A "substantial majority" of members of a regional grocery trade union ratified a contract with Fred Meyer and other stores late Friday night, ending a 16-month period with sometimes tense negotiations, according to union officials. The
annual contract guarantees employees a minimum of 20 hours of work week, provides pay increases for all workers and "aims" to close an experienced gender pay gap, said United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 spokeswoman Kelley McAllister.
The union, which represents about 1
"The whole contract is quite historic," McAllister said.
In a prepared statement on Saturday, Fred Meyer spokesman Jeffery Temple said the company is "pleased to have reached an agreement that guarantees increased pay, continued premium health care and retirement stability. We thank our hard-working staff for continuing to serve our customers and communities every day. "
The union refused to share how many union members voted" yes "to ratify the contract.
UFCW 555 began negotiating a new contract with Fred Meyers, Safeway, Albertsons and QFC for more than one year ago, but negotiations stalled because of a wage dispute, according to union officials, the company offered "nickel and penny" compared to union members.
"I have no way of knowing why (the companies) finally moved. I want to credit two elements, and one is the boycott, ”McAllister said. “The boycott had an almost immediate impact. Our customers were ready and they stood with us. "
McAllister said that a federal broker, who met with the groups the week before the settlement, may also have played a role in the company's heartbreak.
Temple said his company's "top priority is to do what's best – give our customers the freshest products and the friendliest affiliates."
The contract provides "plan A" employees, such as grocery stores and polite salaried employees, with a 55 percent increase each year of the contract and "plan B" employees, such as bakery and deli workers, with a 90 percent increase each year from contract. There is a 25 and 50 cents increase over previous contract offers for Plan A and Plan B.
(Average hourly wage for plan A workers was $ 17.22 and average hourly wage for plan B workers was $ 13, 69 before the new contract, according to the website UFCW 555. It was unclear how the average hourly pay would change according to the new contract.)
Employees of Central Checkout, or CCK workers, will receive 60 increments each year of the contract. , McAllister said.
The contract also raises "non-food" pay up to plan B rates, McAllister said. Some of the employees have previously earned less than Planners B, though the amount of difference varied from city to city.
"In Portland, the bump was a penny, but in Longview the bump was $ 1," she said. “People who are not Longview foods will see the first high of $ 1.90 per hour. … It's a win for Longview. ”
UFCW 555 represents 600 employees in the Kelso-Longview area.
The levies are the highest the union has ever received, McAllister said. Some of the levies will be financially supported by health care reserve money provided by the union to the companies, she said.
"On the one hand, we want this to be higher," McAllister said. "But on the other hand, this is two times more than we've ever gotten before on Plan A and 3 1/2 higher than we've ever gotten on Plan B."
The contract also reduced the gender pay gap at the companies, McAllister said. This gap was created by the different pay scales between plan A, which employs more men, and plan B, which employs more women.
Although the contract does not completely close the $ 3.53 difference union workers found between the schedules, it is a step in the right direction, McAllister said.
"This will increase Plan B up by $ 1.05, so it will cut this gap by almost a third," McAllister said.
If the high speed continues, the union could close the gap in just nine years, she said. Previous estimates, based on previous trips, show that it will take 35 years to close the gap.
New language in the contract also makes it easier for workers to transfer from schedule B jobs to schedule A jobs, McAllister said.
"In the past, it was only after the whim of the boss. What happened was that people, more often than not women, asked to move over to schedule A, and the company would reject the request," McAllister said. the company sometimes continue to hire a new employee to fill schedule A vacancy.
"What will happen now, I think, is that we will see plan B being made more and more by new people, and people from McAllister's experience will go to Plan A. "
Union officials emphasized the 20-hour work week guarantee, which would make all workers eligible for benefits," McAllister said.
The 20-hour work week warranty can also "snowball for people" because it incentivizes employers to give their current workers more hours instead of hiring new people, McAllister said.
The contract has a universal three-year term in all contracts and all areas within UFCW 555's jurisdiction, according to trade unions The contract begins the day after the current contract expires. For contracts that expired before this agreement was reached, the new contract will be applied retroactively back to the expiration date.
"We feel that the union's collective attitude was that all their needs were met," McAllister said. “Our long-term struggle is to make grocery work a solid middle-class job again. … (With this contract) we took a big step in that direction. ”