The past year has been a busy one for the UFCW staff. We continue to focus on protecting our members and the integrity of our many collective bargaining agreements throughout the state. Our primary goal is to ensure all members are afforded the respect and dignity on the job they so richly deserve. Please keep in mind, we cannot help if members don’t call and let us know when there’s a problem. Too often we are not notified in time to help. Read your Union Contract. Know your rights. If you don’t understand something, don’t hesitate to ask your Shop Steward or a Union Representative.
One major achievement for 2014 was increasing the Alaska State Minimum Wage. The UFCW Local 1496 was on the forefront in gathering signatures and helping fund efforts through donations to our Active Ballot Club. In conclusion, 69% of Alaskan voters from both sides of the aisle supported raising the minimum wage. This is a prime example of how we can make a difference when we pool our resources. What should we advocate for next, legislatively? First day paid sick leave, like they did in San Francisco, Seattle and now Portland? Stay tuned. Thanks to all members that chose to, and continue to support efforts like this by making contributions to the UFCW Active Ballot Club.
This spring, we will begin negotiations over the Anchorage/Eagle River Safeway (now Albertsons) Agreement. This will set the tone for the retail contracts that follow, and establish Health Care costs for the next three years. A high level of membership involvement will be instrumental to the level of success we can achieve at the bargaining table. Can we count on you to get involved? Look for sign-up sheets and contract questionnaires to be in the Anchorage/Eagle River stores in late January.
DATE DAY PLACE TIME
2/24/15 Tues Anchorage/Eagle River @ UFCW Office (501 W. Northern Lights Blvd) 9:00 AM & 5:00 PM
2/25/15 Wed Fairbanks @ UFCW Office 2120 S. Cushman Suite 201 9:00 AM & 5:00 PM
2/25/15 Wed North Pole @North Pole Plaza (next to Ben Franklin) 3:00 PM
2/25/15 Wed Palmer/Wasilla @ Menard Sports Center 6:00 PM
2/26/15 Thurs Eagle River @ Parks & Rec ( 12001 Business Blvd) 5:00 PM
3/2/15 Mon Ketchikan @ IBEW 7:00 PM
3/3/15 Tues Ketchikan @ Best Western Landing 9:00 AM
3/4/15 Wed Petersburg @ Scandia House 7:00 PM
3/5/15 Thurs Petersburg @ Scandia House 9:00 AM
3/5/15 Thurs Juneau @ Travel Lodge Glacier Hwy 6:00 PM
3/9/15 Mon Homer @ Bidarka Inn (Downstairs Conference Room) 6:00 PM
3/10/15 Tues Kenai/Soldotna @ Aspen Hotel Soldotna 4:00 PM
3/11/15 Wed Kenai/Soldotna @ Aspen Hotel Soldotna 9:00 AM
3/11/15 Wed Seward @ Holiday Inn Express (Conference Room) 6:00 PM
**Union members who attend General Membership meetings receive 50% refund for that month on their union dues.
The Pension and Health Plan Trust Consultants will be in Anchorage on January 27, 2014 to conduct a presentation concerning the status of our plans now and moving forward. The presentation will last approximately 90 minutes, and we encourage all members to attend. The presentation will be taped and presented at upcoming general membership meetings for our many members outside the Anchorage area. We hope to see you there.
Place: IBEW Hall, 3333 Denali Street, Anchorage Time: 6:00 PM
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.
All Union members are not to perform any work off the clock. “NO FREE TIME”! Members are prohibited from performing any work when they are not clocked in. Even when confronted with reduced hours and increased workloads, working off the clock is a violation of your Union Contract and Company Policy. Any person in violation of this can be subject to immediate dismissal. If you don’t have time to finish a job during your shift, ask management for approval for overtime to finish or someone else on the clock will have to perform the task. Working through breaks is not acceptable either. To work through a rest period is taking away time that should be paid for work performed by others in the workplace. Every Member for every shift scheduled is granted at least one paid uninterrupted rest period.
Effective September 1, 2014, Aetna will replace the BeechStreet Network as the preferred Provider Organization (PPO) for the Alaska United Food and Commercial Workers Health and Welfare Trust. Under this Shared Administration arrangement, WPAS/LTS will continue to process your health claims. Both Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage and Mat-Su Regional Medical Center in the Valley will continue to serve as the Plan’s preferred provider hospital and care facility. For other physicians and hospitals in Alaska, you can refer to Aetna’s online preferred provider directory (www.Aetna.com/docfind) to verify that your doctor and care facility are part of the Aetna PPO network. Aetna contracted providers have agreed to provide services and/or supplies at a discounted fee to you and your eligible dependents covered by the Plan. This helps the Trust control costs and reduces your out-of-pocket expenses. You may select any provider or hospital, but non-PPO services will result in a lesser payment by the Plan, and you will be responsible for a greater share of the cost of the claim. Watch for your new cards identifying you as an Aetna network member and also a new Prescription Drug identification card from Avia Partners. This new card is used only at the pharmacy or for the mail order program—it no longer contains medical plan information. For pre-certification on hospitalization and outpatient services, contact Aetna at (888) 632-3862. This contact number will also be shown on the reverse side of your new Medical Plan identification card. If you have any questions regarding this information, please contact the Administration Office at (800) 478-8329. In the near future, you should be receiving additional information regarding Aetna and your new cards.
The Trust if offering another option for surgical care. The BridgeHealth Surgery Benefit Management Program provides access to surgical Centers of Excellence in the lower 48 states at significantly lower costs. Some of the procedures covered in this plan are knees, hips and shoulders, heart bypass and valve replacement, spin fusion, discectomy and many general surgeries. If you’re planning a major medical procedure, give them a call at 1-888-387-3909 (www.bridgehealthmedical.com) and you will be set up with a BridgeHealth care coordinator who will help you choose the best available option for you. When you call, be sure to mention that your company code is UFCWA and that you are from the ALASKA UFCW Health and Welfare Trust.