Don’t Let Someone Else Decide Your Future
A message from Kim Cordova, Local 7 President
Members working at Safeway in Colorado and Wyoming and members at King Soopers, City Market, Albertsons LLC and Smith Foods overwhelmingly ratified a two-year extension of their contracts by over 97 percent.
The new extension required employers to put approximately $12.5 million of new money into our health fund immediately. The employers will also pay higher monthly contributions into the Health and Welfare trust funds through 2015. As you are aware, there were motions by your employers to cut your health benefits by 37%, including tripling your weekly premiums. Your vision and dental benefits were also at risk. With the $12.5 million coming in, increased employer contributions and a new extension agreement, we were able to avoid catastrophic benefit cuts and secure your pension.
I am very proud and pleased to report that both the meat and retail clerks pension funds are certified green. Both funds were certified as critical and in the red zone prior to me taking over as your president. Hard money raises for 2012, 2013, and 2014 were also secured. Other retail union workers all over the country have settled new contracts with either wage freezes or lump sum bonuses.
This extension of our contracts will put us in a stronger bargaining position in 2015. You can bet your employers would have come to the bargaining table in 2013 with concessionary demands, using the struggling economy, the expansion of Walmart stores in Colorado, and the critical situation of our health plan as excuses.
Now we will be able to build up our reserves for our health plan with the help of new money and with the new awareness our participants have of how quickly we can be right back in this situation again. Please find the attached a list of recommendations to help save the health plan money.
Together we must prepare for 2015 negotiations. There is a lot to be done. In order to address our members’ concerns over the unfairness of two-tier, work load, temporary advancement (CC’s checking), expedited arbitration, affordable healthcare, and our Golden Rule of 80 at the age of 50 back, and so on, members need to get involved and participate in the process.
I have been a Local 7 member for 27 years. A union steward, a union representative and an organizer prior to being union president. I remember the days when members packed and filled the coliseum and voting venues. Unfortunately, the last few contract vote turnouts were pathetic. Thirteen percent of our members voted in 2009 and the numbers were thes same this year on the extension offer. That means that 87% of our membership doesn’t care enough about affordable healthcare, pension, two tier, etc. We can bargain for much more if we stand strong and united.
I urge every member to get involved. Read your union mail. Come to meetings. Most importantly, vote on your contracts. Do not let someone else decide your future. Let’s stand together and take back what we have lost throughout the years!
The Walmart Impact: Local 7’s Plan to Defend Your Paycheck, Jobs and Hours
A message from Kim Cordova, Local 7 President
We’ve heard it a thousand times. Your company repeats it like a mantra—Walmart, they tell us, is the reason the company has to cut healthcare, wages and hours.
At the same time, the employer is aware that Local 7 is determined to protect our membership—and your union will continue to push back against excessive demands of the company.
You should know that recently we were on the brink of having our negotiated healthcare benefits slashed to the point of being unrecognizable. This at a time when many UFCW Locals and workers across the country have been forced to take deep cuts in their healthcare benefits and pensions. I am pleased to inform you that Local 7 members weathered the storm caused by rising healthcare costs and a poor economy. Our member’s benefits have been preserved. We also negotiated hard money pay raises and secured and maintained your pensions.
Solidarity, an effective strategy and a strong negotiating team made this possible
Now, we have to begin preparing for negotiations in 2015. And once again Walmart will continue to be used by King Soopers, Safeway, Albertsons and City Market as a justification to drive our standards down. But your Union Local 7, is not sitting idly by as an unprecedented 22 new Walmarts are planned to open in Colorado this year. Five Walmart Neighborhood Markets have already opened. Your Union is aggressively confronting the Walmart challenge. We are pursuing an innovative strategy to protect our members’ jobs and livelihood.
Raining on Walmart’s Parade
You should know that every time a new Walmart opens, their “Grand Opening” is and will continue to be met with a variety of tactics including saturation leafleting of the surrounding communities, placards, and picketing at targeted stores. We’ve done price comparisons that inform shoppers that Walmart’s low wages don’t equal lower prices. Local 7 has an ongoing Customer Support Campaign at union stores thanking customers for supporting grocery workers who are Local 7 members.
Local 7 is generating positive news coverage that is getting our message out that Colorado can’t afford Walmart’s poverty level jobs that are subsidized by the American taxpayer.
Local 7’s Walmart action plan was also highlighted in the national Making Change at Walmart newsletter (www.makingchangeatwalmart.org).
Walmart Associates Getting Involved!
Let me also share with you an exciting development in the campaign. Walmart Associates here and around the country have formed their own organization called OUR WALMART (Organization United for Respect at Walmart) and that organization is growing in Colorado and around the country (www.ForRespect.org).
Additionally, Local 7 is building neighborhood coalitions to stop or slow the expansion of Walmart SuperCenters. Currently, we are in the middle of three “site fights”—one in Boulder, one in Denver at 9th and Colorado Boulevard and one in Cheyenne, Wyoming. I am proud of the fact that when there is opposition to Walmart expansion, community and neighborhood groups contact UFCW Local 7 for the organizational skills and experience we bring to the table.
Our goal is to halt the race to the bottom—led by nonunion companies like Walmart.
We can reverse this trend. We can move forward. When we stand together, with one voice, we are a force to be reckoned with.
Now is the time to join together for respect, dignity, decent wages, affordable healthcare and retirement security for all retail grocery workers.
We can only do this with your involvement, because it is you, the Local 7 member who is the source of our power and influence.
I urge you to decide that this is the time to get involved in your Union and to stand together for our values.
Let’s work together for good jobs and dignity and respect for all retail grocery workers.
Join With Me For A New Beginning
A message from Kim Cordova, Local 7 President
I am honored and proud to serve as your president of the new UFCW Local 7. You voted for change and you voted for a new direction for our Union. I intend to meet that challenge and mandate.
Since elected, we have made important reforms. This includes putting an end to nepotism in hiring practices, and implementing strict financial safeguards, and accountability. I am committed to running a democratic Union, with the goal of maximizing the role of our members.
Your Executive Board is now comprised of all Local 7 members and the contracts negotiated with the companies are led by member negotiating committees and require approval by a membership vote.
In the last 11 months, your new leadership team has negotiated 94 contracts. Despite recessionary times, these were not concessionary contracts!
All of these contracts were unanimously recommended and supported by the membership.
When we took office, the grievance machinery was bogged down with 7000 grievances. That’s not good for anyone. At the JBS packinghouse there were more than 5000 grievances unsettled.
That’s not good for anyone—especially our members waiting for justice. In less than 1 year 3457 grievances were resolved fairly, in the best interest of our members.
To meet the needs of our members, we need to get back to trade union basics. We need a revival of worker bargaining power. We need a renewed focus on organizing the unorganized in our core industries. We need to rebuild our relationships with the rest of the labor movement and our allies in the community, and we need to communicate our message more clearly and consistently to our members and the public. We need to do it because it’s the only way to regain some of the ground we’ve lost over the years; to maintain affordable healthcare, and challenge the inequities of two-tier
in some of our workplaces.
I’m also a believer in the wisdom, intelligence and common sense of our members. That’s why since January 2010, I’ve been on a listening
tour—walking stores, plants and workplaces.
Every day that I walk, talk and listen, I am learning more about your needs and concerns.
As members, you play the most important role in Local 7—because nothing happens without you.
- I invite you to join with me and your new leadership team in rebuilding the Union.
- It’s time to stand together.
- We are one Union – one voice!