UFCW Unions in Northern California Vote Overwhelmingly to Approve Contract With Safeway and Vons Markets
ROSEVILLE, CALIF. (Dec. 27, 2007) — UFCW Union members in Northern California voted overwhelmingly to approve a new four-year contract with the Safeway and Vons supermarket chains. The agreement affects approximately 25,000 workers at 300 stores.
“Our Safeway and Vons members deserve congratulations. They stood together and backed the leadership to achieve the goals they set out to achieve from the beginning,” said Union Presidents Ron Lind (UFCW Local 5, http://www.ufcw5.org), Jacques Loveall (UFCW 8-Golden State, http://www.ufcw8.org), Mike Borstel (UFCW Local 101, http://www.local101.com) and Michael Sharpe (UFCW Local 648, http://www.ufcw648.org/).
“This innovative agreement includes wage increases across the board and improvements in health care, pensions and job-protection language,” they said. “It bucks the national trend in which employers are cutting benefits and shifting the costs of health care onto employees.”
In October, UFCW members agreed to a contract with Save Mart (Lucky in the Bay Area), Raley’s and Bel Air Markets. Parallel negotiations with the Safeway and Vons chains continued until a last-minute agreement was reached on Dec. 1, just as the previous contract was expiring.
All of the contracts are concession-free and include the largest across-the-board wage increases in the history of Northern California grocery industry contracts. They also improve medical benefits and reduce or eliminate medical deductibles. As in previous contracts, the UFCW members will not be required to pay premiums for health care.
The contracts establish a single benefit fund, allowing for more effective administration of benefits, and employ progressive ideas that encourage efficient use of health benefits.
The four Union locals negotiated under the banner of UFCW Solidarity, representing workers from Fresno to the Oregon border and from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe.
The four-year agreement was reached the day the contract was set to expire. Strike authorization votes scheduled to take place on Sunday and Monday have been cancelled.
No specifics on the new pact were released pending distribution of the agreement to Union members.
In a statement, the UFCW presidents did reveal: “Our goals were to achieve:
· Substantial wage increases
· No employee-paid premiums for medical benefits
· Improvements to the medical benefits
· Protection of pension benefits
· No concessions
“We achieved our goals reaching an agreement that benefits the specific needs of our members working in Safeway stores,” said Jacques Loveall, president of UFCW 8-Golden State, (http://www.ufcw8.org/).
“We are pleased that we were able to reach this fine agreement. This model contract sets the standard for workers in the supermarket industry. Next we will focus our energies on bringing these benefits to non-union workers doing the same work for less,” Loveall said.
The four Union locals negotiated under the banner of UFCW Solidarity and represent workers from Monterey and Fresno County in the south to the Oregon border.
The current contract, which affects 25,000 UFCW members at some 300 stores, expires on Dec. 1. If a settlement is not reached by midnight tonight, members will begin voting to authorize a strike as early as Saturday in meetings through Monday evening. A strike could start any time after that.
Negotiators report some progress in the talks, but the sides are still far apart on economics.
“Both parties are bargaining in earnest and are working hard to achieve an agreement before the contract expires,” said Union Presidents Ron Lind (UFCW Local 5, http://www.ufcw5.org/), Jacques Loveall (UFCW 8-Golden State, http://www.ufcw8.org/), Mike Borstel (UFCW Local 101, http://www.local101.com/) and Michael Sharpe (UFCW Local 648, http://www.ufcw648.org/).
Last month, the unions agreed to a new four-year contract with Save Mart (Lucky in the Bay Area), Raley's and Bel Air Markets.
That concession-free agreement included the largest across-the-board wage increase in the history of Northern California grocery industry contracts. It also improved medical benefits and reduces or eliminates medical deductibles. As before, the UFCW members will not be required to pay premiums for health care.
The four Union locals are negotiating under the banner of UFCW Solidarity, representing workers from Fresno to the Oregon border and from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe.
UFCW Unions in Northern California Vote Overwhelmingly to Approve Contract With Regional Supermarkets
“This contract harkens back to a time when Union members rightfully expected their wages and benefits to improve with each new contract,” said Union Presidents Ron Lind (UFCW Local 5, http://www.ufcw5.org/), Jacques Loveall (UFCW 8-Golden State, http://www.ufcw8.org/), Mike Borstel (UFCW Local 101, http://www.local101.com/) and Michael Sharpe (UFCW Local 648, http://www.ufcw648.org/).
The pact includes the largest across-the-board wage increase in the history of Northern California grocery industry contracts. It also improves medical benefits and reduces or eliminates medical deductibles. As before, the UFCW members will not be required to pay premiums for health care.
The contract also establishes a single benefit fund, allowing for more effective administration of benefits and providing more leverage in obtaining value for the members from service providers.
The four presidents predicted that the agreement would be a model for future labor agreements in North America. “It implements many innovative and progressive ideas,” they said. “It is a ‘win-win’ for Union members and for the companies.”
The concession-free agreement bucks the trend of wage-freezes and benefit cutbacks that have characterized labor contracts across the nation in recent years.
The four UFCW Unions bargained collectively under the banner of UFCW Solidarity for these contracts that cover some 25,000 members in nearly 300 supermarkets throughout Northern California.Negotiations with Safeway Inc. are ongoing.
Preparations are under way for ratification of the proposed new contract with Lucky, Save Mart, Raley’s and Bel Air Markets.
Negotiations continue with Safeway and much work needs to be done. It is our expectation that the company will ultimately agree that, as in the past, contracts covering all Northern California UFCW employers should provide a common level of wages and benefits for all of our members and a level playing field for all of the companies. Safeway has always insisted on this approach and this bargaining cycle should not be an exception.
