31,000 UFCW Members From Across New England Protest Stop & Shop Cuts That Hurt Workers, Customers, and Local Communities
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Today, 31,000 members of the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Locals 328, 371, 919, 1445, and 1459 who work at Stop & Shop are walking off their jobs to protest the company’s proposed drastic and unreasonable cuts to health care, take home pay, and customer service as well as unlawful conduct.
The proposed cuts by Stop & Shop, whose parent company earned $2 billion in profits in 2018, would devastate health care benefits, significantly increase health care costs, and decrease take home pay. Stop & Shop’s proposed cuts would also have a negative and severe impact on customer service, including the very cashiers, stockers, bakers, deli clerks, and butchers that Stop & Shop customers rely on.
The members of the five UFCW Locals released the following joint statement:
“Our 31,000 members who work at Stop & Shop work incredibly hard to provide the great customer service that has made the company billions of dollars in profit and the top grocery store in New England. Instead of a contract that recognizes the value and hard work that our members provide every day, Stop & Shop has only proposed drastic and unreasonable cuts to health care benefits and take home pay, while replacing real customer service with more serve-yourself checkout machines.
“The hard-working men and women at over 240 stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island are standing together to tell Stop & Shop that it is time to do the right thing. The men and women who make Stop & Shop a success have earned and deserve affordable health care, a good wage, and the ability to retire with dignity. They have earned and deserve a good job that allows them to do what they do best: provide the very best customer service for New England communities.
“What Stop & Shop workers don’t deserve, and what no one who works hard in New England deserves, are unreasonable cuts while the company they work so hard for makes billions of dollars in profits. That is wrong and it sends a terrible message to every customer who truly depends on our Stop & Shop cashiers, stockers, bakers, deli clerk, and butchers.”
UFCW Locals representing 31,000 Stop & Shop workers in New England have been negotiating a new contract with Stop & Shop representatives since January 14th. The company’s latest proposal includes the following drastic cuts:
- Requires the average full-time employee to pay an additional $893 and the average part-time employee with employee-only coverage to pay an additional $603 in weekly health care premiums over three years.
- Reduces the monthly pension benefit for many newly hired full-time employees by 32 percent.
- Many part-time employees would receive an average general wage increase of less than two percent.
Stop & Shop’s parent company, Ahold Delhaize, saw over $2 billion in profits last year and got a U.S. tax cut of $225 million in 2017. The company is claiming the proposed cuts are necessary, but is unlawfully refusing to provide financial information to verify that claim.
While Stop & Shop continues to propose drastically cutting worker benefits, Ahold shareholders voted on April 10 to give themselves an 11.1 percent raise in dividends over the last year. The expected payout will be on April 25 for around $880 million.
Public polling has repeatedly shown that 3-in-4 British Columbians support a public inquiry into the multi-layered crisis.
On April 2, more than 50 representatives of Unifor local unions gathered for the final meeting of the 2019 regional tour by the Unifor Quebec Director.
The popularity of the annual tour is on the rise, with over 400 local union members participating this year in 10 meetings with the Quebec Director held in Saguenay, Baie-Comeau, Rimouski, Boisbriand (North Shore), Amos, Quebec City, Trois-Rivières, Gatineau, Longueuil (South Shore) and Montreal. The tour offers a unique opportunity for the local unions and Quebec Director Renaud Gagné to discuss and share information on the challenges and realities facing the different workplaces. Current issues of interest to members are also addressed. Among other important files, brother Gagné updated members on the duties imposed by the U.S. on aluminum and softwood lumber, the campaign to save the GM plant in Oshawa, caribou protection measures and their impact on jobs, the upcoming federal election, organizing campaigns, etc.
In the regions, the tour is also an opportunity to meet with local media and to present our issues, to lobby local and national politicians and, more broadly, to contribute to the promotion of Unifor.
New Westminster, B.C. – April 11, 2019 – The new collective agreement for UFCW Local 1518 members working in community health has come into effect.
A new tentative collective agreement has been reached between Unifor Local 414 and Rexall.
“Congratulations to the bargaining committee, who have worked tirelessly for months to reach a fair deal for our hard working members,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.
Unifor represents approximately 425 workers at 27 stores located across the Greater Ottawa Area. Their collective agreement expired on December 31, 2018.
Talks between management and the Unifor bargaining team representing the workers began on January 5, 2019 with a deadline set for April 10, 2019.
The tentative agreement will be presented to members for a ratification vote on Monday, April 15 at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.
“We are pleased to report this deal is a big step forward and we are recommending it to our membership,” said Gord Currie, President of Local 414.
Details of the tentative agreement will not be released publicly until the agreement is presented to members, but negotiations were focused on good jobs and fair treatment for retail workers.
These alternatives would bring down the deficit and leave most Ontarians better off than the cuts the Ford government is proposing.
Montreal – April 10, 2019 – Leaders from UFCW Canada Locals 832 and 500 recently joined the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work (CCRW) and the UFCW Canada Human Rights, Equity, and Diversity Department to visit the CFACQ Centre in Montreal – a facility that provides training opportunities for diverse communities, including workers with disabilities.
“We’ll fight fear with fearlessness. We’ll stand together to win. We’ll unite for a fair Ontario.” — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President
Charlottetown (10 April 2019) — In response to the election promise made by the PC Party to open up beer and wine sales in grocery and convenience stores, the President of the PEI Union of Public Sector Employees (PEI UPSE/NUPGE) says that the union would oppose any further privatization of the sale of liquor in the province.
Members working for Chartwell Retirement Homes in Orangeville, Ottawa, Thunder Bay and Windsor organized coordinated actions to interrupt Chartwell’s open house this past weekend to demand Chartwell pay its workers a fair wage.
“Potential residents and their families need to be aware of the shamefully low wages being paid to Chartwell Retirement workers,” said Katha Fortier, Assistant to Unifor National President. “Chartwell is paying former Premier of Ontario Mike Harris $237,000 annually, meanwhile refusing to pay a living wage to front line workers who provide a safe and enjoyable living environment for seniors.”
The open house actions are part of the union’s Pay Fair Chartwell campaign. The campaign aims to inform residents, families and community members of Chartwell’s unwillingness to pay workers a fair wage.
“Many Chartwell Retirement Home workers earn minimum wage or little more. In fact, at one home the starting wage for a personal support worker is $14.35 an hour, so its no surprise staff turnover is incredibly high,” continued Fortier.
The Pay Fair Chartwell campaign also features billboard advertisements in all Chartwell Retirement Home communities, a petition calling on Chartwell CEO Brent Binions and Chair of the Board Mike Harris to pay workers a decent, living wage and the “Ask Hilda” video series, Unifor’s take on Chartwell’s “Ask Edna” videos.
Unifor represents more than 26,000 members in the health care sector. For more information on the campaign, visit www.unifor.org/payfairchartwell.