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Sharing in the Success of an Expanding Kroger Presence in Hampton Roads

Yesterday, Kroger announced plans to purchase 18 Farm Fresh Food & Pharmacy grocery stores in the Hampton Roads region. Ten of the stores will be operated under the Harris Teeter brand, while eight will be operated under the Kroger Mid-Atlantic Division.

Mark Federici, president of United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 400, issued the following statement regarding the announcement:

“We were very excited to learn that Kroger Mid-Atlantic is using the profits and success our hardworking union members have built for them to purchase eight Farm Fresh stores in the Hampton Roads area. We are ready to welcome new members at these stores into our union family so they can have access to the competitive wages, benefits, and fair working conditions we have fought for and won over the years.

“As Division President Jerry Clontz acknowledged in his statement to us, it is our contribution every day that makes a difference in our customers’ lives. We are proud to be the reason they shop Kroger and the reason Kroger is able to grow.

“We look forward to welcoming associates at these new Kroger stores into our union family and to serving new customers at these locations. We are thankful for our customers loyalty to us – the people who serve them every day – and we will continue to reward that loyalty with hard work, dedication and customer service.”

Shoppers Members Unanimously Ratify New Contract

At a union meeting in Greenbelt, Md., Local 400 members stood up to unanimously ratify a new union contract at Shoppers Food & Pharmacy.

Strong agreement includes a $2/hour increase in starting pay and no health insurance cost increases for the life of the contract

Local 400 members working at Shoppers unanimously ratified a new, three-year collective bargaining agreement today that puts more money in their pockets faster, and fully maintains their health and retirement security.

After more than ten weeks of challenging negotiations, Local 400 member activism persuaded the company it could not win the concessions it demanded, and resulted in a contract that increases starting pay, greatly improves wage scales, and provides for the same health insurance coverage and pension benefits without any additional employee contributions.

The three-year collective bargaining agreement:

  • Establishes new, higher starting wage rates, reflecting not only the higher minimum wages in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland, but also substantially increasing pay in Virginia, whose minimum wage remains at just $7.25/hour.
  • Provides guaranteed wage increases every six months, rather than having them based on hours worked, resulting in faster raises for all workers, especially part-timers.
  • Preserves Maintenance of Benefits, ensuring that heath care coverage will be fully funded by the company, regardless of the cost.
  • Increases employer pension fund contributions to protect retirement security.
  • Keeps employee out-of-pocket health insurance contributions at current levels
  • Provides that Sunday will continue to be treated separately from the basic work week.
  • Maintains overtime pay for any work in excess of eight hours a day.
  • Keeps successorship language, so members will remain employed and covered by their contract if Shoppers or any individual stores are sold.
  • Keeps seniority policies consistent with past practice, contrary to the company’s original demands.

“These talks were very difficult, but our members hung together and made this strong agreement possible,” said Local 400 President Mark P. Federici.

“We came into this with specific goals,” he said. “One was to change the hours progression to a monthly progression on the wage scale to get people raises faster than before. Another was to avoid any increase in members’ out-of-pocket health care costs, in contrast to what’s happening with most other employers. A third was to ensure proper pension funding. A fourth was to have a strong successorship agreement so our members will keep their jobs and contract if Shoppers is sold. And a fifth was to maintain seniority. Thanks to member activism, we achieved each of these goals.”

“The bargaining started on June 13th and ended August 24th, and there were a lot of blood and guts out there,” said Mike Rickord, a shop steward who works at Shoppers #2674 in Dumfries, Va. and served on the Contract Action Team. “We heard time and again the wishes of the members to keep everything we have, and we kept each and every one of our benefits, while increasing others. I can testify in front of God and country that this is an excellent contract for the next three years.”

“This was a long and drawn out fight with [Shoppers parent company] Supervalu,” said Diane Nokes, a Contract Action Committee member and shop steward at Shoppers #2625 in Manassas, Va. “I cannot tell you how many times they walked away from the table. We did our very best, worked long and hard, and got a good contract.”

“This is an excellent agreement,” said Debra Coleman, a Contract Action Team member and shop steward at Shoppers #2632 in Forestville, Md. “We worked hard from sun-up to sun-down, went to sleep and got up early to do it again. We are the union. Member participation was the key to everything.”

“With some of the proposals the company made, it seemed to me like someone was smoking something,” said Ed Cooley, a Contract Action Team member who is a shop steward at Shoppers #2623 in Clinton, Md. “They wanted to take away Sunday and holiday pay and they were adamant. We won because of everyone who showed up, and because our union is working 24/7 to fight for our members.”

The collective bargaining agreement, covering 2,500 workers in Maryland and Virginia, takes effect retroactively as of July 9, 2017 and it expires on July 11, 2020.

Mary Robertson, a Contract Action Team member who is a shop steward at Shoppers #2650 in College Park, Md., noted that this round of bargaining was different than others in her 25 years as a Local 400 member. “We got out to more stores and talked with more members,” she said. “We made clear to them what was at stake and that they needed to be informed and active, and to be a strong voice. The bargaining was tough at first, but I think that our member outreach convinced Shoppers that we would rather strike than let the company take away our benefits and fill their pockets. That’s why we won a strong agreement.

