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Safeway Stocker Reinstated with Back Pay After Wrongful Suspension

“They threw me under the bus.”

Fortunately for Local 400 member Eric Jarrett, that wasn’t the end of the story.

Eric works as an overnight stocker at Safeway #1019 in Alexandria, Virginia. His store is one of the few locations that is supposed to be open 24 hours.

But one night, Eric was instructed to close the store when there was no cashier on duty. Even though he was following instructions, Eric’s manager suspended him and one of his coworkers.

“You have to have at least one checker in the store for it to stay open,” Eric said. “But the guy who normally does the job had hurt his shoulder and was home for two weeks. So the store had to be closed occasionally because we had no checker or because the floors had to be waxed. The store manager knew all about it. When customers started complaining, instead of accepting responsibility, they blamed it on J.P., another stocker, and me. But I am in no position to close the store. I wasn’t the one who decided to do it.”

Eric and J.P. didn’t take this sitting down. They worked with their union representative and immediately filed a grievance and pursued it aggressively.

“I was out of work for three and a half weeks,” Eric said. “Tom [Rogers, his Local 400 representative] spoke on my behalf and did a marvelous job of getting me reinstated as fast as he could. I was impatient and apprehensive, but Tom calmed me down. He knew what he was doing and reached a good settlement.”

Eric and J.P. were reinstated and Eric was awarded full back pay for the time of his suspension and justice was served.

“I’m good where I’m at right now, but as far as I’m concerned, Safeway owes J.P. and me an apology for throwing us under the bus,” Eric said. “Safeway used to be a good company, but they don’t care about their employees, only the bottom line. They’re making lots of money in my store, but they keep cutting back hours and running on a skeleton crew. This company can’t run by itself — they need us. I’m just thankful our union’s got our backs.”

Kroger Tentative Agreement Reached

We are pleased to announce that we have reached a tentative agreement with Kroger on a new contract that we are prepared to recommend for ratification. The offer provides better pay and maintains affordable healthcare.

We are arranging membership meetings to vote on the proposal, at which time we will review the offer in detail and answer any questions you may have. As a member of Local 400, it is critical that you make every effort to attend one of these meetings and cast your vote on your next contract. We will announce the meeting information as soon as possible.

In the meantime, all of the protections and benefits of your current union contract remain in effect.

As always, we will continue to keep you informed every step of the way. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to talk to your shop steward, union representative, or call our headquarters at 1-800-638-0800 (Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.).

Kroger Contract Extended to August 16

Negotiations with Kroger on our next union contract are still ongoing. We agreed to extend our current contract until August 16, 2018. All of the protections and benefits of your current union contract remain in effect.

We will not be rushed into a bad deal. Our goal remains to negotiate a fair contract with better wages, affordable healthcare and respect for our union.

Sign Up for Text Alerts

As negotiations proceed forward, we will continue to keep you informed every step of the way. Sign up for text alerts to ensure you never miss an update.

To sign up, 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 698329.

Kroger Agrees to Allow Employees to Transfer to New Store

We are pleased to announce that Kroger has agreed to allow all interested associates at store #536 in Norfolk to transfer to the former Farm Fresh across the street if and when it reopens as a Kroger store.

If you refused to be silent, if you signed a petition, if wrote a letter, if you joined a protest – this would not have happened without you.

Kroger says it still hasn’t finalized plans, but the company has signed a legally binding agreement that protects your jobs in the event the store closes:

  • If Kroger closes store #536 and opens the former Farm Fresh store within six months, then you may transfer to the newly opened store if you choose.
  • You will not have to quit and reapply for your job.

As we’ve always said, “together, we can make Kroger better.” And make no mistake – we did this together. By sticking together as a union family, we successfully protected our jobs.

Now we must turn our attention to our next contract. We want a fair contract with better pay, affordable healthcare, and respect for our union. But this won’t be easy. We must continue to stick together to make Kroger better and get the fair contract we deserve. We know we can do it.

Joint Statement from Kroger & UFCW Local 400

The following statement was released jointly by Kroger & UFCW Local 400 on July 17, 2018:

Kroger Mid-Atlantic and UFCW Local 400 Reach Agreement Regarding Store #536

We are pleased to share that after some discussion, Kroger Mid-Atlantic and UFCW Local 400 have reached an agreement regarding the potential opening of Store #576 located at 230 East Little Creek Road, and its possible impact on current associates at Store #536 in Norfolk, VA.

At this time, the Company has not finalized plans for opening Store #576, nor has it made a decision to close Store #536.

In the event that Kroger Mid-Atlantic decides to close Store #536 and open Store #576, the Company and the union have agreed to transfer all interested associates to the newly opened store. This agreement is good for a period of time up to six months after the potential closing of Store #536.

Kroger Mid-Atlantic and the union commit to communicate with you when decisions are made.

Hundreds Rally for a #BetterKroger in Roanoke

On June 12, 2018, hundreds of Kroger associates and their supporters held a rally outside of the Kroger Mid-Atlantic Division corporate office in Roanoke, Virginia.

The protest centered around a Kroger store in Norfolk, Virginia, where dozens of long-time employees could lose their jobs as a result of the company’s recent purchase of eight Farm Fresh stores in the Hampton Roads region.

In March 2018, Kroger announced plans to buy eight Farm Fresh stores in the Hampton Roads region, renovate them, and reopen them as Kroger stores.  But one of the locations Kroger purchased is directly across the street from an existing store in Norfolk, Virginia.

Now, it is only a matter of time before the store closes and employees are concerned about the future of their jobs. Many have worked at Kroger for years – even decades. They have asked if they will be allowed to transfer to the new store across the street, but after several months, Kroger still refuses to give them straight answers.

Every employee in the store signed a petition demanding answers and delivered it to their store manager. A week later, they invited Kroger to answer questions and address their concerns at a public town hall. Dozens of store associates showed up, but Kroger refused to send a representative.

Having exhausted all proper channels, on June 12, 2018, hundreds of Kroger associates and their supporters held a rally outside of the Kroger Mid-Atlantic Division corporate office in Roanoke, Virginia.

The protesters delivered five grocery carts of petitions to the Kroger office. The petitions were signed by Kroger associates and customers from throughout the region, as well as fellow union members from other grocery chains, and called on the company to meet with associates and assure them that they will have the opportunity to transfer to the new store across the street without losing the benefits they have earned.

View photos from the rally and learn more at BetterKroger.org

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.