From Socialist Worker: http://socialistworker.org/print/2010/08/31/big-grocers-take-aim-at-ufcw
, a member of UFCW Local 21 in Seattle, asks whether his union is prepared to draw the line against concession demands from the big grocery chains.
August 31, 2010
THE UNITED Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) is in the midst of an 18-month period in which it is negotiating contracts for more than 400,000 of its 1.3 million members.
Will the union move forward or backward? So far, there are several grocery contracts that have been settled throughout the country. Most recently, on July 8, over 16,000 members of UFCW Local 1500 in the New York City area settled with Stop & Shop, Pathmark and King Kullen.
Prior to that, the 5,800 members of UFCW Local 23 ratified a contract that covered 36 Giant Eagle stores in Western Pennsylvania and Northern West Virginia. Members of the Madison Heights, Mich.-based UCFW Local 876 unanimously ratified a three-year contract for about 12,000 workers at 118 Kroger stores in Michigan.
Unfortunately, both the UFCW local union and International Web sites--and, not surprisingly, the mainstream media--have very few details of these settlements. Due to the history of concessionary contracts negotiated by the UFCW , the silence is troubling.
But there's another major struggle taking place in the grocery industry that will help determine the union's direction: Some 25,000 grocery workers around Washington state have been locked in tense negotiations for over four months.
On the bosses' side, three of the richest grocery corporations in the U.S.--Kroger, Albertson's (owned by Supervalu), and Safeway--have united for negotiations as Allied Employers, Inc. For the workers, 19,000 are represented by UFCW Local 21, while the other 6,000 are represented by UFCW Local 81 and Teamsters Local 38. The workers are spread out over 218 stores in nine counties throughout Western Washington.
The contract originally was set to expire May 1, but has now been extended three times and is set to expire at the end of August.
Continue reading at: http://socialistworker.org/print/2010/08/31/big-grocers-take-aim-at-ufcw