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Community Organizations & Labor Leaders Call on Chairman Mendelson to Renounce “Moratorium”

CONTACT: Ari Schwartz DC Jobs With Justice; ari@dcjwj.org or 202-674-3228

On the eve of a Trump administration and Republican-controlled Congress, D.C. Council Chairman shockingly announces refusal to consider further progressive legislation.

Washington, D.C. – Community organizations and labor unions applaud the news that the Universal Paid Leave Act will move to a vote in the D.C. Council on December 6th and look forward to it passing by the end of the year. But in announcing a revised proposal of the legislation on Tuesday, D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson buried a brief and shocking statement at the end of his press release. Seemingly to placate businesses that “may be unhappy that this bill establishes a new tax on them,” the Chairman said he will “support a two-year moratorium on the adoption of similar bills, such as mandating scheduling requirements or nurse staffing ratios in hospitals.”

Various community organizations and labor unions that advocate for and represent working people across the District were stunned and deeply concerned to see the Chairman make such an unprecedented statement.

Elizabeth Falcon, Executive Director of DC Jobs With Justice, called Chairman Mendelson’s statement “the opposite of the leadership we need in this new era.” She said, “The Council will improve the lives of thousands of District residents when it passes Paid Family Leave. But that alone is not enough to have a good life in the District. Workers already face barriers to enough work, dignified working conditions, and opportunities for real careers. And what new issues will emerge over the next two years? Abandoning the Council’s responsibility to ensure those basic needs is shocking to us.”

Kimberly Mitchell, a Ward 7 resident and retail worker, said, “My bills don’t stop for two years. My family’s needs don’t stop for two years. My neighbors can’t stop worrying about being pushed out for two years. Why should the Chairman stop doing his job for two years?”

Jacob Feinspan, Executive Director of Jews United for Justice and a key advocate of the paid family leave bill, said, “we were disappointed that Mr. Mendelson introduced a revised paid family leave bill that falls far short of the real needs of District residents by cutting out medical leave, and it is further troubling that he would threaten to prevent future action on commonsense measures to help the District’s working families.”

Carlos Jimenez, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO, said the Metro Council is “extremely concerned that there has been a reference to a moratorium on future economic legislation that would benefit working families, including discussions on safe staffing ratios and fair scheduling practices.” However, “today we’re focused on winning passage of paid leave. Skyrocketing inequality and new threats from the incoming administration mean our elected officials must do even more for working people, not less. Paid Family Leave is a huge step forward, but the Council’s work does not end there.”

Carol Joyner, Director for the Labor Project for Working Families, said, “We live a “tale of two cities” reality in DC and a moratorium on improvements to job quality only legislates that reality.  UPLA as currently proposed already has significant concessions to big business: most notably, the lack of coverage for one’s own medical care and the narrow definition of family. These concessions along with a moratorium will only exacerbate the race and ethnic disparities in our city.”

Valerie Ervin of the Working Families Party underscored the need to double down and not back away from fighting for a more inclusive and just Washington, D.C. “Now more than ever we need the chairman and the D.C. Council to lead by example. In the era of Trump, when working people will come under an unprecedented assault, we cannot afford to leave families behind. We must reject the Chairman’s zero sum mentality and recognize that we can only thrive as a community when everyone has a chance to succeed.”

Ellen Bravo, Executive Director of Family Values at Work, said, “While we commend Chair Mendelson and the DC Council for the introduction of UPLA, we are deeply concerned to hear the Chair call for a moratorium on other actions that will help the District’s overworked, underpaid residents. Paid family and medical leave is critical for all workers, as are predictable schedules, fair wages, and high quality health care. The District has an opportunity to be a leader in the nation for all workers, especially the most disenfranchised. We need a Council that will be there for all DC residents, regardless of their ward, wealth, or working status.”

Mark Federici, President of UFCW Local 400, said, “Day in and day out, the men and women of UFCW Local 400 work hard to meet the needs of shoppers in the District’s grocery and retail stores. It’s deeply disappointing to learn that the Chairman of the D.C. Council refuses to work just as hard to meet their needs.”

Reverend Graylan S. Hagler of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ said, “On the eve of a new administration that promises to champion countless attacks on hardworking families, it’s utterly shocking that the chairman would promise to halt all progressive legislation in the District for the first two years of the Trump presidency.”