“In particular, the change in the wage scale progression to monthly will help greatly,” she added, “because it will reduce turnover among newly-hired part-time workers, which has been a big challenge at some of our stores.”

Rickord, also a veteran of previous negotiations, said, “This was one of the hardest fought and most difficult rounds of bargaining in dealing with the company, due to their unwillingness to understand the plight of their own workers. While it wasn’t confrontational, it was often disrespectful, but in the end, we got the respect and recognition we justly deserved. That was because of member solidarity and lots of hard work.”

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)

United for a Fair Contract at Shoppers

Check out more photos on the Local 400 Facebook page.

Contract Negotiations Update #4

We spent this week in negotiations with Supervalu on our next union contract at Shoppers. Progress has been slow, but as always, we would rather slowly get it right than quickly get it wrong.

When we were not in contract talks with Supervalu, we were in the stores to hear from you, our coworkers. We were overwhelmed by your outpouring of support. We know you have our backs – and we have the pictures to prove it! Visit our Facebook page to check out photos from the week and tag your friends!

If you see one of us in your store, don’t hesitate to ask us questions or share your ideas. We want to hear from you. We need your input. Our next agreement not only affects each and every one of us, but it will also take each and every one of us to get the fair contract we deserve.

So let’s continue to wear our union stickers and demonstrate our unity to the company. Together, we can show Supervalu we will do whatever it takes to get the fair contract we have earned.

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)

Shoppers Contract Negotiations With Supervalu Began This Week

Contract Negotiations Update #3

This week, we met with representatives from Supervalu for two days to negotiate our next contract at Shoppers Food  & Pharmacy.

We had productive discussions and exchanged proposals on a number of items, but we still have a lot of work to do. Our goal is to reach the best deal possible, not to rush to finish and end up with a bad agreement. As we continue negotiations over the coming weeks, we will continue to keep you updated every step of the way.

This is collective bargaining at work. Unlike workplaces without a union, you can come together with your coworkers to negotiate the best contract for everyone. Without a union, you’d be on your own. Without the protection of your union contract, your job would be entirely in the hands of the company, and you could only hope your boss doesn’t do the wrong thing.

Now, more than ever, is a time to stand together. We will only get a better contract if we stick together to get the best deal for all of us. If you know a coworker that hasn’t signed up, encourage them to take part in the process by becoming a Local 400 member today. We all need to stick together so we can get the fair contract we deserve.

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)

 

Meet the Shoppers Contract Action Team

Contract Negotiations Update #2

We are your Shoppers Contract Action Team! We are store associates who have volunteered to help mobilize our coworkers to take action for a better contract at Shoppers.

The only way we will win a better contract is if we all stand united, stay informed, and take action together. We must show Supervalu that we are united for a fair contract at Shoppers and we are willing to do whatever it takes to get the deal we deserve.

Over the coming weeks, we will invite you to take action with us to keep the pressure on the company to negotiate a fair contract. If you see one of us in your store, don’t hesitate to talk to us, ask us questions, or make suggestions. We want to hear from you. We need your ideas and we need your participation to succeed. If you know a coworker that hasn’t signed up, encourage them to take part in the process by becoming a union member. Sticking together is the only way to get the best deal for all of us.

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)

Let’s Show Shoppers We Are United for a Fair Contract

Local 400 members at Shoppers Food & Pharmacy stores are gathering signatures on a petition to the CEO of Supervalu.

Contract Negotiations Update #1

Thanks to all of our Shoppers members who took the time to fill out our contract survey and to those of you who made it out to one of our recent contract meetings. Thanks to your input, we developed clear priorities together for bargaining our next Shoppers contract with Supervalu.

While no one can guarantee the outcome of contract negotiations, and no one can make promises, we have clear proposals for what we hope to achieve in our next contract:

  • Increase wages
  • Eliminate the hours threshold for raises
  • More holidays + PHs + vacation days
  • Maintain health benefits, improve dental and vision coverage
  • Protect our pension and retirement security

We know we have a tough road ahead. Supervalu will do everything it can to reduce labor costs in our next contract and take money out of our pockets. But we know we deserve better – we’ve earned it.

We must stand united for the contract we deserve. Our membership is strong, and sticking together as a union family is the only way we will win a better deal.

To demonstrate our strength and unity, we are circulating a petition to Mark Gross, the CEO of Supervalu, demanding the company fully fund our health and welfare benefits.

Thanks to your work, hundreds of Shoppers associates have already signed the petition. If you haven’t added your name, talk to your shop steward or download a copy of the petition below. We must show the company that we are willing to do whatever it takes to get the fair contract we’ve earned.

Sign Up for Text Alerts

As we head into negotiations with Shoppers, we are committed to keeping you informed every step of the way. Sign up for text alerts to get the latest updates immediately.

To sign up, text Shoppers to the phone number 698329.

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

Print the Petition