Saturday, June 11, 2011

Vons, Ralphs, Abertsons say they've reached tentative agreement with grocery workers' union on pensions

June 11, 2011 | 12:05 pm (LA Times) A day after unions representing truck drivers, firefighters, teachers and others pledged their support if Southern California grocery workers do decide to strike, Vons, Ralphs and Albertsons said they have reached a tentative agreement with the area United Food and Commercial Workers locals on the pension portion of the current labor contract negotiations.

Terms of the agreement, which was announced late Friday, were not disclosed.
The union?s contract expired in March, and members have already authorized a strike. Negotiations are being conducted under the supervision of a federal mediator, and are continuing.

Sources from both the employers and the UFCW have said the pension was, so far, less rancorous an issue on the table than others, including changes in employee contributions to healthcare.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Kern, Inyo and Mono Counties Labor Council Backs Southern California Grocery Workers

CLC and 24 affiliated unions will support UFCW if strike occurs

(June 7, 2011)
Bakersfield - Southern California's grocery workers received a boost today when the Kern, Inyo and Mono Counties Central Labor Council pledged its full support in the event of a strike against the Albertsons, Ralphs and Vons supermarket chains.

The CLC is the umbrella organization of 24 labor unions in the three counties. One of those unions, UFCW 8-Golden State, is among seven UFCW local unions in Southern California that have been negotiating with the chains since March.

“The 62,000 union grocery workers in Southern California deserve our unequivocal support in their quest for a contract that protects their health care and pensions,” CLC President Donny Williams said.

“The supermarket companies are making strong profits and have a responsibility to take care of the workers who make those profits possible.”

In 2003 and 2004, UFCW members in Southern California held the line in a 141-day labor dispute that caused the employers an estimated $2 billion in losses.

“Nobody wants another labor dispute, but if that is what it required for the workers to get a fair and equitable contract, they will have our full backing,” Williams said.

With headquarters in Bakersfield the Kern, Inyo, and Mono Central Labor Council includes the California Federation of Teachers, the California Nurses Association, CSEA Chapter 48, CWA Local 9416, Engineers & Scientists of California, GCIU Local 404M, Heat & Frost Insulators #5, IBEW Local 1245, IBEW Local 428, IBEW Local 47, the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers, Iron Workers 155, the KIMC Building Trades Council, Operating Engineers Local 12, Operating Engineers Local 501, Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 460, Roofers Local 27, SEIU Local 521, SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West, UFCW 8 Golden State and United Domestic Workers of America.
Thursday, May 5, 2011

Rite Aid Workers Win 5-year Campaign to Form Union at Distribution Center

500 workers win 5-year campaign to form union and improve
conditions at giant Rite Aid drugstore distribution center

LANCASTER, CA – Rite Aid workers at the company’s massive Southwest Distribution Center in Lancaster declared victory on Sunday, May 1 in their five-year effort to form a union and improve working conditions. Workers signed a 3-year tentative agreement with management – subject to a May 12 ratification vote – that will improve conditions at the million-square-foot facility in California’s high desert by guaranteeing:
  • Health insurance rates that are fair for both individual workers and their families,
  • Job security provisions to prevent work from being sub-contracted,
  • A worker voice in production standards and ability to challenge unfair standards,
  • Protection against intense summer heat and winter cold, using innovative indoor-temperature standards,
  • A fair and impartial process for resolving disputes,
  • Wage increases in each of the next 3 years.
“We’re excited about winning this victory, even if it took longer than it should have,” said Carlos “Chico” Rubio, a 10-year warehouse worker who helped negotiate the union contract with eight of his co-workers. Employees decided to form their union in March of 2006 after contacting the ILWU. Within months, Local 26 President Luisa Gratz was helping workers address problems with indoor heat and production standards. Unfortunately, Rite Aid began aggressively interfering with the workers’ freedom to organize:
  • Rite Aid management retained an expensive team of notorious union-busting consultants,
  • Rite Aid threatened and fired workers for supporting the union,
  • Illegal layoffs were imposed without consulting workers and their new union,
  • The company engaged in “surface bargaining” that delayed meaningful negotiations for a year.
Responding to these challenges, workers stayed united in Lancaster and helped lead a sophisticated campaign:
  • Opening a direct line of communication with company shareholders and board members,
  • Actively participating in the company’s annual shareholder meetings in New York City and Harrisburg, PA,
  • Forming a nationwide network of Rite Aid workers and unions that including UFCW, SEIU, and Teamsters, who shared information and coordinated actions,
  • Building a powerful national coalition with United Students Against Sweatshops and Jobs with Justice,
  • Launching a “pinpoint” boycott campaign at two Rite Aid stores in San Pedro, CA on April 1, 2011.
"Rite Aid made this process much more difficult on workers and families than it needed to," said ILWU International Vice President Ray Familathe, who helped workers reach their May 1 settlement. Familathe invited Rite Aid Vice President Traci Burch to become personally involved in the negotiations which helped resolve the dispute.
A detailed campaign chronology and a summary of the proposed contract are also available upon request.
Monday, April 4, 2011

2011 UFCW Scholarships Applications Are Now Available

The 2011 UFCW Scholarship are now available and must be postmarked by June 3, 2011.
Your union is about more than your paycheck and benefits.  The UFCW is about workers coming together to build better lives for ourselves.  It's about creating opportunity.
Other Scholarship Opportunities

California Community Credit Union offers the The Paul Radford Scholarship Fund which  has been established by the members of California Community Credit Union Board of Directors in memory of volunteers who have made significant contributions to the success of your Credit Union.  This scholarship was created to provide financial support for students in our community who have demonstrated academic excellence and involvement within the community

Applications for 2011 may be submitted between April 1 and July 31, 2011. Contact for additional information.
Friday, March 25, 2011

UFCW 8-Golden State Begins Informational Picketing at Fresh & Easy in Modesto

ROSEVILLE, CALIF. (March 25, 2011) - UFCW 8-Golden State President Jacques Loveall announced that Union volunteers established an informational picket line at a newly-opened Fresh & Easy store in Modesto today.

The picket line is in front of the store near the intersection of Oakdale Road and East Briggsmore Avenue. The Union continues its informational picket lines in front of Fresh & Easy stores in Bakersfield, Reedley, Fresno and other locations.

Loveall said the Union is asking the public not to shop at Fresh & Easy and to shop instead at stores such as Save Mart, Raley's, Safeway, Food Maxx, Maxx Value, Cost Less and Rite Aid.

“Tesco, which is Fresh & Easy's parent company in the United Kingdom, is siphoning money out of our community,” Loveall said. “We are responding to that provocation.”

“California has enough challenges without a foreign company coming in with substandard jobs that threaten good, local companies that bring value and good jobs to our community. It's bad enough good American jobs are exported overseas at an alarming rate, now this global giant from the UK is coming to our country thinking they can take advantage of American workers on our own turf,” Loveall said.

“We will not allow that to happen,” he said.

Loveall noted that Fresh & Easy's incursion into the United States poses a threat to Union market share and to the living standards of Union members' wages and benefits.

“Our members are prepared to do whatever it takes to ensure that workers at Fresh & Easy have the same access to the good pay, health care, pension and job security enjoyed by Union members,” Loveall said.

UFCW 8-Golden State represents working men and women throughout the state of California.