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You can find Chairman Mendelson’s statement here.

UFCW Local 400 Endorses Levar Stoney for Richmond Mayor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 29, 2016

CONTACT
Jonathan Williams, Communications Manager, jwilliams@local400.org

Union of food and grocery workers weighs in on mayoral race

RICHMOND, VA – Local 400 of the United Food & Commercial Workers union (UFCW) announced its endorsement today of Levar Stoney for mayor of Richmond.

“Mr. Stoney understands the challenges facing hard-working families today. He is committed to upholding and improving working standards, not undermining them. He knows the working people of Richmond need to be at the table, not on the chopping block. We believe Mr. Stoney will bring a fresh approach to city hall and we look forward to his much-needed leadership,” said Mark Federici, president of UFCW Local 400.

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Take Action Virginia Endorses LuAnn Bennett and Hillary Clinton

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 21, 2016

 

WOODBRIDGE, VA – Take Action Virginia, an alliance of community and labor organizations focused on improving the lives of working and immigrant families, announced today its endorsement of LuAnn Bennett for Congress and Hillary Clinton for President, two candidates who vow to work toward a more progressive agenda in Virginia and nationwide.

In Virginia’s District 10, Take Action is supporting LuAnn Bennett in light of her unwavering support of comprehensive immigration reform. Bennett has said that if elected, she would be in favor of a comprehensive, bipartisan approach to immigration legislation.
 
We believe Bennett is the kind of fair candidate Virginia’s District 10 deserves.

A cosmopolitan, racially diverse district deserves a candidate who supports raising the minimum wage and investing in badly needed infrastructure and transportation projects, has supported a woman’s right to choose, and equal pay. As opposed to her opponent Rep. Barbara Comstock who has repeatedly sided with the far right-wing of Republicans in the House, Bennett has stood with working moms and favors access to quality health care.

Comstock has also refused to condemn Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump for this attack on Mexican immigrants, an American born judge of Latino descent, and a Muslim Gold Star family.

“Comstock has refused to condemn Donald Trump for his racist attacks, to us, not surprisingly given that Trump has hosted fundraisers to support her candidacy,” said CASA in Action President Gustavo Torres. “Comstock shares many of the beliefs Donald Trump shares and we think they both would be very dangerous for this country.”

Bennett has repeatedly stated she will work to end the partisan Washington gridlock that has stalled progress in such important issues as infrastructure repair and job creation.
 
Virginia’s 10th congressional district includes all of Clarke CountyFrederick County, and Loudoun County, and the cities of ManassasManassas Park, and Winchester, with portions of Fairfax and Prince William Counties.

Take Action is also endorsing Hillary Clinton for President. Clinton has promised she will make immigration reform one of her top priorities if she is elected. We are encouraged that she listed immigration reform as her number one task during her first 100 days in office.

“If Congress won’t act, I’ll defend President Obama’s executive actions and I’ll go even further to keep families together. I’ll end family detention centers, and help more people become naturalized.”

Clinton has fought for quality, affordable care for more than 25 years and has vowed to defend the Affordable Care Act. Additionally, she plans to crack down on drug companies that charge outrageous prices, slow the growth of out-of-pocket costs and provide new credit to those facing high health expenses.  She is a pro-choice candidate who has promised to protect Planned Parenthood.

“We believe that Hillary Clinton is the right choice for Virginia and the right choice for the United States,” said Mark Federici, President of UFCW Local 400.

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Take Action Virginia is an electoral collaboration of community and labor organizations that share concerns about issues impacting working families in Virginia.  Our members are SEIU 32BJ, SEIU Virginia 512, CASA in Action,LiUNA! Mid-Atlantic, NAKASEC Action Fund, UNITE HERE Local 23, UNITE HERE Local 25, and UFCW Local 400.

Workers at Nation’s Only Lipton Tea Factory Vote to Unionize

Lipton workers announced the victory at a press conference outside the plant on Monday, August 29. They were joined by several supporters, including Virginia Senator L. Louise Lucas, Doris Course-Mays, President of the Virginia AFL-CIO, and Renee Browder, Financial Secretary Treasurer of ATU Local 1177.

