On Friday, October 15th, more than five hundred UFCW Local 152 members at The Kraft Heinz Company in Dover, Delaware stood together to ratify a new union contract!
COVID-19 has had a major effect on life as we knew it, including in the world of food production. We often hear that grocery workers were slammed by an unprecedented onslaught of customers in 2020; similarly, in food production, many — like our Kraft Heinz members — have been working around the clock, seven days a week for more than eighteen months to meet skyrocketing consumer demand. With more consumers eating at home, our members were forced to incredibly long hours.
The consistent mandated overtime has been difficult for our members to maintain a work-life balance. The new contract not only reduces the amount of forced overtime, but will introduce a brand new Work-Life Balance Committee. This team will be created to improve our members’ work-life balance by addressing overtime practices and scheduling issues. The goal is to work collaboratively with Kraft Heinz to improve our members’ work-life balance by addressing overtime practices, scheduling issues, and other factors that lead to longer hours like staffing and training.
All members will receive an across-the-board wage increase over the life of the four-year contract. Certain classifications will also receive additional increases to address market adjustments and increased responsibilities. Some members will now receive double time after working 12 hours per day and/or 60 hours in a workweek or if they volunteer to work seven consecutive days.
The preservation of existing Health and Welfare benefits was a necessity for the membership. Through hard bargaining this was achieved, giving our members the peace of mind that good health benefits provide.
Union Representatives are now granted time to formally meet new hires and teach them about UFCW Local 152. Many new members have never worked in a union position before and do not understand the benefits of their contract and what union representation means. This will be a wonderful opportunity to teach new members about the union difference.
Finally, the new contract gives members the opportunity to voluntarily donate money to the Bryan D. Ross Foundation directly from their weekly pay. The Bryan D. Ross Foundation is UFCW Local 152’s charity organization which directly assists members of our own union family suffering from financial hardship due to catastrophic illness or injuries.
Congratulations to our Negotiating Committee, which consisted of Director of Collective Bargaining Dan Ross, Assistant Director of Collective Bargaining Lisa Sanders, Lead Counsel Mark Belland, Chief Steward John Candileri, and Shop Stewards Jim Remondi, Ron Miller, Frank Watson, Aneshia Griffin, Rodney Doughty, Major Parker, and Kim Randall.
UFCW Local 152 proudly represents over 500 members at Kraft Heinz in Dover, Delaware. Our members work primarily in production and maintenance, helping to produce some of America’s favorite products like Kool-Aid, Jell-O, Crystal Light, Shake ‘N Bake, and more.
Below are additional photos of members voting at the ratification meeting on October 15, 2021.