Giant and Safeway Workers Overwhelmingly Ratify New Contract

Cross-posted from Occupy Giant and Safeway- UFCW Local 400

It’s been a long road for union members at Giant and Safeway but after a year of activism and heavy member engagement in the last few months, we were able to secure the fair agreements that we’ve been talking about for so long.

We encourage you to read our press release in its entirety but here’s an excerpt of some of the things that we achieved with this contract campaign:

Key contract provisions include:

  • Across-the-board wage increases effective April 1, 2012, that exceed increases in the cost of living for most members. This is one of the few contracts in the supermarket industry where all pay increases are provided in higher hourly wages rather than a one-time bonus.
  • Full funding of health benefits with no increase in members’ out-of-pocket costs and improved coverage in areas such as HPV vaccinations and endodontic care (root canals).
  • Continued retirement security with all current pension benefits maintained and new steps to resolve funding issues for at least the next 10 years.

Concessions demanded by Giant and Safeway that were defeated by Local 400 included creation of a new wage tier for new hires, an increase in health care co-payments, an end to health care Maintenance of Benefits, and treatment of Sunday as part of the regular work week.

We couldn’t have done any of this had it not been for the thousands of union members like us at Giant and Safeway that joined our Activist Contract Team! and for all of the customers that got engaged in the fight as well.

As President McNutt relayed to the members in attendance at both meetings, this contract is a stepping stone to an even greater agreement that we expect to secure with the next negotiation.  This is a 19-month agreement so we will need to continue to stay active and engaged not only in our contracts at Giant and Safeway, but also by helping our brothers and sisters at Kaiser, CVS, Macy’s, Shopper’s, Kroger, and all of the other contracts that will be negotiated during that time frame.  It will be up to us to deliver an even stronger contract next time and clearly that’s what we all want.

We sought to do great things during our fight for a fair contract and that’s just what we did.  We were educated, engaged, and empowered to get involved.  With this negotiation, there was no shortage of opportunities to get involved and many of us did so. We talked to thousands of customers and we visited stores we’d never been to as activists so that we could talk to our fellow members.

We thank everyone that’s been involved in support as we fought for our agreements.  This even includes our customers that have been some of our strongest allies in this fight.  You’ve made a huge difference in our lives and the lives of our families.  Many of us had never been involved prior to January of this year.  Now that we’ve done this, one can just imagine what we can accomplish within the next 19 months.  We’ve got the power and we aren’t about to give it up now!

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