Lipton workers announced the victory at a press conference outside the plant on Monday, August 29. They were joined by several supporters, including Virginia Senator L. Louise Lucas, Doris Course-Mays, President of the Virginia AFL-CIO, and Renee Browder, Financial Secretary Treasurer of ATU Local 1177.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 29, 2016

CONTACT
Jonathan Williams, UFCW Local 400, jwilliams@local400.org

Hundreds of workers in southeast Virginia manufacturing plant vote to unionize with UFCW Local 400

SUFFOLK, VA – Last week, nearly 200 workers at the Lipton plant voted to unionize with Local 400 of the United Food & Commercial Workers Union (UFCW).

“I woke up this morning feeling wonderful,” said Lisa Gayle, who’s been with the company for 14 years. “As a unified group, now we can make Lipton the best place it can be. I’m so excited!”

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. More than 200 employees currently work at the plant, but that number could as much as double in the coming months as the company expands its workforce.

“I couldn’t be happier to welcome such a wonderful group of people into the UFCW family,” said Mark Federici, President of UFCW Local 400. “Their courage, commitment and tireless efforts bolstered my faith in the power of working people to stand up for themselves and improve the lives of all hardworking men and women.”

On Monday morning, the workers held a press conference outside the plant to announce the victory.

“For the last ten years, we’ve seen our benefits decline. By standing together as one, as a union, we hope we can stop the bleeding now before it’s too late,” explained Alvin Brown, an Operations Technician who celebrated his 21st year with the company on Monday.

“I’m so proud of all of us for coming together and standing as one,” said Rodney Hart, who has worked at the company for 24 years. “We come a long way in a few weeks, and now we have to stand as one and support each other in order for our union and our company to be the best at what we do.”

The workers were joined by several supporters, including Virginia Senator L. Louise Lucas, who represents the district where the plant is located.

“I just wanted to say how proud I am of what you’ve accomplished here,” Senator Lucas told the workers in attendance. “It takes a lot of hard work and courage to do what you’ve done and I know our district is better off for it. I know you’ve worked hard to make Lipton the success it is today. Congratulations on taking the bold step to form a union and stand up for your rights at work.”

“Welcome to the union family,” said Doris Course-Mays, President of the Virginia AFL-CIO, who also attended the event. “You may not know this, but you’re not alone. You have union brothers and sisters throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia behind you today.”

Renee Browder, Financial Secretary Treasurer of ATU Local 1177, the union of transit workers throughout the region, echoed the sentiment. “Unions are all about unity – not just unity with your brothers and sisters at work, but unity with everyone that works hard for a living. When we stand together, we all do better.”

Earlier this year, 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 before doing it again. The widespread practice of forcing employees to work overtime was known as “drafting” and went on for years. The workers claimed they needed the guarantees and protections of a union contract to ensure fair treatment and accountability from plant management, including putting an end to involuntary overtime drafting.

“We just want a voice. 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 at the plant who recently marked his 25th year with the company. “Now, we’re looking forward to having a seat at the table and negotiating a fair contract with Unilever.”

Following last week’s vote, the workers will now collectively negotiate their first union contract with Unilever, the parent company of Lipton, which could cover several aspects of employment, including wages, benefits, safety measures, and workplace policies.

“I have such a wonderful group of coworkers,” explained Anita Anderson, who has worked at the plant for 10 years. Like many of her coworkers, she’s looking forward to the next step in the process. “Whether you voted for the union or not, whether you’re a worker or a manager, now it’s time to move forward, together. Let’s let our unity and smiles warm the hearts of many. Working together is the only way we will ensure we have a fair contract that treats us all as equals.”

With the support of their union, UFCW Local 400, the workers will begin the bargaining process by surveying coworkers to gather input on their first contract, then forming a committee of employees to negotiate with management. Once negotiators reach a tentative agreement with the company, the proposal will be presented to the entire workforce for a ratification vote. The contract will take effect once ratified by a majority of the workers.

Last week’s vote by a majority of workers at Lipton means the employees will soon collectively negotiate a union contract, which will apply to all employees once ratified, but does not require the workers to join the union to receive the full benefits and protections of the contract. Because of the state’s so-called “right to work” law, union representatives in Virginia are required to provide their services for free to all workers, even if the employee is not a member of the union and does not contribute to covering the costs of union representation.

