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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 10: Join Us for the Norfolk Kroger Jobs Town Hall

Kroger associates gathered to protest the rumored closure of their store Norfolk.

Norfolk Kroger Jobs Town Hall
6:00pm, Thursday, May 10
Wesley Grace United Methodist Church
288 E. Little Creek Rd, Norfolk, VA
At the I-64W exit ramp for E. Little Creek Road near Wards Corner

In March, Kroger announced plans to buy eight Farm Fresh stores in the Tidewater region in southern Virginia. The company plans to renovate the Farm Fresh locations and reopen them as Kroger stores.

But one of the locations Kroger purchased is directly across the street from an existing Kroger store at 205 East Little Creek Rd in Norfolk. Naturally, employees there want to know what will happen to their jobs when the new Kroger store opens up across the street. Kroger obviously doesn’t plan to operate two stores so close to each other, so associates are concerned that their store will close soon.

Employees have asked if they will be allowed to transfer to the new store across the street, but Kroger has refused to give them straight answers.

Last week, associates from the Norfolk Kroger store circulated a petition demanding to know if and when their store will be closed, and if they will have the opportunity to transfer across the street without losing the benefits they have earned. Nearly every single employee at the store signed the petition.

On Thursday, May 9, they delivered the petition to management, flanked by local TV camera crews and community supporters from Norfolk Branch NAACP, New Virginia Majority, and the Virginia AFL-CIO.

The event was widely publicized on local news and Kroger eventually responded with a public statement:

Our focus right now is on interviewing and onboarding former Farm Fresh associates to welcome them to our Kroger team.

We think it’s time for Kroger to focus on Kroger associates. We think Kroger employees deserve to know what will happen to their store and to their jobs. We think our members deserve to keep the pay, seniority and benefits they have earned and they should have the opportunity to transfer to the new store across the street when it opens.

Join us for a town hall with Kroger associates, customers, neighbors and elected officials to help us demand answers and preserve good jobs at Kroger!

Norfolk Kroger Jobs Town Hall
6:00pm, Thursday, May 10
Wesley Grace United Methodist Church
288 E. Little Creek Rd, Norfolk, VA
At the I-64W exit ramp for E. Little Creek Road near Wards Corner

 

 

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

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.”

Felicia Fights to Win Elections, Pass Pro-Worker Laws

Felicia Miller (center) pauses for a photograph with candidate Ralph Northam (left), now governor of Virginia.

Felicia Miller has seen first-hand the power of Local 400 members to improve their lives by getting involved in political and legislative action.

A longtime shop steward who works as a deli clerk at Safeway #1801 in Warrenton, Va., Felicia is a political dynamo who works tirelessly to elect pro-worker candidates and to pressure elected officials to pass pro-worker policies in Richmond and Washington, D.C.

“As union members, we need a voice because it seems like we are being targeted and not in a good way,” Felicia said. “ So I feel we need to get out there and make a difference.”

Last year, Felicia served as co-chair of the Central Virginia Labor Federation’s political action operation, leading the successful fight to elect Ralph Northam, Justin Fairfax and Mark Herring as governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, respectively.  She also volunteered in the Northern Virginia Labor Federation’s outreach efforts. And she worked to elect Schuyler VanValkenburg and Debra Rodman to the House of Delegates.

“We went into plants like Tyson and Kroger stores to inform and activate members in the campaign,” Felicia said. “I’d ask them, ‘Don’t you want our union to be stronger so we’ll be more effective in getting things done like keeping our health care, getting higher wages, and improving job safety?’

“With all our volunteers, we went door-to-door, did phone banking, and held political events,” she explained. “We had a great turnout, and the results of the election were phenomenal. Everyone on our slate got elected.”

With the new governor and the now-closely divided General Assembly, Felicia has been centrally involved in Local 400’s and the Virginia AFL-CIO’s lobbying efforts, participating in the January 24th Take Action Virginia rally and the January 29th Labor Lobby Day.

