Presidents Report - Summer 2022
Achievements worth celebrating
In this issue of Desert Edge, we celebrate the historic advancements contained in the supermarket contracts that were ratified recently by our members.
Negotiating these agreements wasn’t easy. When bargaining began last
December, the two sides were far apart, with the employers offering meager
improvements in wages. On top of that, some of the chains acted in ways that compelled us to come to the members and ask for authorization to call an
Unfair Labor Practices strike, should that step become necessary to reach a fair contract.
Fortunately, a strike was not necessary, as the employers backed down and began negotiating in earnest.
Throughout the process, the members of Local 1167 and our six allied UFCW unions in Southern California kept up the pressure by showing up at rallies, circulating petitions and speaking up on social media. In the final stretch, we bargained for weeks and many hours straight with the supermarket companies to bring an acceptable deal to the membership.
Perhaps “acceptable” is an understatement. I’ve been a member of this local union since 1985 and I’ve never seen wage increases like those we’ve achieved in these contracts. For some of our members, these increases add up to 27% over the course of three years. To provide perspective, in some years we were happy to get 1 or 2%.
This year, we went after dollars in wage improvements, not cents, because you deserved it through your dedication and sacrifice. Everyone in the community knew it. The employers knew it too, though we had to remind them several times.
Here are some other highlights of what we were able to achieve:
- All health care and pension benefits are intact and protected.
- We are bridging the wage gaps between GM Clerks and Food Clerks.
- We negotiated a pay boost of 95 cents for Clerk’s Helpers at Albertson’s Ralphs and Vons. (We’ve never seen anything like that before.)
- Beyond the overall wage increases, the new contracts shorten the wage progression steps, which means it takes less time to get to the top pay rates. In fact, it takes 1,400 fewer hours of work at Albertsons and Vons to reach the top wage. At Staters Bros., it takes 2,800 fewer hours to get to the top rate of pay.
- We’ve brought those hired after 2003-2004 closer to members who were hired prior to the strike and lockout. We will work toward closing what remains of the gap in our next round of negotiations.
- The eligibility requirements for benefits haven’t changed, even though we were able to increase the contractual minimum guarantee of work to 28 hours for all GM and Food Clerks.
- We fixed holidays for those hired after 2003-2004.
- This is the first time in 20 years we’ve seen major improvements in vision and dental benefits for all plan levels. Our covered members now have a $2,000 dental benefit allowance per year and a $200 vision benefit per year. And, if those dental and vision benefits are not used, up to half can be rolled over into the following year.
- Courtesy Clerks now can sign up for their benefits after 12 months of employment, as opposed to 18 months in the previous contract.
- We achieved a wage increase for some of our Food 4 Less members amounting up to $1.45 in June 2022, plus an additional $.45 in June 2023.
- The new contracts reflect a stronger commitment to protecting the safety of our members on the job.
- There were no takeaways. None!
The improvements we made at the bargaining table bring the membership closer together, adding strength to our union, and raising the bar for future contracts.
All this was possible because of the courage and commitment of our members over the past two years.
You made it known that this contract had to be about fairness for essential workers. And you succeeded.
UFCW LOCAl 1167 President
(909) 877-5000 ext 150