“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.”

While many companies notoriously fight tooth and nail to prevent their employees from exercising their right to form a union, Unilever’s own Human Rights Report states the company is “committed to the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining.” In a letter to employees earlier this year, Lipton factory director Katie Ingersoll emphasized the company’s commitment to “remain neutral when it comes to employee’s right to organize.”

“We must commend Lipton and Unilever for upholding their commitment and honoring their employee’s right to organize,” said Tiffany Flowers, Director of Organizing at UFCW Local 400. “Too many companies intimidate, threaten, or even outright fire workers who dare to exercise their right to have a voice on the job. We’re happy to say that wasn’t the case here.”

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Eight Local Giant Stores Will Not Be Sold Preserving Hundreds of Good Jobs in the Region

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 14, 2016

CONTACT
Michael Wilson, UFCW Local 400, mwilson@local400.org, 202-255-7974

 

Eight Local Giant Stores Will Not Be Sold Preserving Hundreds of Good Jobs in the Region

After months of uncertainty and a fight that united Giant employees, customers, and community leaders, to preserve good jobs and shopping options, Giant announced they will do the right thing

FREDERICKSBURG, VA – After four months of speculation, uncertainty, and fear, Giant employees, customers, and community supporters won a huge victory yesterday, saving their local stores.

It took dozens of rallies, community meetings, and marches, but employees at eight area Giant stores, six in the Fredericksburg area and two in Southern Maryland, were told yesterday that their stores would remain Giant. In March Giant had told employees at those locations that their stores would be put up for sale as part of the merger between Giant’s Netherlands based parent company Ahold and Belgium based Delhaize, the parent company of Food Lion.

“We stood strong as a union with our community and our customers to let Giant know that selling our stores and leaving the Fredericksburg area was unacceptable,” said Robyn Wheeler, who has worked at the Giant in Fredericksburg City for 37 years. “I’m glad that Giant did the right thing in the end and I’m proud to be a part of a union and a community that would not give up the good jobs and grocery options Giant brings to this area.”

“When Giant told us in March that our stores would be put up for sale as part of a merger deal in Europe, we knew we had to act fast. Because of the bond we have built with our customers over the years, they were coming to us asking how they could help,” said Thad Hutchison, who works at Giant in Spotsylvania County. “The way our customers and community stood with us to save our stores shows how much Giant and its employees mean to this region.”

The merger, and the sale of 86 stores, including a number of Food Lions in the area, still needs to be approved by the Federal Trade Commission, but Delhaize and Ahold both said they expect that approval before the end of the month.

The only Giant store to be sold as part of the pending merger is in Salisbury, Maryland. It will be sold to ACME, a division of Albertsons, and employees there will have the option to stay in their jobs and preserve their union.

“We will be watching closely to see what the FTC does at the end of the month, but we are breathing a huge sigh of relief today knowing we won our fight to save our store,” said Nene Patton who works at Giant in Accokeek, Maryland.

Employees at all eight of the Giant stores that have been saved are members of the United Food & Commercial Workers Local 400. Union members not only pressured Giant to do the right thing by preserving good union jobs, but also contacted the Federal Trade Commission and their local elected officials to express concerns about the impact on wages, benefits, and competition if the Giant stores were sold.

“Because we have a strong union we had a voice in this process,” said Treesa Shipp, a Giant employee in Stafford. “They could not ignore us, the employees who built this company and make it successful.”

Giant Stores Saved:

Giant #338, Accokeek, MD
Giant #339, La Plata, MD
Giant #234, Stafford, VA
Giant #235, Fredericksburg, VA
Giant #243, Stafford, VA
Giant #256, Spotsylvania, VA
Giant #770, Fredericksburg, VA
Giant #789, Falmouth, VA

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The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 represents 35,000 members working in the retail food, health care, retail department store, food processing, service and other industries in Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee

Kroger Associates Plan Noon Rally to Call for $15 Minimum Wage

PRESS ADVISORY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 29, 2016

CONTACT
Jonathan Williams, UFCW Local 400, jwilliams@local400.org

In just ten days, more than 1,000 Kroger employees sign petition supporting $15 minimum wage

100+ expected to attend rally to deliver signatures to store managers today at noon

WHAT:

At noon today, more than 100 Kroger workers and union activists will host a rally to deliver petitions calling for a $15 minimum wage to managers at a Kroger store in Portsmouth.

