Employees of online grocer FreshDirect have formed a union after voting “overwhelmingly” to ratify a collective bargaining agreement with United Food and Commercial Workers, UFCW Local 342 reported.
Also yesterday, seven UFCW locals from southern and central California ratified a new three-year contract with Ralphs Grocery and Albertsons Cos of The Kroger Co.’ Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions supermarket chains. Additionally, six of those same locals recently ratified a new contract with Southern California grocer, Stater Bros. Markets.
The new labor pact with New York-based FreshDirect, part of Ahold Delhaize USA, brings together around 1,800 grocery workers – including butchers, fish cutters, deli slicers and online orders, among others – under the representation of UFCW Local 342, which has offices in Mineola, Bohemia and Staten Island, NY These new members, according to the union, work in three New York locations in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan.
Acquired by Ahold Delhaize USA in January 2021, FreshDirect operates as an independent subsidiary of the company from a 400,000 square foot automated fulfillment center and campus in the Bronx. The pure-play online grocer delivers directly to customers in select markets in seven states, including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. Its major metropolitan markets include New York, Philadelphia and the District of Columbia.
“Local 342 is proud to announce that we have gained approximately 1,800 members through a very long organizing campaign. This campaign ultimately led to union recognition, and we successfully negotiated and ratified a contract,” UFCW Local 342 said in a statement.
“[UFCW 342] President Deana Abondolo and Local 342’s organizing department have been involved in this ongoing campaign for over 15 years,” the union added. “We are proud to say that on Thursday, April 14, 2022, FreshDirect members overwhelmingly ratified their contract. Welcome Fresh Direct members.
Meanwhile, in California, UFCW Locals 8GS, 135, 324, 770, 1167, 1428 and 1442 approved their contract with Ralphs, Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions on Thursday after reaching a tentative agreement on April 4. The initial agreement avoided a strike, which had been authorized a week earlier. More than 47,000 workers are covered by the new agreement.
“This contract is the start of the transformation of the food industry. Members stood up in solidarity not only in the shops and at rallies outside the stores, but also at the bargaining table,” said John Grant, president of Los Angeles-based UFCW Local 770, in a press release. “Workers have spoken and companies have listened. It is transformational, and the transformation will continue.
UFCW 770 said the wage increases included $4.25 an hour on the three-year contract for most workers, with some classifications receiving higher wage increases. The wage increases for 2022 and 2023 will also apply to about 7,000 Food 4 Less workers under last year’s deal negotiated with Kroger.
For workers at Ralphs and Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions, the new contract also increases the minimum weekly working hours for eligible part-timers from 24 to 28 hours and reduces the time it takes to move up the pay scale, which makes them eligible to receive benefits. earlier too. UFCW 770 noted that the improvement means “significant increases” in take-home pay, up to $3,000 a year for some workers.
“We made history. It was the first time members were involved in the negotiations, and I believe it made a difference to have us there,” commented Erika Bentzen, Bargaining Team Member, Food Clerk at Ralphs Store in Thousand Oaks, California. “It’s the best contract in the country, and I’m excited about the great progress we’ve made, including our medical coverage. »
UFCW 770 added that the new agreement improves dental and vision plans, protects pension benefits and includes provisions for forming health and safety committees in all stores.
“This new contract feels like we’re finally taking a step in the right direction to make grocery store jobs a viable career option,” says bargaining committee member Kim Sisson, supervisor at Vons Supermarket in La Crescenta. , in California. This contract not only gives everyone more money, but also begins to address wage inequities in stores and gives us a way to have our say and respond to emerging safety issues as they arise. they occur at work, which have become so important in recent years.
UFCW Locals 8GS, 135, 324, 770, 1167 and 1428 have ratified the contract with Stater Bros. on April 9 after reaching a tentative agreement on April 1. According to UFCW 770, the new agreement is effective immediately, retroactive to the March date of the contract. 7 start date, for more than 13,000 grocery store employees at approximately 170 Stater Bros. locations. in central and southern California.
“Today, by ratifying this contract, Stater Bros. workers won life-changing raises, better health care and protected pensions for the next three years. After more than two years of risking their lives to serve California communities as essential workers, UFCW members have come together for their families and each other and won one of the most historic contracts in California labor history,” the six UFCW locals said in a joint statement, “This contract is the concrete and direct result of their hard work. The pandemic and its deadly impact on our communities may not be over, but essential workers who keep Stater Bros. stores running have proven that a fair deal can be achieved when co-workers support each other.Together, our members fight for a future better and more promising, and this contract will help make that happen.
Collectively, UFCW Locals 8GS, 135, 324, 770, 1167, 1428 and 1442 represent more than 60,000 employees under a Food Master Agreement with Ralphs, Vons/Albertsons/Pavilions, Stater Bros., Gelson’s Markets and Super A Foods. The last three chains have negotiated separately and can approve the interim guiding pact as is or negotiate additional details to be included in the agreement. UFCW 770 has indicated that it expects an offer from Gelson in the next round of negotiations on April 22.