Welcome to the Local 400 Family!
On Friday, March 29, Keany Produce drivers stood up for their rights, living standards, safety, and health and retirement security by voting overwhelmingly for representation by UFCW Local 400.
After years of frustration over low pay, inadequate benefits, inconsistent hours and unfair treatment, many of the 140 drivers decided they needed to empower themselves through collective bargaining. After an intensive, months-long, worker-led organizing drive, they won in a landslide.
“Divided we fall, united we stand,” said Terrance Helm, a Keany Produce driver who spearheaded the organizing effort. “It’s been a collective effort and we all came together.
“I love my co-workers,” he said. “I have such an appreciation for all the hard work and the sacrifices they’ve made, and the strength they showed in standing up to management.
“Today, besides the births of my four kids, is one of the happiest days of my life,” Helm said.
“It’s a great honor and privilege to welcome the Keany Produce drivers to the Local 400 family,” said Local 400 President Mark P. Federici. “They are a dedicated, gutsy group of workers and we are proud to represent them.
“While this was a great victory, the battle isn’t done yet,” Federici said. “The next step is bargaining a first-rate contract—and together, that’s exactly what we’re going to get.”
As the organizing campaign gained steam, Helm noticed management suddenly changing its attitude. “Two years ago I asked Keany to sponsor a youth football league that my kids play on,” he recalled. “They said they didn’t do that sort of thing, but the week of the election, management came to me to offer their sponsorship. I found it hilarious. My response was ‘my kids don’t take dirty money.’”
Today, in the wake of their victory, morale among the workers is at an all-time high, Helm observed, and they are looking forward to sitting down across the bargaining table with management. “We’re here to fight until the end,” he said.
Keany Produce is a wholesale produce distributor located in Landover, Md.