The petition spread like wildfire among employees at Kroger stores in Richmond-Tidewater the region. In just ten days, at least 1,000 store associates in the area signed a petition calling on the company to provide a wage floor of $15 an hour.

WHO:

100+ Kroger associates and union activists expected to attend

WHY:

The workers claim they simply can’t afford to survive on the company’s current pay, but with $2.4 billion in profits last year alone, many employees feel Kroger could easily afford to pay them higher wages. Last month, Rodney McMullen, the CEO of Kroger, was rewarded a 17 percent pay raise by the company’s board of directors. His total compensation jumped from $9.2 million to a staggering $11.2 million.

“If Kroger can afford to give the CEO a raise worth millions of dollars, it can afford to pay me enough to raise my child,” said Dakayla Williams, a single mother who has worked as a cashier at the Kroger Marketplace in Portsmouth for two years.

The workers launched the petition shortly after the District of Columbia city council passed legislation to raise the minimum wage in the nation’s capital to $15 an hour by 2020. Los Angeles, Seattle and New York have passed similar legislation.

Currently, Kroger hires new workers at less than $10 an hour and most are part-time positions. However, many workers report they are unable to make ends meet on Kroger wages. In Portsmouth, a single adult working full-time must earn at least $12.68 an hour to afford basic costs of living, according to researchers at MIT. That figure jumps to over $20 an hour if the worker has just one child – more than double the starting pay at Kroger.

WHEN:

12:00 p.m. Noon, Wednesday, June 29

WHERE:

Kroger Marketplace, 1301 Frederick Blvd, Portsmouth, VA 23707

VISUALS:

Protesters carrying signs, chanting, drumming

Picket line

Potential confrontation with store management

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The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 represents 35,000 members working in the retail food, health care, retail department store, food processing, service and other industries in Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Justice Delayed Once Again for Immigrant Workers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 23, 2016

CONTACT:
Casey Hoag, choag@ufcw.og 202-728-1832

SCOTUS Ruling on DACA and DAPA: Justice Delayed Once Again for Immigrant Workers

Court ruling on anti-immigrant lawsuit points to the need for comprehensive immigration reform, says Union President

As the Supreme Court suspends President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), America’s largest private sector labor union, released the following statement:

“Immigrant workers are by far the most likely group to face gross exploitation on the job and we all know that when one worksite is dangerous, the standards for working people everywhere get worse,” said UFCW International President Marc Perrone. “Today’s decision means thousands of hard-working men and women will have to continue living inside a broken immigration system that forces them all towards an uncertain future.”

The Supreme Court’s ruling maintains the legal standoff that has kept the administration from implementing a deferred action program that would allow certain undocumented Americans to apply for work authorization and protection from deportation. These executive actions, however limited, would have provided immigration relief for over five million undocumented workers.

BACKGROUND:

  • Through the Union Citizenship Action Network (UCAN), the UFCW provides union members and staff the critical tools needed to go through the naturalization process and become U.S. citizens and to navigate deferred action immigration programs.
  • Over 630 UFCW members have become U.S. citizens, saving them over $1.3 million in fees related to the naturalization process.
  • Over 60 UFCW members have become DACA recipients and over 40 members have received other immigration assistance.
  • The UFCW has trained over 1,000 volunteers, including UFCW members, local union staff, community volunteers, school teachers, and members of other unions on the requirements for naturalization and deferred action immigration programs.

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UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.3 million professionals and their families in grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members help put food on our nation’s tables and serve customers in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico.  

Learn more about the UFCW www.ufcw.org

Employees at 41 Kroger Stores in the Region May Vote to Authorize a Strike This Week

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 16, 2016

CONTACT
Jonathan Williams, UFCW Local 400, jwilliams@local400.org

WHAT:

On Wednesday, May 18, at a meeting in Salem, union members who work at 41 Kroger stores in the region will vote on whether to accept or reject a collective bargaining agreement the company describes as their “last best offer.” If the offer is rejected by the membership, a second vote will be taken to decide whether or not to authorize a strike.

