This is a new era

Members,

You’re busy, so I won’t take up too much of your time. I’ve got a super quick request that’ll take one minute, but make a big difference.

You know by now: this is a new era for our union, and a new chance to get the benefits and rights we deserve. We’re fired up, and we’re ready. But we have to let management know we mean business.

Tag your co-worker or fellow member in the video above and ask them to step up to the challenge for next year’s contract push. 

Management may have the money, but we’ve got something special: people like you. Challenge your co-worker to step up and play a leading role in organizing next year. That way we can show companies that we won’t back down.

Tag Your Friend
We got this,

David Quezada, UFCW 770 Grocery Steward


Hang tough

Members,

With the grocery contract negotiation right around the corner, I can’t stop thinking about the strength I saw in all our members at the Grocery Stewards Conference back in October.

In my 40 years of working in the grocery market, I’ve never been so excited about the future of this union. When I looked out and saw hundreds of stewards standing together with their fists in the air, it hit me: we can do anything we set our minds to if we hang together.

Watch the video above and learn why I’m fired up to fight for you. Then leave a comment to let employers know you’re ready to fight for a better deal.

We all have our own versions of what we think makes a fair contract and collectively, they create a shared vision and a strong union. If we hang tough, stand together and bring that same energy to the upcoming grocery contract negotiation, we will win. We’ll win better benefits, higher wages, and the respect we deserve.

I’m proud to be a part of this union with you. Let’s get ready to get a better deal.

Leave Your Comment

We got this,

Jennifer A. Gates, 770 member 


My Friend, Michael Four

Michael was more than just our attorney for over 35 years; he was a huge part of our UFCW family. Personally, he was my mentor and my very dear friend. He was such an extraordinary person with a unique combination of personality traits that made him the one and only Michael Four.

I first met Michael in the late 80’s when I was a law student clerking at Schwartz, Steinsapir, Dohrmann & Sommers. For the 6 years that I worked at SSDS as a law clerk and associate, Michael was the best boss without exception (no offense to the other SSDS attorneys all of whom I love). His direct style, supportive nature and approachability made it easy for a young associate to ask questions, debate ideas and strategies and come to a thorough understanding of the task at hand. This made it so Michael rarely had to make corrections to my work although, according to him, he always had to find at least one thing to correct on every brief I wrote so he could justify signing his name to it.

Michael was a dedicated and steadfast advocate for working people. Our union representatives always requested Michael to handle their discipline arbitrations because, in the end, win or lose, the members felt the best possible case was presented to the arbitrator. The members especially liked to see their managers squirm under Michael’s cross-examination. Michael has also been the one constant in our industry-wide arbitrations since the early 80’s. His knowledge of our industry history is irreplaceable. Michael was incredibly liked and respected by opposing counsel and all the arbitrators we work with.

Michael always wanted to be in the mix because he truly cared about every development impacting our organization and our members. During our most challenging negotiations, he called frequently for updates and was always available to offer bargaining advice or emotional support. Particularly, during our 2003/2004 strike, which until now was the most difficult time in my career, Michael handled all of the litigation and was still available to take calls whenever anyone needed his support or encouragement. After the strike, Michael worked to recover $70 million for our Ralphs members who were unlawfully locked out.

Over the 30 years I’ve known him, Michael became a very dear friend of mine. We shared a life-long love for the Grateful Dead and went to shows together frequently, including “Fare Thee Well” in Chicago in 2015. We first went to a Dead show together in 1990 and our last show was this last July when Michael was thrilled to be at the show with his sons.

Michael and I also shared a love for our families and constantly up-dated each other about our kids successes and challenges. Michael even brought his mother to Chicago in 2015, not to the Dead show, but so she could visit her family in Chicago. When Michael’s parents moved to Los Angeles, he struggled with the challenges of helping to care for his parents, but he never failed to take them shopping on Saturdays. Michael loved his family. Even though I didn’t spend much time with Michael and Karen together, Michael talked about Karen frequently and I always felt a part of their lives. He spoke proudly about Karen’s career achievements and shared other interesting details about their lives, including their plans to retire in Santa Fe.