“We’ve been fighting for a bill to crack down on wage theft, so employees are paid for all hours worked,” Felicia said. “We want to see a higher minimum wage, but the bill was killed in committee, so it will need to be introduced again. We’re pushing for a menhaden bill, so Local 400 members working at Omega Protein can keep fishing and keep their jobs. Medicaid expansion is also a priority, as is making sure teachers are getting paid fairly.”

In late January, Felicia went to the U.S. Capitol to lobby her senators, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine. “We mainly talked about protecting immigrants’ rights and keeping DACA, so dreamers can stay in the country they grew up in, as well as transgender rights,” she said.

In her work as a shop steward, Felicia said, “My focus is watching to make sure everybody is getting the right amount of hours and that managers uphold the contract’s seniority requirements. We’ve had to be vigilant about this. We’re also making sure they get the schedule posted on time, which is not always done, so part-timers can plan their lives.

“I also take every opportunity I can to talk to my newly hired colleagues about why they should join Local 400,” she said. “I talk with younger people about the benefits and the entertainment discounts, while I talk with older people about health care and our pension. And I remind everybody about all the great community work our union does, from LGBTQ outreach to the charities we’re involved with, as well as our annual picnics.”

Looking to the future, Felicia is aiming high. “I would love to get rid of the ‘right to work’ law,” she said. “I know that will be hard because it’s been in place for so long, but we did stop it from becoming part of the Virginia Constitution. It’s not right that people can benefit from our union without paying their fair share.”

Felicia lives in Spotsylvania County with her wife and has two adult daughters. With 33 years as a Local 400 member, she is grateful for what her union has done for her. “It has been an awesome ride because I have had the protection of health care, decent wages, and the opportunities to get out and speak with our members and do legislative work to make our union stronger,” she said.

Kroger Shop Steward Wins $250 in Back Pay for Coworker

Kristy Vance, a shop steward at a Kroger store in Blacksburg, poses for a photo with her coworker, Alex Taylor. Alex was awarded $250 in back pay after Kristy reported a manager doing work that should have been assigned to Alex.

For years now, Kristy Vance has seen managers, management trainees and loss prevention staff stocking shelves at her store, Kroger #402 in Blacksburg, Va. This not only violates the Kroger-Roanoke contract, which specifies that only bargaining unit members can stock shelves, but it also reduces the number of hours Local 400 members are scheduled to work. Kristy wasn’t going to tolerate it.

This fall, she took photos and documented 24 hours of management doing shelf-stocking. She sent the photos and evidence to her representative, Mark Collins, and filed a grievance against Kroger. The company could not dispute what happened and Local 400 won a back pay award for part-time associate Alex Taylor. He was the most senior part-timer and had only worked 16 hours during the week in question, so he received a check for $250, covering the extra hours he should have been assigned.

“Alex was grateful, but he said, ‘Wow, I don’t need this,’” Kristy recalled. “He was wanting to give it to someone who was older. That was really admirable of him, but this was his award because management took those hours away from him. And we sent a clear message that we are going to enforce our collective bargaining agreement.

“I’m really pleased we got results because this has been a long time coming,” Kristy said. “Whenever I raised this problem in the past and told them they have to give part-time workers the extra hours they need or pay full-time workers overtime, management would deny that they were stocking. I would take photos and they would claim it wasn’t proof. They kind of laughed us off. Not any more.”

After Kristy filed the grievance, a new manager was appointed for the store. Since then, Kristy has caught a few incidences of management doing bargaining unit work—which she continues to document—but the frequency is down. “We’re having an impact, but we’ve still got to be vigilant,” she said.

For Kristy, fighting back was hard. She had previously worked Kroger #192 in Galax, Va., just a few miles from her home in Fries. But after that store was closed, she was transferred to Blacksburg, 72 miles away. So she spends two and a half-hours each day commuting—or longer, when traffic is bad. As a result, she relies on her Local 400 sisters and brothers to document contract violations when she’s not there, and they played a central role in winning back pay for Alex.