The last-minute proposal was presented by Kroger shortly before the current contract expired at midnight on Sunday, May 8 and provided only slight wage increases and no paid sick days for store associates.

WHEN:

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Registration opens at 9:00 a.m.
Meeting begins at 10:00 a.m.

Press are welcome to attend before and after the meeting, but not during the proceedings. A room will be provided at the Civic Center for credentialed members of the media.

WHERE:

Salem Civic Center, 1001 Roanoke Blvd, Salem, VA
WHO:

Kroger union members

Local elected officials

WHY:

Thousands of Kroger associates in the Roanoke Valley have been working under an extended contract since midnight on Sunday, May 8, after the grocery giant presented a last-minute proposal that would have provided only slight wage increases and no paid sick days for store associates. The proposal would also fall short of renewing Kroger’s commitment to providing health insurance for its retirees.

A team of thirteen Kroger employees who make up the union’s bargaining team in contract negotiations with the company voted unanimously to reject the offer. The proposal will now be voted on by the entire union membership.

Rick Howell, a member of the bargaining team who works at a store in Roanoke, underscored the seriousness of the committee’s decision:

“No member of this committee takes this lightly, but the general feeling was this: Kroger simply does not demonstrate that it wants to pay its workers decently, that it wants to provide such common amenities as sick days and personal days, or that it wants to provide retiree health benefits. This company is awash in profits…and it still acts as though its money is tight, and that it just can’t ‘afford’ to do any better for its workers. Committee members felt that it was time to send Kroger a strong message: we’ve helped you be successful; now reward us decently and let us share in your success.”

Kroger is the largest traditional grocer in the United States and made a record-breaking $2.4 billion in profits last year alone. The company spent that same amount in cash to purchase Harris Teeter in 2013. Despite its skyrocketing success, Kroger has refused to provide its associates with paid sick days, and is proposing to force all retired employees off of the company-provided healthcare and onto “Obamacare” exchanges funded by taxpayers.

On Wednesday, May 18, at a meeting in Salem, union members will vote on whether to accept or reject the company’s last best offer. If the offer is rejected by the membership, a second vote will be taken to decide whether or not to authorize a strike.

“We’re hopeful that Kroger will come to its senses and resume negotiations with us,” said Dawn Greenway, a member of the union’s bargaining team who has worked at Kroger for more than 26 years.

The contract covers 41 Kroger stores in the region stretching from Kingsport, TN to Harrisonburg, VA. Approximately 3,000 of the affected associates are union members with Local 400 of the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW).

Kroger Stores Covered Under Contract:

Kroger #118, Clifton Forge, VA

Kroger #202, Roanoke, VA

Kroger #208, Roanoke, VA

Kroger #209, Roanoke, VA

Kroger #210, Blacksburg, VA

Kroger #215, Radford, VA

Kroger #226, Salem, VA

Kroger #228, Waynesboro, VA

Kroger #239, Charlottesville, VA

Kroger #255, Abingdon, VA

Kroger #261, Johnson City, TN

Kroger #273, Bluewell, WV

Kroger #310, Harrisonburg, VA

Kroger #316, Princeton, WV

Kroger #320, Salem, VA

Kroger #322, Vinton, VA

Kroger #325, Roanoke, VA

Kroger #326, Lynchburg, VA

Kroger #327, Lynchburg, VA

Kroger #328, Kingsport, TN

Kroger #330, Salem, VA

Kroger #334, Charlottesville, VA

Kroger #335, Bristol, VA

Kroger #343, Staunton, VA

Kroger #345, Christiansburg, VA

Kroger #347, Rocky Mountain, VA

Kroger #350, Martinsville, VA

Kroger #359, Charlottesville, VA

Kroger #364, Daleville, VA

Kroger #367, Johnson City, TN

Kroger #375, Roanoke, VA

Kroger #377, Forest, VA

Kroger #391, Roanoke, VA

Kroger #399, Hardy, VA

Kroger #400, Roanoke, VA

Kroger #401, Roanoke, VA

Kroger #402, Blacksburg, VA

Kroger #403, Waynesboro, VA

Kroger #404, Lexington, VA

Kroger #406, Appomatox, VA

Kroger #408, Lynchburg, VA

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The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 represents 35,000 members working in the retail food, health care, retail department store, food processing, service and other industries in Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Employees At 41 Kroger Stores in the Region May Vote to Authorize A Strike Next Week

