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Kroger Richmond/Tidewater Bargaining Update: Do You Need More Hours?

 

As bargaining for our new contract continues, we are working hard at the negotiating table on the three things we know we deserve and have earned: better pay, affordable health care, and respect for our union. At the same time, we know that in order to take care of ourselves and our families we need to have access to the hours we need to take advantage of fair wages, become eligible for affordable health care, and get the respect we deserve.

 

Over the past several days, we have been out in the stores collecting interest letters from members who want more hours and full-time jobs. Article 11.4 of our current contract outlines the process for making your desire for a full-time job known, and we want to make sure everyone who is interested in more hours has the opportunity to fill out a letter and let Kroger know that we have earned more full-time job opportunities.

 

If you have not had the opportunity to fill out a letter yet, please contact your shop steward or call your representative now so we can make sure you have the opportunity to fill one out as soon as possible. We know that Kroger has been successful and growing over the last four years of our current contract and in order to share in that growth and success we need access to more hours and more full-time jobs.

 

We are going to continue to work at the table, and we need you to continue to stand up in the stores. Sign an interest letter, make sure new employees at your store are joining the union, and if you haven’t yet, sign up for text message alerts so you are the first to get updates by texting “Richmond” to 698-329.

 

We work hard every day and have made Kroger successful in a very competitive market. They have been able to make a profit, open new stores, and buy other chains. We have earned the right to share in that success and are ready to do what it takes to get our fair share and, as always, we will continue to keep you updated every step of the way.

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Montgomery General Workers Prevent Major Cuts With New Union Contract

Local 400 members working at the Montgomery General Elderly Care Center in Montgomery, W.Va. recently ratified a strong new union contract after months of difficult, rancorous negotiations.

At the start of negotiations, management presented a list of 34 takeaway proposals.  These included eliminating the workers’ pension, reducing health benefits, cutting vacation time and taking away two holidays.

Needless to say, the workers were having none of it.

“I’ve worked for this company for 30 years and this was the third bargaining I’ve been involved with,” said Pam Barron, a Local 400 shop steward who works in housekeeping/environmental services. “This was by far the toughest set of negotiations, but in the end, we turned it around.”

The workers stood strong in solidarity in opposing Montgomery General’s extreme demands. On Fridays, they are allowed to wear t-shirts to work, so every Friday during bargaining, they wore their Local 400 t-shirts, hats and buttons. They also wore their Local 400 t-shirts to the company picnic.

“Everyone was wonderful and once the company saw we were strong, that helped out,” Pam said. “If we hadn’t gotten a deal, we were ready to strike, too. Cynthia Davis, our other shop steward, was terrific, keeping us all together, fired up and ready to act.

“I think the company also finally realized how hard we work and how dedicated we are,” Pam added. “That’s what led to our contract.”

The final agreement provides for a three percent raise, and it maintained the workers’ pension, holidays and vacations.

“This is a good company and they’ve been good to me,” Pam said. “I just thank God we got through this and hopefully, we won’t have to again. I’m also thankful for our union, which was wonderful every step of the way.”

Dr. Pepper Workers Win Major Wage Increases in New Union Contract

Local 400 members working at the Dr. Pepper plants in Fairmont, West Virginia, and Belpre, Ohio, recently ratified a new union contract that includes the largest wage increases since the facility was organized.

Warehouse workers will receive as much as $3.50/hour more over the four year term of the contract, while drivers and others who are paid by the case or by the mile will also receive large pay hikes. All workers will have a slight reduction in out-of-pocket costs for health insurance in 2019 and the employer has agreed to a 100% match into the 401(k) plan.

“We gained on everything,” said Rod Plauger, a bulk delivery driver and shop steward who organized the plant approximately 20 years ago and served on the bargaining committee. “This gave us more than we ever have.  We got everything we asked for.

“This round of bargaining was a lot calmer than the way things used to go,” he said. “In the past, the company would never give us a penny. The company was doing a changeover with new ownership and that might have played a part.”

Still, the road to a contract was not smooth. In fact, the members rejected the company’s first contract offer.

