Your Alaska UFCW Local and its members have been busy negotiating labor agreements across the state with various employers. Most recently in Southeast Alaska: Tatsuda's IGA Union members ratified a new 2 year agreement with a unanimous yes vote on Friday, June 28th, and in Petersburg, on Tuesday, July 2nd, Trading Union IGA and Hammer & Wikan workers overwhelmingly voted yes to accept a new 3 year contract that protects their health and welfare benefits with no new out-of-pocket co-pay cost to its members as well as ratification bonuses for all classifications within the contract. Fairbanks: Market Basket and Fairbanks Distributors' workers each ratified new 3 year agreements this summer that included the employers picking up the cost of healthcare increases on the Union plan for its employees and meaningful wage increase over the life of the agreements. Up next for Safeway contract negotiations will be for Fairbanks/North Pole locations where the Union will be meeting with the Employer on Tuesday, August 13th and Wednesday, August 14th, to exchange proposals. The Union and its Committee Members from the stores will be working hard on the behalf of their coworkers to secure the best wages, benefits, and working conditions the Employer has to offer. Following Safeway Fairbanks/North Pole contract will be Safeway Homer, Ketchikan and the Mat-Su Valley.
The Annual Fairbanks Labor Day parade and picnic is on Monday, September 2nd. The parade starts at 12:00 noon at the Noel Wien Library and ends at the Pioneer Park. The picnic is being held there starting at 1:00 pm. The admission is $5 per person or $10 per family. Those who walk in the parade will be admitted to the picnic for free. Any questions or need additional information, just give our Fairbanks office a call at 456-6571.
In Southern California, where seven UFCW Locals representing 60,000 Kroger/Ralphs and Albertsons/ Vons Workers have been in negotiations for a new contract agreement since March, and voted in May to authorize a strike are scheduled to meet again for a 3 day bargaining secession starting on July 30th. The workers are fighting against the Employers proposed 2-tier wage structure to classifications and reduced contributions to health and welfare cost. Similar to Southern California, Portland's Local 555 has taken strike votes and continues to hold strike votes scheduled throughout the state for its members that work for Albertsons and Safeway stores, which are owned by Albertsons Cos. and QFC and Fred Meyer brans are owned by Kroger. After multiple rounds of bargaining for the last year, the Employers have been reluctant to respond with needed pay increases. The Local 555, UFCW represents more than 25,000 workers in grocery stores in Oregon and Southwest Washington.
Union members have specific rights on the job that are spelled out in your contract. You also have rights that are protections in state and federal law. Having a Union makes a difference. On average, Union members earn about 20% more in wages than non-union members. Because each contract can be different, a member should read their contract to find out about wages. (To receive a copy of your Union contract, contact your Shop Steward or call the Union office at 258-1496 or 1-800-478-1496 - Fairbanks 456-6571.) Wages are one part of an overall package for many Union members including: Health care coverage, retirement, vacation, paid holidays, and sick leave. The industries in the state and national economy that have the most "Union Density" percentage of Union members in a particular workforce tend to have a stronger ability to bargain for higher wages and benefits. Organizing new work sites and new workers not only helps those particular workers get better wages, it especially helps all Union members. Make sure you check your paycheck. If you feel that you have missed a pay raise, not been paid for time worked, not been paid properly for holiday time, etc, contact your Union Representative.