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 12, 2016

CONTACT
Jonathan Williams, UFCW Local 400, jwilliams@local400.org

ROANOKE, VA – Thousands of Kroger associates in the Roanoke Valley have been working without a contract since midnight on Sunday, May 8, after the grocery giant presented a last-minute proposal that would have provided only slight wage increases and no paid sick days for store associates. The proposal would also fall short of renewing Kroger’s commitment to providing health insurance for its retirees.

A team of thirteen Kroger employees who make up the union’s bargaining team in contract negotiations with the company voted unanimously to reject the offer. The proposal will now be voted on by the entire union membership.

Rick Howell, a member of the bargaining team who works at a store in Roanoke, underscored the seriousness of the committee’s decision:

“No member of this committee takes this lightly, but the general feeling was this: Kroger simply does not demonstrate that it wants to pay its workers decently, that it wants to provide such common amenities as sick days and personal days, or that it wants to provide retiree health benefits. This company is awash in profits…and it still acts as though its money is tight, and that it just can’t ‘afford’ to do any better for its workers. Committee members felt that it was time to send Kroger a strong message: we’ve helped you be successful; now reward us decently and let us share in your success.”

Kroger is the largest traditional grocer in the United States and made a record-breaking $2.4 billion in profits last year alone. The company spent that same amount in cash to purchase Harris Teeter in 2013. Despite its skyrocketing success, Kroger has refused to provide its associates with paid sick days, and is proposing to force all retired employees off of the company-provided healthcare and onto “Obamacare” exchanges funded by taxpayers.

On Wednesday, May 18, at a meeting in Salem, union members will vote on whether to accept or reject the company’s last best offer. If the offer is rejected by the membership, a second vote will be taken to decide whether or not to authorize a strike.

“We’re hopeful that Kroger will come to its senses and resume negotiations with us,” said Dawn Greenway, a member of the union’s bargaining team who has worked at Kroger for more than 26 years.

The contract covers 41 Kroger stores in the region stretching from Kingsport, TN to Harrisonburg, VA. Approximately 3,000 of the affected associates are union members with Local 400 of the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW).

Kroger Stores Covered Under Contract:

Kroger #118, Clifton Forge, VA

Kroger #202, Roanoke, VA

Kroger #208, Roanoke, VA

Kroger #209, Roanoke, VA

Kroger #210, Blacksburg, VA

Kroger #215, Radford, VA

Kroger #226, Salem, VA

Kroger #228, Waynesboro, VA

Kroger #239, Charlottesville, VA

Kroger #255, Abingdon, VA

Kroger #261, Johnson City, TN

Kroger #273, Bluewell, WV

Kroger #310, Harrisonburg, VA

Kroger #316, Princeton, WV

Kroger #320, Salem, VA

Kroger #322, Vinton, VA

Kroger #325, Roanoke, VA

Kroger #326, Lynchburg, VA

Kroger #327, Lynchburg, VA

Kroger #328, Kingsport, TN

Kroger #330, Salem, VA

Kroger #334, Charlottesville, VA

Kroger #335, Bristol, VA

Kroger #343, Staunton, VA

Kroger #345, Christiansburg, VA

Kroger #347, Rocky Mountain, VA

Kroger #350, Martinsville, VA

Kroger #359, Charlottesville, VA

Kroger #364, Daleville, VA

Kroger #367, Johnson City, TN

Kroger #375, Roanoke, VA

Kroger #377, Forest, VA

Kroger #391, Roanoke, VA

Kroger #399, Hardy, VA

Kroger #400, Roanoke, VA

Kroger #401, Roanoke, VA

Kroger #402, Blacksburg, VA

Kroger #403, Waynesboro, VA

Kroger #404, Lexington, VA

Kroger #406, Appomatox, VA

Kroger #408, Lynchburg, VA

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The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 represents 35,000 members working in the retail food, health care, retail department store, food processing, service and other industries in Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.