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Puget Sound-area grocery workers ratify new contract

The following joint news release is from United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Locals 21 and 367, and International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 38 regarding a contract covering about 30,000 grocery store workers in the Puget Sound area of Washington state.


(April 29, 2016) — For the first time in 15 years, grocery store workers in the Puget Sound area and the big national chains reached a tentative agreement before expiration of their contract. This new contract protects the health plan, shores up pension funding, and improves wages and working conditions.

Grocery store workers have been active in pushing for stronger contracts in negotiations, taking actions to pass higher minimum wage and paid sick leave, and protecting their union grocery jobs from expansion efforts of non-union grocers. In addition, these workers have deepened partnerships with scores of community organizations committed to our shared vision for a better Puget Sound region.

The week of vote meetings concluded last night. The new contract, passed by a strong majority of members, includes the following:

●  Increased funding by employers to maintain workers’ high quality low cost health plan.

●  The opportunity to earn higher wages through transfer and promotion rights and 3 years of wage increases for those at the top of the wage scales.

●  Continue to guarantee raises above the current minimum wage on the wage scales to ensure  raises for workers coming up the scale.

●  Substantially increased funding to continue to secure the pension plan for the future.

i1433-petitions-frontAnother part of our 2016 plan to “Rise Together” is to pass I-1433, the higher statewide Minimum Wage and Paid Sick and Leave law. This initiative campaign will phase in a higher minimum wage to $13.50 over four years and provide up to 7 days of Paid Sick Leave. UFCW 21, 367 and Teamsters 38 are all supporting this effort.

“This contract is a big step forward toward a better life for thousands of workers in our region,” said Ariana Davis, a Safeway worker from Renton. “We have been able to protect our health benefits, secure our retirement, and make many other improvements to pass our new contract before it expires. We hope this sets a new tone for negotiations in future years. As workers who have been taking action since the last negotiation in 2013, we will continue to take action together between now and our next bargain.”

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!