A message from Kim Cordova, Local 7 President
Last year was a very busy and challenging year with contracts expiring for all of the Colorado retail grocery workers, Kaiser Healthcare professionals, and our food processing plants Denver Processing and Pepcol/Darling. We were successful in negotiating industry leading, all gains contracts for all of our divisions because of a strong and organized movement to advance our Memberships’ agenda. Our pension funds and health fund remain healthy and benefits were improved. The negotiating committees did an outstanding job staying united and focused throughout the process. I am proud of the membership for their participation in answering our contract surveys, attending proposal meetings and casting their votes at ratification meetings.
Safeway and Albertsons closed twenty-two (22) stores throughout Colorado and Wyoming. The Safeway stores in Sheridan and Casper Wyoming were sold to Ridley’s Family Market. Safeway closed one (1) store in Grand Junction and eleven (11) in the metro area. Albertsons closed its only union store in Colorado Springs. I am happy to report that we worked very hard and helped most of the workers be placed in other existing stores. During contract negotiations, Safeway/Albertsons came to the table with very aggressive concessionary proposals. Despite the uncertainty of further store closures, the merger of the two companies and their unwarranted proposals, we were able to secure a good and fair contract for all.
King Soopers sold their meat plant to Denver Processing. I was able to secure an agreement with the new company to assume the existing contracts which expired in 2015. We entered negotiations and bargained a new four (4) year agreement. The company agreed to eliminate the unfair two-tier holiday language in its entirety requiring them to pay all of the pre 2005 holidays at time and a half. The new agreement includes improved vacation pay, personal days, grand jury pay, immigration leave, expedited arbitration, no nepotism language, a third (3rd) break after eight (8) hours of work, all discipline removed from every workers file, a new attendance policy and $1.20 hard money.
The King Soopers and City Market negotiating team held strong to secure statewide gains and were able to bring the City Market Deli, Starbucks, Cheese and Bakery workers up to the front range Denver pay scale for the first time in bargaining history. The company came after our Department Heads proposing to take them out of the Union, but we made it clear that there would be no labor peace or a contract without them. The company did agree to invest in the job classifications by increasing the starting wages as well as putting some real money into the wage progressions. We have never had a wage increase throughout the wage progressions. Historically, wage increases only went to the Journeymen rates which is why I believe that the companies struggle with turnover. The unfair two-tiered system is also a reason. We did improve the holiday, pension and sick leave/pay language for those hired after 2005.
Safeway/Albertsons closed stores in Pueblo and the metro area. We worked hard to get everyone placed in existing stores.
Mission Foods contract expired in March of this year. After three (3) strike votes the workers ratified a new three (3) year all gains contract. The new contract improvements include daily and mid-week to mid-week vacations, immigration leave, FMLA leave, and $1.00 hard money wage increases.
Wyoming retail contracts expired this year. We are close to working out a new agreement with Safeway, Albertsons and Smith Foods.
Our work is not done, we are preparing for 2019. UFCW Local 7 is committed to improving the lives of our 23,000 members and their families by fighting for better contracts, safer working environments, affordable health care, retirement benefits and the right to have their voices heard in the work place.
Kim C. Cordova
UFCW President, International Vice President