RICHARD BARRERA, Secretary-Treasurer
Updates on Negotiations and Legislation
This has been a busy period for our Local as we are negotiating with multiple employers for improvements to our contracts this year, while at the same time advancing legislation in Sacramento that’s important to our members.
Rite Aid negotiations continue to be challenging primarily because of the purchase of Rite Aid by Albertsons. While nobody can know for certain what the implications of this purchase will bring, we need to make sure that our Rite Aid members have a strong contract to protect them in the upcoming transition.
We are determined to protect our strong health benefits package for our Rite Aid members while securing fair wage increases. The company has been slow to get to an agreement, and their initial proposals – which include taking our members out of the Union health plan, eliminating coverage for retirees, reducing the number of full-time positions, and increasing the length of time required for pharmacy techs to get to the top rate – are unacceptable and we will stand strong against these takeaways.
As of the date of this article, we continue to work towards an historic first agreement for UFCW Local 135 members in the Cannabis industry. We are confident that we can establish a contract with clear wage scales that are fair to our members along with a strong health care plan. Our Apothekare mem-bers, led by Bryanna Salewsky and Larry Fennell, continue to stand strong with their sisters and brothers from Local 770 and Local 1167 and we’re hopeful that we will reach agreement soon.
Our Hudson Group members who work at the San Diego Airport recently ratified a new five-year agreement which provides significant wage increases, more affordable health care and more predictable scheduling. We’re also in negotiations for our Paradies members at the airport and hope to reach an agreement soon.
In early June, UFCW 135 and 1167 members at Lucky Max in El Centro ratified a strong new contract that includes fair wage increases and protection of our strong Union health and pension benefits.
Update on No Pharmacist Left Alone Bill SB1442
Thanks to the leadership of Local 135 pharmacists Seung Oh, Suzanne Bradbury, and Nancy Arellano our No Pharmacists Left Alone bill continues to proceed through the State Legislature. The bill passed out of the full Senate on a 32 to 4 vote with all Democrats and a number of Republicans voting yes. The bill is now making its way through the Assembly and we are hopeful that soon relief will be coming to our pharmacists who take great care of their patients every day.
Stay tuned for continued updates on how we can all contribute to strong contracts for our members and their families.