For those of you who were not able to attend the Pension and Health & Welfare Update/Status Report meeting in Anchorage on January 27th, we have set up a video on you-tube that you can check out.
TO: All Enrolled Plan Participants
RE: 2015 Annual Enrollment in the Alaska UFCW Health and Welfare Plan
Annual enrollment in the Health Plan is held each November for January eligibility.
Enrollment forms received through December 2014 are also accepted. At the end of
December and each month thereafter, a report of those enrolled in the health plan is
provided to Safeway payroll department. From that listing, Safeway is able to take the
required weekly wage deduction for coverage.
Unfortunately, the list provided to Safeway at the end of December 2014 did not include
the full listing of employees who had enrolled. It reflected a smaller group and resulted in
a majority of employees not having their payroll deduction started timely. We are working
closely with Safeway to ensure they have the full report of employees who have elected
health coverage. We understand that deductions will begin immediately so that all who
have enrolled will have health coverage.
We want to assure you that we take this matter very seriously and understand the burden it
places on you to have to pay the monthly share of the health contribution in one or two
paychecks rather than through a weekly payroll deduction.
We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused and assure you we are working closely
with Safeway to correct this situation.
If you have any questions or to check on your health plan eligibility, please call
(907) 561-5119 or (800) 478-8329, option 4.
Note: This is the latest information received by the administrator as to what is going to happen to correct the issue. Safeway will deduct 2 payments per paycheck until each member is caught up. Since January had 5 pay periods, there will be double payments for the 4 weeks in February and the first week in March.
Example: $10.00 copay per week for January = $50.00, so $20.00 per week for 5 weeks.
Example: $25.00 copay per week for January = $125.00, so $50.00 per week for 5 weeks.
Example: $30.00 copay per week for January = $150.00, so $60.00 per week for 5 weeks.
We apologize on the administrator's behalf for this error and the inconvenience associated with it.
The new year brought a much needed raise to millions of American workers in 21 states and the District of Columbia due to increases in state minimum wage levels. This means that a total of 29 states and the nation’s capitol now have a minimum wage above the federal level of $7.25 per hour. All American workers deserve a minimum wage and this requires a federal solution. But despite widespread public support, Congressional Republicans and their corporate backers continue to block efforts to raise the minimum wage. They have stuck to the same old, tired argument that raising the minimum wage will be bad for businesses, despite finding from a study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research which found that states that raised the minimum wage experienced faster employment growth than the states that didn’t. In his 2014 State of the Union address, President Obama called on Congress to raise the minimum wage to a living wage of $10.10 and they failed to act. In 2015, UFCW members will be pushing the 114th Congress to follow the lead of these 29 states and raise the minimum wage so that no worker is forced to live in poverty.
As we start the new year, the retail sector continues to be an important employer of minorities and women. However, too many workers in this industry are struggling to survive in low-wage, part-time jobs with inconsistent hours that hamper their ability to juggle life’s demands and prevent them from climbing the economic ladder. As income inequality continues to grow, worker-led campaigns such as OUR Walmart and the Fight for $15, have made these issues part of the national conversation and elected officials have taken notice. Last year, Representatives George Miller (D-Calif) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn) introduced the Schedules That Work Act (H.R. 5159) that included a presumption that retail workers who need a schedule change due to child care, school, a second job, or medical needs will receive that change unless there is a bona fide business reason not to. The legislation would also provide retail workers advance notice of their schedules and guaranteed minimum pay when they are sent home from work before completing their entire shift. Fair, flexible and reliable scheduling is a simply way to ensure that retail workers are treated with dignity and respect. The Retail Justice Alliance urges Congress to swiftly pass the Schedules That Work Act to improve scheduling in the retail sector and provide retail workers with a pathway to the middle class.
The UFCW awards several scholarships of up to $8,000 each to UFCW members or their unmarried dependents. The scholarships are limited to any member who has been active since January 1, 2014. The child and/or dependents of active members are also eligible to apply if they are unmarried and under the age of 20 on May 31, 2015 The application and other forms must be mailed with a postmark date no later than March 22, 2015. Scholarship recipients will receive annual payments of $2,000 for each year they are enrolled for up to four years. For more information, complete rules and eligibility requirements, or to apply, please visit www.ufcw.org/scholarship. The applications on this website are also written in French and Spanish. If you are unable to apply online, you may request an application by writing to: UFCW International Union, Attn: Scholarship Program, 1775 K Street, NW, Washington DC, 20006. If you need the scholarship rules or an application in another language, please call 1-800-551-4010 for assistance.
Employees with one (1) or more years of service must select their vacation week(s) in writing no later than February 1, 2015. Vacations selected after February 1st will be approved on a first come/first serve basis in accordance with your Union Contract. Remember, Employees are NOT allowed to schedule vacations during the Christmas period from November 15th to December 31st except by mutual agreement between the Employer and the Employee. If your request is rejected for any other reason, please contact The UFCW Local 1496 Office and speak to your representative. For more information on Vacations refer to your Union Contract.
By now, you should have received a medium white envelope with your medical open enrollment forms in it. Be sure to fill the form out and return ASAP so you and your family will have health benefits for 2015. FAILURE TO DO SO WILL RESULT IN LOST BENEFITS! You may also add or remove dependents at this time. There are instructions on how to fill out the form and it only takes a few moments to ensure benefits for you and your family members in the coming year. If you have not received a form by now, please contact the Plan Administrator at 561-5119 or (800)325-6532 ext 4236 or The UFCW Local 1496 Office at 258-1496 or (800)478-1496, Fairbanks 456-6571. You can also log onto www.akufcwtrust.com and download a form. Be sure to mark the annual enrollment box at the top.