Michael’s unique personality included anxieties and some neurotic behaviors but he dealt with them with such an honest and upbeat self-deprecating humor that they were endearing rather than annoying. His intelligence and dedication made him the best attorney while his humility and humor made him fun to work with and a pleasure to be around.

Last week, Michael and I had planned to prepare for an upcoming arbitration after I chaired my first executive board meeting. Rather than coming after the Board meeting, Michael came in the morning to watch me chair the meeting. He said, jokingly, that John wanted him there to make sure I didn’t do anything crazy but I’m sure he was there to share that milestone with me. He genuinely cared about people both personally and professionally. Literally everybody liked Michael. He will be remembered lovingly and profoundly missed by so many.

—Kathy Finn, Secretary-Treasurer, UFCW 770


Updated Kaiser Contract

As of October 24, 2018, there are updated Kaiser Permanente contracts. Congratulations, your determination and solidarity paid off with a new contract that preserves your health care and includes real wage increases for everyone.

You now have:

  • The highest wage increases in the country
  • A medical benefit plan that will remain fully intact
  • An improved National Agreement dispute resolution process
  • Up to $750 of the tuition reimbursement that can be used for travel.
  • And more!

Your new contracts:

Kaiser Permanente – Clinical Lab Scientists Unit Learn More
Kaiser Permanente – Pharmacy Unit Learn More
Kaiser Permanente – Kern Administrative and Clerical Unit Learn More
Kaiser Permanente – Kern County Learn More

 


In memory of Michael Four

It is with great regret and sadness that we report the death of Michael Four, a close ally of our movement and a labor law attorney with the firm Schwartz Steinsapir.

Michael spent 37 years fighting tirelessly for the rights of working people, collaborating with our union and others to advance and expand the interests of workers and employees across the country.

He contributed to numerous victories throughout the years, helping hundreds of employees find justice in arbitrations, holding corporate management accountable, and handling large, sweeping projects for our union. He helped win a landmark judgment against Ralphs Grocery that resulted in millions of dollars paid to employees unfairly treated during the 2003-4 lockout and strike.

Although a formidable and steadfast advocate for our families, Michael was best known for his kindness, compassion, and devotion to his family, qualities acknowledged by all who knew him – including those on the other side of the bargaining table.

He is survived by his mother, brother, wife, and two sons.

His insight, optimistic and positive attitude, and commitment to the fight will be missed. While we mourn Michael today, we are sure he would echo the famous quote from Mother Jones: “Pray for the dead, but fight like hell for the living!”

Thank you, Michael. May your name be a blessing.

Condolences for the family and firm can be sent to Margo Feinberg at InlovingmemoryMDFour@ssdslaw.com where they will be compiled into a memory book for the family.


Open Letter to the Dodgers

To say we are disappointed with you crossing a picket line and betraying the needs of your fellow union members in their time of need is an understatement.

We are furious. And we have a long memory.

There is no excuse for the union players of the Dodgers to become scabs and cross a legitimate, established picket line, especially one created to protest the massive gap between the financial condition of workers and the customers they serve.

The Dodgers had more than ample notice to find another hotel. Heck, the union even gave them a list of other available hotels. You saw the massive pushback against the scab Yankees when THEY crossed the picket line. The Boston City Council passed a resolution supporting the workers nearly a week before you arrived in Boston. The strike had been going on for nearly a month.

But still you chose to betray the poverty-wage workers who change your sheets and clean up your mess, simply because it was a little bit easier for you.

Well, this is one mess your fellow union members will NOT clean up.

The Major League Baseball Players’ Union benefited from the support of your fellow union members in your time of need. Those making barely minimum wage rallied to your side, helping you secure an average $4.5 million annual salary and job security.

But when it came time to choose between supporting those working people who stood with you and a minor hotel inconvenience, you chose to become scabs.

You seem to easily forget the solidarity of the unions that came before you make your job and salaries possible. Without miners being shot for organizing, without garment workers dying in their factories, without workers starving for months on picket lines – you would still be playing for peanuts.

But when it came time to honor that debt, that heritage, you balked.

Shame on you. Your betrayal will not be forgotten nor easily forgiven.

