As seen in the Unity: Fall 2019 – President’s Report. See past copies of the Unity here.
The contract negotiated between Local 152 and your employer is probably the most important document in your working life.
Also known as a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), it guarantees your wages and benefits and outlines the conditions under which you’ll work. Overtime, job protections, seniority rights, vacations — they’re all covered in your contract.
It’s an empowering, legally binding document, the result of months of work by dozens of union leaders, staff members, and advisers, with the united support of thousands of union members.
UFCW Local 152 member Tom Noll, who works at Johanna Foods, appreciates the power of a union contract. When he filed a grievance for unpaid wages on behalf of 12 members at his workplace, he knew that the union would fight with him to enforce the contract.
Our UFCW brothers and sisters in other local unions across the country enjoy similar protections. Last month a 20-year member at a grocery store in Virginia won back her job and more than $30,000 in back pay following an unjust suspension.
The true power of a CBA is revealed when it’s enforced, and this requires a team effort. Members and stewards need to be knowledgeable about their contracts so they can spot mistakes and wrongdoing by management, and union representatives and the union’s legal team are called upon to fight on behalf of members when contract violations have been verified.
Through this collective effort, wrongly fired members are returned to their jobs, improper scheduling is corrected, safety violations are remedied, and — in the case of the Johanna Foods members and others — money is put back into the pockets of union members.
Restored wages are one of the many benefits of a strong contract, but there’s one benefit that you can’t put a price on: your ability to work with dignity.
Dignity is something everyone deserves to have on the job. It means you are respected and valued. It means your rights can’t be taken away, your safety can’t be ignored, and your contributions are recognized.
Your union contract makes it all possible.
— President Brian String