In his report on page 3, President Jacques Loveall describes some of the factors that are expected to make our contract negotiations with the supermarket companies especially difficult this year.
Not that contract negotiations ever were easy. In 2003 and 2004, Southern California was the scene of the longest, most brutal labor dispute in UFCW history. It was a 121-day ordeal that cost the supermarket companies an estimated $2 billion in lost revenues before a settlement was finally reached.
This year, however, we are reading reports of trouble all around the country. While there have been no strikes yet against supermarket companies, many UFCW locals
|have voted to authorize their leaders to call strikes if they deemed such action necessary.
Sometimes, those locals have gone to the very edge of striking before their employers came to terms.
The issues in these negotiations are tough. In almost every case, the Unions seek to protect the pensions of workers and achieve wage improvements.
Healthcare, too, is at the top of the agenda in these negotiations. The companies point to the ever-rising costs of health coverage and insist that the workers pay for more of those costs. The Unions respond that the employers need to carry the burden of these increases.
The key to success for the workers in every one of these negotiations is
Union solidarity. The Unions that are best able to maintain a united front and avoid dissension are the ones that, in the end, get the best contracts.
Our members in the North and the South can do their part by standing with their Union in word and deed.
The veterans have been through this before. They don’t pay attention to rumors. If they have questions about the negotiating process, they ask their District Union Representatives. They read Voice of Action and check our website, www.ufcw8.org, frequently.
If a manager seeks your opinion about the negotiations, respond with enthusiasm: “I stand with my Union 100 percent.”
Only your Union exists to serve your interests — and only your interests.