—John Grant, President, and members of UFCW 770


The Power of Your Vote

This year, union groups in Missouri—a state not exactly known for being a bastion of workers’ rights—crushed a bill that would have made it harder for unions to attract new members and funding.

It a was a moment to pump our fist in the air and a reminder of what working people can accomplish when we turn up and vote.

That’s why we need to get heard this November and vote. Sign up today to get started.

I WILL VOTE

The legislation Missouri pummeled is widely seen as an existential threat to workers across the country. So-called “right to work” laws are designed to bankrupt unions and leave workers undefended when corporations come around to pick their pockets. So-called “right to work” laws are designed to bankrupt unions and leave workers undefended when corporations come around to pick their pockets. A better name for them might be: “the right to work for less.”

So far, California hasn’t adopted these staunchly anti-worker laws. But that could change: A group called the Freedom Foundation is aiming to shrink union ranks across California, Oregon, and Washington by flooding the media with messages about how employees can stop paying union fees. The group is feeling especially energized after the Supreme Court’s decision to allow millions of public sector workers to stop paying their own union fees.

These anti-labor groups may have money and they may have power, but they can be stopped when working people stand together and say: “Enough.” In Missouri, a small army of rank-and-file union members worked together with activists to collect enough signatures to put a repeal referendum on the ballot that would boot the anti-labor law. Then they knocked on thousands of doors throughout the state to get the votes they needed. In the end, they struck it down by a margin of more than two to one—not bad for a midwestern state that backed Donald Trump all the way.

Workers are under attack in this country, from Cleveland to Columbia to California, but our victory in Missouri shows us how we win.The stakes couldn’t be higher, and organized labor is still on the ropes, but we can get results when working people decide to come together and push back.

By signing our petition and pledging to vote in November, you can help us fight these forces the most effective way possible: at the ballot box. Sign here: http://ufcw770.org/vote/


Strong National Tentative Agreement

After careful preparation, months of organizing in unprecedented numbers, and long days and nights in negotiating sessions stretching from May to September, we have finally secured a strong Tentative Agreement that met our key goals: a good wage increase, better benefits, new LMP and educational trust funds for our Alliance union members, and a plan to get our LMP back on track.

“This has been a long struggle, and we could not have done it without the unprecedented organizing and hard work of tens of thousands of our members,” said Alliance Executive Director Peter DiCicco. “This agreement is a testament to every worker who spoke up, signed a petition, attended a rally, and stood by the Union and our Alliance!” The TA was approved by the Union CIC Sunday evening, then will go Saturday September 29 to the Bargaining Delegates Conference and if approved by that body, on to the local unions for membership votes.

WAGE INCREASE: The union team worked hard for the best possible wage increases on 10/1/18, 10/1/19, and 10/1/20. For California and the Northwest, the increases will be 3%, 2.75% with a .25 lump sum, and 3%. For Hawaii, Mid-Atlantic and Georgia, the increases will be 2.25%, 2%, and 2.25%. For Colorado, which is facing significant financial challenges, the unions were faced with strong demands for a near-total wage freeze, and instead were able to secure 2%, 1%, 1% plus an additional increase of up to 1% on 9/1/2021 depending on regional finances.

BETTER BENEFITS: In a key part of our strategy to achieve better, common benefits across regions, we significantly increased dental benefits. Diagnostic and preventive services are now 100% covered. Basic services and crowns are covered at 90%, and prosthodontics are covered at 70%. The new benefit also meets a longtime Alliance goal of having the same benefits across the Program, with a few exceptions such as the NW where KP has a dental program. Depending on your region and your plan, these higher coverages amount to anywhere from an 18-80% improvement.

Retirees in regions outside of California will get more funds in their HRA, with contributions rising from the current $2,000 per year of service, up to $2,500 per year of service. The increase kicks in on January 1, 2021.

Office visit co-pays will be $10 starting in 2020, with a reopener in 2021 for 2022 co-pays. Depending on plan and region, this is an increase for many and a decrease for some, but it is still a very good benefit, is significantly better than non-partnership unions plans, and it is now uniform across the Alliance, achieving a key goal of uniform benefit structure. For members who get health, pension, training, dental, retiree medical or other benefits through local labor-management Taft-Hartley funds, benefits are set locally and are not affected by these nationally bargained changes, and we secured the necessary management contributions for these funds

We won a new, modest retiree medical plan for KP Washington members – a region in which no employee group has any retiree medical benefits. This breakthrough gives us a base to build on in future negotiations, as partnership kicks in and performance improves with union help.