In addition, Kristy and her co-workers spearheaded an arbitration case against Kroger charging the company with using courtesy clerks to perform work that can only be done by food clerks. “We’ve turned in the three violations,” Kristy said, “which would be enough to trigger the ‘three strikes’ clause, promote all courtesy clerks and eliminate the position in our store if we win in arbitration.

“I think all of these actions are showing everyone working in our store that their union is here to fight for them,” Kristy said. “We’re showing them that together we’re stronger, that divided we’re weak, and that if we come together, we can fight corporate America and get what we deserve—our pieces of the pie.”

Work at Kroger? Here’s How to Report Violations

Are managers doing work that should be assigned to a clerk? If you see a manager doing work that should be assigned to a clerk, click here to report the violation or talk to your shop steward.

Are courtesy clerks getting cheated at your store? If you work as a courtesy clerk, or if you see a courtesy clerk at your store doing work he or she shouldn’t have to do, click here to report the violation and a union representative will follow up with you.

Huge Issues at Stake In Virginia Elections – Vote November 7th!

Local 400 members in Virginia—and all the commonwealth’s working families—have much at stake in the Tuesday, November 7th elections for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and the House of Delegates.

The Local 400-led Fight for $15 in Richmond has been blocked until now by anti-worker members of the General Assembly, but if opponents of the $15/hour minimum wage are defeated and control of the House shifts to pro-worker forces, victory will be within reach.

Another vitally important issue is whether Medicaid will be expanded—just as Maryland, the District of Columbia and West Virginia have done—to cover 400,000 uninsured Virginians living between 100 percent and 138 percent of the poverty level.

In all the key races, the choices could not be more clear. Local 400 recommends Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam for governor, Justin Fairfax for lieutenant governor, and Attorney General Mark Herring for re-election in the statewide contests.

“Ralph Northam will be on our side as governor, just as he has been throughout his career as a state senator and lieutenant governor,” said Local 400 President Mark P. Federici. “He’ll fight for higher wages and better jobs, expand Medicaid, and look out for the interest of working families. By contrast, his opponent is a longtime lobbyist who’s made millions representing corporate, anti-worker interests—and who would continue to do their bidding in Richmond.”

Northam is a veteran Army doctor, pediatric neurologist, and volunteer medical director for a pediatric hospice care facility who moved into public service a decade ago with a focus on improving Virginian’s health and economy. His opponent, Ed Gillespie, has represented companies like the corrupt Enron and Bank of America, which sold defective mortgages that contributed to the 2008 financial crisis.

In addition to wages and health, another key issue in this campaign is redistricting. Today, Virginia is carved into congressional and state legislative districts that minimize the votes of workers and people of color, and rig the outcome in favor of anti-worker forces. If pro-worker forces can keep the governorship and take control of the General Assembly, Virginia can have fair representation again, one that reflects the true will of the commonwealth’s voters.

“I urge our members to volunteer in our efforts to go door to door and operate phone banks, as we spread the word about how much this election matters to Virginia’s working families,” Federici said. “And above all, please vote on November 7th.”

VOTE TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 7TH!

Recommended Candidates

Governor

Ralph Northam

Lieutenant Governor

Justin Fairfax

Attorney General

Mark Herring

Virginia House of Delegates

2nd–Jennifer Foy

12th–Chris Hurst

13th–Danica Roem

21st–Kelly Fowler

31st–Elizabeth Guzman

32nd–David Reid

34th–Kathleen Murphy

42nd–Kathy Tran

50th–Lee Carter

51st–Hala Ayala

67th–Karrie Delaney

87th–John Bell

93rd–Mike Mullin

94th–Shelly Simonds

100th–Willie Randall

How Candidates Are  Recommended

Local 400 recommends candidates for office only after an exhaustive process of getting to know them, analyzing their records, and reviewing their positions on issues impacting our members’ lives. These issues include jobs, the economy, workers’ rights, health care, retirement security, workers’ compensation and education. We recommend those candidates judged to have your best interests in mind.

