responsible companies that do the right thing on behalf of their workers.

Lucky for holiday travelers, UNITE HERE has done the work to make sure you know which hotels are a good way to spend your money in support of working families. Their Fair Hotel Program is an easy way to make a real difference in the lives of the working people who make beds, prepare meals, clean rooms and do the other things that make your hotel experience a good one. When you use the Fair Hotel Program, not only do you make sure that working people can support their families, you help show that hotels that do the right thing can be prosperous hotels.

There are fair hotels in cities throughout the United States and Canada, across brands and price ranges. You can find a Fair Hotel online, with its iPhone app (search “FairHotel”) or with its Android app (search “FairHotel”).

Originally posted by Kenneth Quinnell at AFL-CIO

Shop Union for the Holidays

A seven-year Local 400 member, Tsiegereda Yimer works in Shiseido Cosmetics at Macy’s in Bethesda, Md. She suggests that holiday shoppers consider gift sets or the wide array of skin treatments and make-up that she sells. Members should patronize union stores because, “When we have a union, we have confidence,” she said. “The union supports our concerns and our rights. We have someone to listen to us.”

A Local 400 member for many years, Tsiegereda Yimer works in Shiseido Cosmetics at Macy’s in Bethesda, Md. She suggests that holiday shoppers consider gift sets or the wide array of skin treatments and make-up that she sells. Members should patronize union stores because, “When we have a union, we have confidence,” she said. “The union supports our concerns and our rights. We have someone to listen to us.”

The holiday season is a time for giving. But each purchase you make can generate twice the gift when you shop at stores employing our Local 400 brothers and sisters.

First, of course, the gift will go to a loved one or friend. Second, the gift will support our fellow members and strengthen our union. Because the more members who buy union, the more our employers grow and the more likely they are to hire more workers, expand hours, and agree to contracts improving your wages and benefits.

“Shopping union is simply the right thing to do, during the holidays and throughout the year,” said Local 400 President Mark P. Federici. “It’s good for your bottom line, because it enables you to buy quality products at affordable prices while receiving the best service anywhere in the world. But it’s also good for our collective bottom lines. After all, the more business union retailers receive, the stronger our union will be and the better collective bargaining agreements we’ll be able to negotiate.

“Equally important, the more union employers expand, the more the middle class will start growing again and the more our economic standing will rise,” Federici said. “It’s the ultimate win-win solution.”

Local 400 members work at many stores capable of fulfilling your holiday needs with outstanding service at affordable prices, giving you the full range of gift options. Our retail employers include:

For holiday gifts of every kind:

Macy’s Department Stores in Washington, D.C. (Metro Center), Bethesda (Montgomery Mall), Bowie (Bowie Town Center), Gaithersburg (Lakeforest Mall), Hyattsville (The Mall at Prince Georges), Marlow Heights (Marlow Heights Shopping Center), Waldorf (Charles Towne Center) and Wheaton, Md (Westfield Wheaton)

Bloomingdale’s Department Store in Chevy Chase, Md.

For high-quality, name-brand clothing and other gift items:

Brooks Brothers in Washington, D.C.

For holiday food—whether it’s catered parties, pre-prepared dishes or ingredients for home-cooked feasts:

Giant in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Kroger in Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Safeway in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Shoppers Food & Pharmacy in Maryland and Virginia

Bestway Supermercado in Falls Church, Va.

Bestway Super Mundo Latino in Silver Spring Md.

Bethesda Co-op in Bethesda, Md.

When at the supermarket, look for Tyson’s Chicken and Boar’s Head meat products. In addition, you can order your groceries online at Peapod.com and have them delivered right to your home.

Where you spend your money matters. By shopping at any of these stores, you’ll be getting great value for your dollar while also lifting up your fellow Local 400 members.

New Contracts Ratified With Safeway & Giant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Stronger Together: Giant Reaches Tentative Agreement

Be There to Vote November 16

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Your Bargaining Advisory Team

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Lipton Suffolk 2017 Benefits Update

Unilever Health & Welfare Plan for Hourly Employees in Suffolk, VA

Unilever and UFCW Local 400 have begun the collective bargaining discussions required following the vote to unionize on 08/26/2016.  While no contract is in place between Unilever and UFCW Local 400, both parties recognized the necessity of acting now on health care for 2017 while contract negotiations continue between the two parties.

As a result of negotiations, the Company and the Union have agreed that the hourly employees of Suffolk be excluded from the UNICare annual enrollment process for 2017 which is going on now.  The Company and the Union have further agreed that the medical and dental plans and employee contributions which were in place for 2016 remain unchanged for 2017 or until a new health and welfare program is negotiated.

As a result of the short time frame before January 1, 2017, an open enrollment to add dependents or change health or dental options will take place with paper enrollment forms in early to mid-December 2016.  This requires Unilever to offer a separate Annual Enrollment period to the hourly employees of Suffolk and the exact dates for that will be announced shortly.

Since this is occurring so late in the year, it requires extensive amount of work on the part of Unilever’s claims administrators (UnitedHealthcare, CVS Caremark and Metlife).  They have all configured their systems to manage the 2017 UNICare plans and were not prepared to maintain the 2016 plan designs.  The administrators are currently working to set up the 2016 plan designs for the hourly employees of Suffolk but have advised Unilever that the work will not be finalized by January 1, 2017.

What does this mean?

A glitch will occur January 1, 2017.  The extension of the 2016 benefits in health care and dental will not be able to be implemented by the plan administrator and communicated to health care providers until sometime later in the first quarter of the year.

When the 2016 benefits are put back into place, adjustments will be made and providers will be paid under the 2016 benefit plan retroactive to January 1, 2017.  This means that if you go to a health care provider in the first quarter of the year, the doctor or other provider will have the incorrect information for your coverage.

This will mean that your doctor or other health provider may see coverage showing you owing additional out of pocket expenses. This is because claims incurred between January 1st and as late as March 31, 2017 will initially be paid using the 2017 plan rules that were established for the 2017 UNICare plans.  When the current 2016 plan is fully reinstated by the end of the first quarter of 2017, all claims will be reprocessed and doctors and health care providers will be paid any additional funds they are owed under the terms of the plan.

UFCW Local 400 and Unilever hope to provide a letter from the plan administrator outlining the differences between what the providers will see beginning January 1, 2017 and what the actual benefit will be retroactive to January 1, 2017.

Payroll deductions in 2017 for health insurance and dental insurance will remain at the same rates that were in effect during 2016.

UFCW Local 400 and Unilever will continue to work to minimize any disruption to employee health care for 2017. We realize that this can be confusing until the correct plan terms are implemented. Additional communications to keep you informed and up to date will be forthcoming.

Please refer to the attached summary of your 2016 Medical and Dental plans. If you would like a copy of the full 2016 Summary Plan description of your benefits, see the plant Human Resources department.

If you should have questions regarding your 2017 health plan coverage, please contact the plant Human Resources department or Union Representative Kayla Mock.

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Strike Preparations Begin at Giant

Tentative Agreement Reached with Safeway, But Giant Refuses to Budge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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