Tagged as Glen Allen


NAACP Calls On Trio Healthcare to Restore MLK Day Holiday, Negotiate Fair Contract

Members of Local 400 serving on the union bargaining committee pose for a picture with union staff and leaders of the NAACP in the Greater Richmond area.

On Sunday, leaders representing thousands of NAACP members in the Greater Richmond area delivered a letter calling on Trio Healthcare to negotiate a fair contract with Local 400 members working at Elizabeth Adam Crump Health and Rehab center in Richmond, Virginia.

The NAACP condemned the company for attempting to take away the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, stating:

“We are sure we do not have to share with you how important the King holiday is or how long our community had to fight to win the right to recognize his work. It was not until the year 2000 that Virginia created a separate holiday for Dr. King. We are living in divisive times, and having time to reflect on Dr. King’s life and legacy is more important than ever.”

The NAACP called on Trio Healthcare to restore the holiday and negotiate a fair contract which “rewards hard work, maintains company profitability and ensures quality patient care.”

The NAACP is the latest in a growing list of community organizations who support our efforts to negotiate a fair contract. By not only standing together as coworkers, but uniting as a greater community, we can win the fair deal that we deserve.

The full letter is pictured below.

UFCW Members Make Safety A Priority at Tyson Poultry Plant

On a typical day at the Tyson Foods Processing Plant in Glen Allen, Virginia, Local 400 Shop Steward Aleta Johnsons was operating the Packmat bagging machine. All of a sudden, she heard a co-worker yelling, “Stop, stop, stop! Please help — stop the line!”

She ran to the conveyor belt, where she saw five-pound bags of wingettes piling up and falling on the floor. Then, she immediately pulled a switch and stopped the line.

Just 10 days earlier, this would not have been possible. Only managers had the power to stop the line. But thanks to a recently instituted reform worked out between Local 400 members and Tyson management, any worker has the power to halt the entire production line if he or she witnesses a safety hazard, as Aleta did.

“We’re supposed to have 10 to13 people on our line, but since I’ve been working there, we’ve only had six,” Aleta said. “On that day, there were just four and one was a new person being trained while the line was running. It was too much too fast for too few people. That’s why the chicken was piling up and why I stopped it.

“A manager came back, asked what was going on and I explained what happened,” she recalled. “He said, ‘take your time—I’ll try to get two more people for your line.’ They never came, but he told us to work at our own pace. So about 10 minutes later, we were able to get things back up and running, and we adjusted the speed so we weren’t overwhelmed.”

Aleta makes a point of being safety conscious. “One day several months ago, I was rethreading the Packmat machine,” she said. “It’s not supposed to turn on when the door’s open but the trip wire was blown and that’s what happened. It ripped the sleeve off my smock and could have taken my arm off. It scared the living daylights out of me. We had a standing room only emergency meeting afterward to address the problem.”

A combination of union activism and management concerned about the company’s reputation elevated the importance of safety and the need to empower workers to take action. Tyson launched a national program called “We Care,” with the direct input of UFCW. The first plant to implement the program was Glen Allen, thanks to monthly meetings between workers (including Aleta) and plant managers—meetings required by the collective bargaining agreement between Local 400 and Tyson.

“I’ve seen a difference in management since we’ve had these monthly meetings,” Aleta said.
“The atmosphere is a lot different. They’re taking us seriously when we make recommendations and following through. And not just on safety—the meetings also led to improvements in the pay process and our ability to schedule personal days. There are things we need to work on—like better-staffed lines and an end to 10-hour work days—but it’s coming along. And our union has been so helpful in all of this.”

Thanks to these efforts—and the courage and decisiveness Aleta showed—safety protections for Tyson workers are getting stronger every day.