Congratulations to Labor Trust Services who ratified their contract on March 16th. Next up is Safeway Anchorage/Eagle River. The contract expires on May 31, 2018 and this contract marks the start of our next round of negotiations with all Safeway stores. Questionnaires were sent out recently to all the members at these stores and we thank those who took the time to send us your input and preferences and also volunteered to be on the Negotiating Committee. This information helps tremendously when going into negotiations with the Employer. We have our first round on negotiation dates set up for May 15th, 16th & 17th. We will keep you posted on any and all progress. This summer, we will also be opening Market Basket (Gavora) in Fairbanks, Firefighters Local #1264 in Anchorage, Tatsuda’s IGA in Ketchikan, Ironworkers Local #751 in Anchorage, Hammer & Wikan and Trading Union in Petersburg, and Plumbers Local #262 in Juneau. In the fall, we will open Safeway Fairbanks/North Pole and Safeway Homer. So it will be a busy year for us and our members at the bargaining table.
Yes, it is true that the state of Alaska has legalized the use of marijuana for adults over the age of 21. However, this has no effect on employment laws. The new law explicitly states that it is not intended to require employers to permit the consumption, possession, transfer, growth or sale of marijuana at the place of employment, nor is it intended to affect employer policies restricting marijuana use. In other words, you cannot bring this substance to work, use at work, or come to work impaired with marijuana in your system. Just like alcohol, which is also legal, if you are impaired or get hurt because you are impaired and test positive, your employer may discipline you with a suspension and/or termination. Most companies have a zero tolerance for any use of marijuana on or off the job. If you have any questions, please check your company policy.
The month of March marked Women’s History Month, and March 8th is recognized as International Women’s Day, a day with roots in the American labor movement and the struggles of working women. The article, “Don’t forget what International Women’s Day is really about – striking,“ that ran in The Independent, recently featured the origins of the day and it’s ties to women workers organizing for better working conditions and fair treatment: It was in 1857, that on 8 March in New York City, garments workers went on strike. Suffering horrific conditions, endless hours and low pay, they took to the streets demanding better money and working conditions. Dispersed after being attacked by police, the women continued to fight and from their movement the first Women’s Labor Unions were established. In the early 20th century, their movement blossomed. New York City’s streets again saw women march demanding shorter hours, better pay, an end to child labor and the right to vote in 1908. Leading labor organizers sought to strengthen the movement internationally. At the Conference of Working Women held in Copenhagen in 1910, Clara Zetkin asked over 100 women from 17 countries – representing Unions, Socialist Parties and Women’s Working Clubs – to pass a motion for an International Working Women’s Day. They did so, unanimously, and the so International Women’s Day was born. To learn more, read the Women In Labor History Primer.