Friday, February 8, 2008

UFCW Members in Northern and Central California Vote Overwhelmingly for Merger

Vote Unites UFCW 8-Golden State With Local 45D,
Increases Bargaining Power of Working People

Roseville, Calif. (Feb. 8, 2008) – Northern and Central California members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 45D and UFCW 8-Golden State voted overwhelmingly to combine forces. The balloting to ratify the merger was conducted by mail in January and early February.

UFCW 8-Golden State, already the product of 11 mergers over the past years, is the largest UFCW affiliate in the Western United States. Other recent mergers have created large UFCW affiliates in the San Francisco Bay Area, New Jersey, Seattle and Chicago, among other places.

The size and innovative approach to bargaining implemented by UFCW 8 has had a powerful and beneficial effect on the wages, benefits and working conditions of its members. In 2007, the Union negotiated contracts with the major food employers that are extremely popular among the membership.

“We applied a non-traditional, 'win-win' approach to negotiations,” said Jacques Loveall, President of UFCW 8-Golden State. “It helped that all sides recognized the need to work together to face the challenges of our industry.”

With the addition of 45D’s membership, which primarily serves the distillery industry, UFCW 8 represents more than 30,000 working people in 54 of California’s 58 counties. Its members work in supermarkets, drug stores, food-processing plants, factories, distilleries, health care facilities, offices and other locations.

Ken Jacobs, deputy chair of the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, noted a nationwide trend toward mergers throughout the American labor movement.

“Small, geographically-based unions made sense when employers were local operations,” Jacobs said. “Today, when dealing with national and international companies with deep pockets, it's a different ballgame. Unions like the UFCW will have to find ways to restructure themselves in order to have leverage at the bargaining table. Merging local unions is a smart way to do that.”

President Jacques Loveall added: “We expect more successes in the future as we continue to grow. Through unity and solidarity, we will wield our increased negotiating, organizing and political clout to improve the lives of all working people and their families.”