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.