“Our members are strong-willed,” Rod said. “It was surprising to a lot of people that the first offer was rejected. We were prepared for anything, even a strike. But when we went back to the company, they moved some money around until everybody was satisfied.

“I was very impressed with the way negotiations were handled on our side, and the result speaks for itself,” he added.

Annapolis Police Win Take-Home Cars, 20-Year Pensions in New Union Contract

Pictured left to right: Johnie Perry, Local 400 Representative; Ofc. Deborah Sauriol-Inoni; Cpl. Hil O’Herlihy; and Det. Aaron Stein.

Annapolis Police Officers represented by Local 400 recently ratified a strong new contract that addressed their top priorities and improved the recruitment of qualified candidates by enabling all officers to receive take-home vehicles and reducing the time needed to receive full pensions from 25 to 20 years.

The negotiations took an unusually long time because a new mayor was elected and the city manager and finance director both resigned in the middle of contract negotiations. But the officers stayed strong and won on all the key issues before them.

“I’ve been in past negotiations where it feels like ‘us versus them,’” said Corporal Hil O’Herlihy, chief steward and a member of the Bargaining Committee. “But here, at the end of the day, we got together and worked out a deal that was beneficial to everybody. I was very happy. Everyone on both sides stepped up and did their jobs. This sets the Police Department up well for the future, and that will benefit the citizens of Annapolis.”

What was critical to the process was member solidarity. The primary goals benefited younger officers, because senior officers already had take-home vehicles and 20-year pensions. “Everyone understood that the younger officers were just looking for what the older officers already have,” Corporal O’Herlihy said. “People recognized that this is what matters for the agency going forward. It gives us a chance to get better qualified candidates, and all officers benefit when we’re able to recruit good people.”

Key provisions in the contract include:

  • Half of all officers will receive a take home vehicle in 2019 and the other half will receive them in 2020.  The city will purchase more than 40 additional vehicles to make this possible.
  • All officers will be eligible to receive full pension benefits after 20 years, including those hired after 2012, who had previously been on a 25-year schedule.
  • The City for the first time agreed to fully fund the Police and Fire pension by paying the amount “actuarially determined by the plan.”
  • Members will receive cost of living increases totaling 5.5 percent in addition to any step increases.
  • Military members will receive 120 hours of leave instead of “two weeks” for annual training.
  • Members will be eligible to accumulate 120 hours of compensatory time, up from 80 hours.
  • Key language surrounding Detective on call, SWAT team response and Field Training pay were included in the contract for the first time.

In addition to their solidarity and perseverance, the members benefited from the fact that competition is fierce to hire qualified police officers. Local 400 members serving on the Annapolis Police Force persuaded city management that the take-home cars and improved pension benefits were essential to the Department’s ability to be fully staffed with the best possible officers in the future.

Annapolis Police Officers Hailed As Heroes in Capital-Gazette Shooting

When the horrific mass shooting took place at the Annapolis Capital-Gazette on June 28th, Local 400 members serving as Annapolis police officers were the first to respond.

Even though the newspaper’s offices are outside the city borders in Anne Arundel County, Annapolis police officers were near the scene and arrived first. Not knowing what they would find, they charged into an active shooter situation, found and subdued the shooter, and worked to help the victims until emergency medical personnel arrived.

“My fellow officers went right in to the scene with no hesitation,” said said Corporal Hil O’Herlihy, Local 400 chief steward. “They ran towards the shooter and eventually placed him under arrest. They followed their training and their performance under the worst of circumstances couldn’t have been more impressive.

“Needless to say, it was incredibly traumatic to arrive in a room where people are screaming, bleeding and horribly injured,” Corporal O’Herlihy said. “Fortunately, the Department provides peer-to-peer support and other assistance to help them cope and heal. I was off-duty that day, but all of us know this is part of our commitment to service, and we’re all here to support one another—and support our community.”

Five Capital-Gazette journalists tragically lost their lives that day. But had it not been for the courage of Local 400’s Annapolis police officers, the outcome could have been even worse. They deserve our thanks and our admiration.

