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President’s Message

Mickey

MICKEY KASPARIAN
President

We are proud to announce the ratification of a new three-year contract for more than 60,000 of our Southern California Union Members working at Albertsons, Ralphs and Vons. It was passed by an overwhelming majority.

After five months of negotiating, or attempting to negotiate, we finally have a deal – and it’s a good one. It came down to the very last minute.

We were in crisis negotiations and we were preparing to strike. It was very stressful for you, our staff and for us on the UFCW negotiating team.

To add pressure to stalled negotiations, we had a strike authorization vote and staff and volunteers were out in June tabling and leafleting asking shoppers to support the workers.

When the stores’ negotiating team didn’t respond to that, we upped the ante by boycotting six stores in San Diego. Apparently they noticed we were cutting into their profits, and that’s when it all changed.

At the start, the grocery stores attempted to reduce your pension benefits and accrual rates, but they did not succeed. They wanted to take away our Golden 85, and have us pay more into our health care and accept lump-sum bonuses instead of wage increases.

We came out of this virtually unscathed. The Golden 85 remains intact. Medical benefits remain intact as well.

Progressions will come much sooner, so our members can look forward to some bumps in pay with fewer hours needed to get to the next step. Plus, you get raises in all three years of the contract and there is full retroactivity back to March 6 for the Journeyman rates.

In case you missed it, our minimum wage in the city of San Diego is now $10.50 an hour and next year it will go up to $11.50. In 2019 the California minimum wage surpasses San Diego’s and goes up to $12 and a dollar more each year to 2022. After that it will be indexed to the cost of living each year. This was a huge victory for us back in the June primary election and it was a factor in negotiations.

We were able to improve the Minimum Wage Escalator by increasing the starting wages for Food Clerks from 20 cents over the new minimum wages to 40 cents over the new minimum wages. This will also protect those who are involuntarily transferred from higher to lower minimum wage areas.

Another good thing that came out of this is the stores are now required to give you one-week notice of your work schedule. You can now plan your lives in advance if you like. No more 72-hour notice. Also, the new contract says that the stores are not to use your schedule for disciplinary or punitive purposes.

Employees will also be able to inspect a copy of their personnel file.

We were unable to settle on anything for the Pharmacists and we are still working on getting them a good contract.

You all make more and have better benefits than any other workers in the retail industry and that’s what we want for the pharmacists. We are going to have to continue to fight for them. Good contracts come with solidarity and strength.

Thanks to all of our members who stood tall.