The new UFCW 3000 will build power for essential workers
The following is from UFCW Locals 1439 and 21:
(Feb. 15, 2022) — In December, the Boards of Directors of UFCW 21 and UFCW 1439 voted to approve a merger agreement and to send the question of a merger to the overall membership. In January, the members of UFCW 1439, who work largely in grocery stores, food processing and other industries in eastern Washington, northeast Oregon and northern Idaho, held their merger votes. Then in February, the membership of UFCW 21, made up of grocery and retail store workers in western Washington as well as health care workers and others all across the state, held their merger votes.
The merger was approved overwhelmingly by both memberships.
“Now that we are united, we have over 50,000 workers’ voices across the state coming together as one, we have more resources to win better contracts and enforce those contracts. We also have over $33 million in our Strike and Defense Fund and over 110 staff to bargain and enforce our contracts,” said Kyong Barry, a Front End Supervisor at Albertsons in South Auburn, and Derek Roybal, a Cardiac Cath-Lab Technologist at Providence Sacred Heart in Spokane. They are both leaders in UFCW 21.
Their enthusiasm was shared by Shannon Corrick, a UFCW 1439 member who works in the Cheney Safeway doing File Maintenance. She summed up the sentiment of many members when stating, “The corporations we work for are getting bigger all the time and they treated us very poorly during COVID. This merger makes us a much bigger union so we can take them on, and win better wages and safer workplaces. Get more control over our lives.”
Benefits of the merger include:
● Building power across industries like grocery stores, meatcutters, retail, healthcare, packing and processing, and others to help win better contracts, and organize more workplaces where workers want a union but don’t yet have one.
● Doubling the size of our collective membership in Eastern and Central Washington Counties.
● UFCW health care members and retail grocery store members acting together in counties in western Washington have already made great strides together – in places like Kitsap and Snohomish counties. The merger will expand that kind of solidarity to Spokane, Tri-Cities, Wenatchee and many other areas in the central and eastern parts of the state.
● The newly merged union will have an expanding Member Resource Center hotline where members can call to get quick answers to questions including on weekends and late-night hours. We will also have a new Member Education Department and invest in Workforce Development and Training.
● The newly created UFCW 3000 will be the largest UFCW local in the country.
The merger will go into effect on March 1, 2022.