Minimal Progress in Kaiser Contract Negotiations June 25-26

 

The following bargaining update is from the Alliance of Health Care Unions negotiating a new nationwide contract with Kaiser Permanente:

Orange County, June 26 – In the first of two jam-packed days of bargaining, union negotiators initially made some progress addressing labor and management interests. But by the second day, negotiators had to contend with management proposals that were made and then withdrawn, and a management proposal to eliminate 15-year old “provisions in the National or Local Agreements that prohibit the employer from cancelling or reassigning staff.”  Kaiser proposed to be able to cancel shifts without pay up to two hours before shift start time, proposing to pay for half of the shift if the cancellation is less than two hours before start time.

The economic subgroup had a two-hour meeting and made limited progress on economic issues. The union team emphasized that we intend to preserve and improve our benefits, and win strong wage increases for all Alliance union members. Management proposed increased health care co-pays.

In a union caucus at the end of the second day, leaders encouraged union members to attend bargaining on Sunday, July 8. “This is the eleventh hour,” said Alliance Chair Kathleen Theobald. “This is when we need union members to show up and let Kaiser know we care.”

In the Operational Effectiveness subgroup, negotiators discussed forecasting the work of the future and staff. Management again called for flexibility, and the unions stressed that the key to flexibility is engaging labor early in the change process, before decisions are made.

“All the things that we’re trying to tackle really stem from the need to have meaningful participation from labor,” explained subgroup Union Co-Lead Lisa Loucks of UFCW Local 555.

The group discussed the need to fully include labor in forecasting and planning for the work of the future, and addressing barriers, especially barriers to placing employees who have achieved higher qualifications within Kaiser.

It was in this subgroup that management called to end the no-cancellation policy.

“There’s frustration on both sides,” added Kim Smith of UNAC/UHCP. “We need to implement the National Agreement so that management gets what it needs and we get what we need out of it.”

The Partnership subgroup focused on improving access to LMP training. In some areas and classifications, basic LMP learning has virtually ground to a halt, including even required LMP Orientation for new hires.

“We need to ensure that from the first time they walk through the door, new frontline workers and managers are trained in how to work in partnership and what the expectations are,” said Valery Robinson, USW 7600 President. “We don’t want to go backwards.”

To speed the development of updated national curriculum, agreement was reached to empower a national LMP Learning Group that will report quarterly to the LMP Executive Committee.

The group discussed tightening up and improving training standards for new hires.

The union negotiating team also continued to advance proposals to require minimum hours of LMP training every year for every employee, and to expand the current 4-hour LMP Orientation to a full 8-hour LMP Orientation class.

“Our goal is to make sure new employees, managers, and newly accreted union members receive partnership training in a timely manner,” said Katie Ekstrom, OFNHP Local 5017 and subgroup Union Co-Lead. “We are shifting our partnership culture through a renewed commitment to learning about partnership early.”

POSTPONED: Macy’s Contract Meeting May 20th Postponed Until Further Notice

The Macy’s Bargaining Committee – pictured left to right: Bianca Morris (Marlow Heights), Arleetta Hunter (Montgomery Mall), Mary Burns-O’Connor (Bowie), Kimberly Mitchell (Metro Center), Lewis Mattison (Montgomery Mall)

The Macy’s contract meeting previously scheduled for Sunday, May 20th has been postponed until further notice.

We began these contract negotiations united with our brothers and sisters from UFCW Local 21 working at Macy’s stores in Seattle. By standing united coast to coast, we are able to work together to negotiate better contracts for all of us.

Thanks to all of you who took action for a fair contract, we have successfully reached a tentative agreement with Macy’s that we are prepared to recommend for ratification. But while our contract talks have concluded, negotiations are still underway between Macy’s and our fellow union members at UFCW Local 21 in Seattle.

We’re in this together. We started this united coast to coast, and we’re going to finish it united coast to coast. That’s why, with the unanimous support of your bargaining committee, we have decided we will not vote on our new contract until Macy’s reaches an agreement with our brothers and sisters on the west coast. We will continue to wear our buttons and take action in solidarity with our Macy’s coworkers in Seattle.