In Virginia, we:

  1. Review the voting records of incumbents on labor issues.
  2. Participate in the AFL-CIO interview process and schedule one-on-one interviews between Local 400 and many of the candidates.
  3. Discuss with other union members and leaders the interviews and the written questionnaires candidates submit.
  4. Make recommendations to the executive boards of the relevant area labor councils.
  5. Participate in state AFL-CIO meetings, where delegates from Local 400 and other unions vote to give labor’s recommendation to a limited number of candidates.
  6. After acceptance, these recommendations are communicated to Local 400 members.

Please note that for offices not listed above, Local 400 has made no recommendation.

Polls will be open from 6:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. If you cannot cast your ballot on election day, please apply for an absentee ballot no later than 5:00 p.m., October 31st by visiting the Virginia Department of Elections website.

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.

Local 400 Board of Directors Passes Resolution Condemning White Supremacy

Today, the board of directors of United Food & Commercial Workers Local 400 passed an official resolution condemning white supremacy and the violent actions of bigots in Charlottesville, Va. last weekend.

“Now is a time to make it clear what we stand for,” said UFCW Local 400 President Mark Federici. “Unity and solidarity are core values of our union family. We embody the diversity that makes our country great. The hardworking men and women of Local 400 stand together for a better life for all Americans. Hatred simply has no place in our union or in our country.”

Local 400 has nearly 11,000 members who live and work in Virginia, including grocery workers at three Kroger stores and one Giant Food store in the city of Charlottesville. The resolution was approved by a unanimous vote of the board of directors at a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday.

The resolution mourns the death of Heather Heyer and further expresses full support of all counter-protesters who demonstrated against the hateful white supremacists. In addition, the board resolution mourns the deaths of Virginia state troopers, Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper Berke M. M. Bates, who lost their lives in the line of duty while serving the Commonwealth.

The full text of the resolution is below:

WHEREAS, nearly 11,000 United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 400 members live and work in the Commonwealth of Virginia;

WHEREAS, we are proud that our membership reflects the racial, ethnic, sexual identity, and religious diversity of the Commonwealth and our great nation;

WHEREAS, although racism is hardly a new phenomenon in the United States, the Southern Poverty Law Center has recorded a significant spike in hate crimes since Donald Trump’s election, as well as violent gatherings of white supremacists, including the deadly events in Charlottesville, VA last weekend;

WHEREAS, the wealthy and powerful have always used the politics of hate, division, and racism to divide the working class and weaken unions;

WHEREAS, by forging interracial solidarity, Lipton Tea workers in Suffolk, Virginia recently won a union contract that dramatically lowers healthcare premiums, raises wages and secures better working conditions for all;

THEREFORE, LET IT BE RESOLVED that UFCW Local 400 condemns the racist, violent actions of Nazis, and white nationalists, and attendees of the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville this weekend.

LET IT FURTHER BE RESOLVED that UFCW Local 400 rejects in the strongest possible terms the ideology of white supremacy.

LET IT FURTHER BE RESOLVED that UFCW Local 400 mourns the death of Heather Heyer and will fight like hell for the living in her name.

LET IT FURTHER BE RESOLVED that UFCW Local 400 is deeply saddened by the deaths of two Virginia state troopers, Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper Berke M. M. Bates, who lost their lives in the line of duty while serving the Commonwealth;

LET IT FURTHER BE RESOLVED that UFCW Local 400 fully supports all counter-protesters who demonstrated against the hateful white supremacists who attended the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville and Local 400 extends our thoughts and prayers to all counter-protesters who were injured in the resulting violence.

LET IT FURTHER BE RESOLVED that UFCW Local 400 recommits ourselves to the struggle for racial and economic justice, gender equality, and human and civil rights for all, and stands in solidarity with anyone who is fighting for the same.