Stronger Performance Sharing Plan (PSP): In recent years union members in Southern California, Hawaii, Georgia and Mid-Atlantic regions have achieved their PSP goals in quality, service, attendance and more – only to get no payout because the region didn’t meet the financial “gate.” To protect workers from losing the PSP due to circumstances beyond their control, we agreed that even if any region doesn’t hit the financial gate, workers can still receive up to $1,000, pro-rated among the goals met.

LOCAL UNION GAINS: Some local unions decided to engage management in local bargaining over the last six months. Concurrent with National Bargaining, and with the help of our full CIC, a number of unions were able to gain language as well as economic improvements – your local union will provide you with details. Some of these final agreements were only won in the last week with the support of the full Alliance.

NEW, STRONGER LMP and EDUCATIONAL TRUST FUNDS: We reached agreement to create a new Alliance Joint Educational Trust fund – and, we won a 25% increase in funding. The trust annual funding, which provides funds for career counseling and tuition funding for upgrading skills, is rising from 0.4% of Alliance payroll to 0.5%.

We also agreed to create a new LMP Trust Fund dedicated to promoting partnership between Alliance union members and KP. Union members will continue the 9 cents-per-hour contribution we’ve been making for the past 15 years, and management agreed to a similar funding formula that will support LMP programs.

GETTING OUR PARTNERSHIP BACK ON TRACK: Management agreed that we need to get our partnership back on track after several years of backsliding. The process will begin within 30 days of ratification when a joint team will start planning and research, culminating in a meeting of Alliance unions with KP senior leadership in February.

Because basic LMP training in some areas has been watered down or even eliminated, the Partnership bargaining subgroup agreed to charge a National LMP Learning Group with developing and updating LMP curriculum. With tighter contract language with a shorter timeline, they also agreed to provide all newly hired – as well as newly-organized and newly-accreted – employees with LMP training within 90 days of hire.

The Operations subgroup reached consensus that in regions where there is not an existing framework with established timelines for issues related to flexibility, the parties will create an early engagement and timely implementation decision-making framework.

To support union members on the job, we secured a 25% increase in the number of Contract Specialists. The current formula provides one for every 1,500 members and we agreed to increase it to one per every 1,200 members.

PROTECTING OUR NO-CANCELLATION RIGHTS: Finally, after many hours of discussion, management agreed to drop the drive to eliminate no-cancellation language.

NEXT STEPS: The Bargaining Delegate Council will review these provisions, and more, in depth next Saturday, September 29 in Los Angeles. If the Council approves the Tentative Agreement, they will then refer the it to local unions for them to conduct a membership vote both on the national TA as well as local TAs if applicable.

Vote Locations October 9, 2018

South Bay Office
25949 Belle Port Avenue
Harbor City, CA 90710
8:00 am – 7:00 pm

Los Angeles Office
630 Shatto Place
Los Angeles, CA 90005
8:00 am – 7:00 pm

UFCW Local 1167
855 W. San Bernardino Avenue
Bloomington, CA 92316
8:00 am – 7:00 pm

Kaiser Baldwin Park
1011 Baldwin Park Boulevard
Room 14 Baldwin Park, CA 91706
9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Vote Locations October 10, 2018
Kaiser Permanente 24 Hour Outpatient Pharmacy
5601 De Soto Avenue
Conference room B143
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
8:00 am – 7:00 pm

Newhall Office
23030 Lyons Avenue
Newhall, CA 91321
8:00 am – 7:00 pm

Bakersfield Office
5000 California Avenue
Suite 211
Bakersfield, CA 93309
8:00 am – 7:00 pm

UFCW Local 1428
705 W. Arrow Hwy
Claremont, CA 91711
9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Ron’s members – Ron’s Fontana and Ontario,
Chino Hills Regional Lab, Riverside
employees


 
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