Rest assured, we expect the wage increases and other gains we have made in our new contract to take effect retroactively. We are also aware that open enrollment for your health insurance begins on Tuesday, May 22. Later this week, we will be giving you additional information about health care changes that are included in the tentative agreement so you will have all of the information you need in order to make your enrollment selection.

We will notify all Macy’s members once our contract meeting has been rescheduled. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out to us with your questions and comments.

May 22 & 23: Fight For A Better Contract At Kroger

BETTER PAY + AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE + RESPECT

Join us for an upcoming union contract meeting to help us to shape our strategy and prioritize our goals for contract negotiations.

We are fighting for a fair contract with better pay, affordable healthcare, and respect for our union. We need to hear what YOU want to see in your upcoming contract, so make sure to be there!

Please plan to attend one of the meetings listed below. You are welcome to attend either of them.

You should also receive a card in the mail inviting you to the meeting. Please bring this card with you to whichever meeting you attend.

Kroger Union Contract Meetings

Richmond Area – May 22, 2018
6:00 pm
Comfort Suites Innsbrook
4051 Innslake Drive, Glen Allen, VA, 23060

Norfolk Area – May 23, 2018
6:00 pm
Iron Workers Local 79
5307 E Virginia Beach Blvd # 102, Norfolk, VA 23502

 

Sign Up for Text Alerts

As we negotiate our next union contract with Kroger, we’re committed to keeping you informed every step of the way. With so many ways to stay in the loop, don’t get left out of the conversation!

Text Richmond 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

May 2: Tyson Foods Contract Meeting

We pulled together an outstanding team of Tyson Foods members to lead negotiations on our next contract, including Benita Jefferson, Mary Vines Smith, Alana Baylor, Andrew Adams, Tiffany Davenport, Aleta Johnson, Jean Turner, and Lucinda Sims.

On Wednesday, May 2, we will be hosting a contract meeting for members working at Tyson Foods.

As a Local 400 union member, you have the opportunity to get answers to your questions and vote on your next contract. Please make a plan to attend this important contract meeting.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

12:00 p.m. Noon – 2:00 p.m.  or  4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Clarion Hotel Central
3207 N Boulevard, Richmond, VA 23230

April 15: CVS Contract Meeting

Photo via Flickr

On Sunday, April 15, we will be hosting a contract meeting for members working at CVS. As a Local 400 union member, you have the opportunity to get answers to your questions and vote on your next contract. Please make a plan to attend this important contract meeting.

7:00 p.m., Sunday, April 15, 2018

UFCW Local 400 Headquarters
8400 Corporate Drive, Landover, MD 20785
Please note: We’ll be meeting in the first floor meeting room. Please enter through the door at the rear of the building.

Forming a New Coalition of Unions to Negotiate with Kaiser Permanente

Local 400 shop stewards from Kaiser Permanente facilities in the mid-Atlantic region pose for a photo during a seminar in February.

To secure the best new contract possible as we head into negotiations, 21 local unions from the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions (CKPU) – including UFCW Local 400 – have decided to create a new coalition.

We are forming this new coalition because it is the best way to ensure that we enter negotiations from a position of strength. This move will help to guarantee that every dedicated member who works at Kaiser Permanente will see the better contract they deserve.

Additionally, this change will improve our partnership with Kaiser Permanente so that together we can continue to see a better workplace and better patient care.

Please know that the current National Agreement with Kaiser remains in full effect. And we will immediately be taking steps with our new coalition to ensure this agreement is enhanced through upcoming negotiations.

While we are departing the CKPU, we will continue to engage in current Labor-Management Partnership activities. Members should remain full participants of their Unit-Based Teams and Labor-Management Partnership Committees.

In the coming weeks, we will create governing documents for the new coalition and arrange for Kaiser Permanente to bargain with us as a group. This new coalition represents about 45,000 workers and the committed Local Unions who belong to it represent workers in all but two Kaiser Permanente regions. By forming it, we will truly be stronger together.

Thank you for your hard work and for being a member of the UFCW union family. If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.