While we’ve made progress in important areas, other equally important issues remain to be resolved. Our Union negotiators are offering numerous innovative solutions to address the many concerns on the table.
Safeway members must make it clear that they are willing to fight for the wages, benefits, contract language and job protections they deserve. That is the most effective way to let them know that we will do whatever it takes to get a fair and equitable contract.
Look for further updates in the coming days and weeks. Stay informed and get involved!Together we will prove, as we always have, that Solidarity Works!In Solidarity,
"Now our members who speak Spanish can have the same access to the UFCW 8 website that our English speaking members have," Loveall said.
"The Union believes it is important to communicate with its members and the public so that they can become better aware of the Union’s benefits, and programs."
The website includes information about member benefits, office locations, phone numbers, Union organizing activities and nationwide efforts to change Wal-Mart’s anti-worker policies. It also includes links to press releases and UFCW 8’s award-winning Voice of Action magazine."
Our Union uses progressive and innovative methods to communicate with our members and the public," Loveall said. "This is only the latest example of that commitment."
Some 30,000 UFCW 8-Golden State members work in stores, plants and offices from the California-Oregon border in the north to Fresno County in the south. The Union’s English-language website is http://www.ufcw8.org/.
The current agreement with UFCW Locals 5, 8, 101 and 648 was to have expired on Dec. 1, 2007. No specifics on the new pact were released pending distribution of the agreement to Union members.
In a statement, the UFCW presidents did reveal: “Our goals were to achieve:
• Substantial wage increases
• No employee-paid premiums for medical benefits
• Improvements to the medical benefits
• Protection of pension benefits
• No concessions
"We have accomplished our bargaining goals and more. This agreement is an excellent example of progressive labor-management relations,” the presidents said.
“Negotiating this contract was particularly complicated in light of the challenges facing our industry and our country, specifically in the area of health care. Protecting and improving upon the hard-earned wages and benefits our members enjoy is always our top priority.”
The statement came from Union Presidents Ron Lind (UFCW Local 5), Jacques Loveall (UFCW 8-Golden State), Mike Borstel (UFCW Local 101) and Mike Sharpe (UFCW Local 648).
Union leaders said they are recommending the membership ratify the new agreement. Negotiations with Safeway and the four UFCW Northern California Unions are ongoing.
Union members will receive details of the new agreement, as well as ratification ballots, by mail next week. Ballots will be counted by mid-November.
Galt, Calif. (Oct. 18, 2007) — Jacques Loveall, president of UFCW 8-Golden State, said that Tuesday’s vote by Galt’s city council was an important step toward blocking construction of a Wal-Mart Supercenter in the community.
The council voted 4-1 to ban construction of “big box” stores larger than 140,000 square feet that sell large quantities of non-taxable goods like groceries. It also ordered Wal-Mart to acquire a conditional-use permit from the city.
“We would have preferred that the council approved the Planning Commission’s recommendations, which would have set the limit at 120,000 square feet,” Loveall said. “But the new ordinance puts the city’s concerns about Wal-Mart on record.”
Wal-Mart says it wants to build a 132,000-square-foot Supercenter, selling groceries as well as other items, in Galt. However, before it can obtain its conditional-use permit the company must demonstrate that the project will not aggravate traffic, pollution, crime and other problems in the city.
Galt has joined a long list of California communities that have put limits on Wal-Mart and other large-scale retailers. In August, Stockton’s city council voted to stop construction of more Supercenters.
The growing trend of resistance to big box stores began in Sacramento and the Southern California city of Inglewood. Soon, other California communities such as Hercules, Elk Grove and Northridge joined in. Now, anti-big box battles are raging in Ontario, Porterville, Rosemead, Fortuna, Ripon, Antioch, Oakland, Tujunga and the Lugonia District of Redlands.
UFCW 8-Golden State is on the front lines of the big box fight, working with community groups to stop the onslaught of massive chain stores that drive local businesses into bankruptcy and provide sub-par wages and benefits to employees.
“Communities now understand that these anti-Union companies are economic liabilities,” Loveall said. “They drive down wages and cost more in city services than they generate in revenue.”
In the face of rising opposition in communities like Stockton and Galt, Wal-Mart has been forced to severely cut back its plans to open Supercenters in California.
UFCW 8-Golden State represents some 30,000 members who work in stores, plants and offices from the California-Oregon border in the north to Fresno County in the south.
ROSEVILLE, CALIF. (Oct. 4, 2007) — UFCW 8-Golden State and three major supermarket chains — Save Mart, Raley’s and Safeway — have agreed to extend their current collective bargaining agreement until Dec. 1, 2007, the same as all other UFCW Unions in Northern California.
“Achieving the same expiration date as UFCW Locals 5, 101 and 648 enables our Unions to align the interests of all UFCW members in Northern California to achieve the finest possible contracts,” said Jacques Loveall, president of UFCW 8-Golden State.
The contracts affect some 40,000 workers in 800 locations in Northern California, all part of the UFCW Solidarity alliance.
The extension past the original expiration date of Oct. 6 also gives UFCW 8 and the employers more time to work through complicated issues that must be resolved before they reach a new agreement.
Loveall also announced that negotiators have agreed that any wage increases in the new agreement will be applied retroactively to Oct. 6. In the meantime, members of UFCW 8 will work under the same terms that have determined their wages, benefits and working conditions since 2004.
Some 30,000 UFCW 8-Golden State members work in stores, plants and offices from the California-Oregon border in the North to Fresno County in the South.
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