Grocery Store Workers Contract Negotiations Update

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Community: “We’re United in Support of Grocery Store Workers”

We spent all day today in negotiations between our member bargaining team and the employer representatives, exchanging proposals on workplace issues like scheduling, safety and bereavement leave. We made progress on bereavement reform that we have been attempting to fix for many contracts. And we were also able to have conversations with Kroger about long-term fixes to our pension.

On the eve of our March 29th negotiations dozens of community organizations, elected officials and other labor organizations came out to show their support for a strong grocery store workers contract. Evening events were held simultaneously in Seattle, Mount Vernon and Silverdale with our bargaining team members briefing these partners on the top issues we will be working to address in negotiations.

More Pressure Needed to Make Necessary Progress

At this stage of negotiations, it is critically important that we increase the level of activism around our region from all of our stores. More and more members have been attending our Contract Action Team Meetings and if you have not been able to attend one near you, please consider coming out to a meeting in April.

These meetings are where we plan our large-scale, store level actions like the breaks actions that will be taking place in the coming month. Keep a look out for materials promoting the actions in the near future. Widespread, collective action by thousands of members in the stores is what drives progress in our negotiations to solve problems around scheduling, staffing, workplace safety and our many other issues.

Next Bargaining Dates: April, 18 and 19


LOURDES NURSES MISSED BREAKS LEGAL UPDATE:

GREAT NEWS SETTLEMENT CHECKS COMING FOR MISSED WORK BETWEEN –6/25/09 – 3/10/13

Millions of dollars worth checks are to be mailed as soon as today to RNs from Lourdes who missed breaks between June of 2009 and Mach of 2013.

BACKGROUND

In June 2012, four Registered Nurses filed a lawsuit claiming that Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital failed to ensure nurses could take rest and meal breaks, and record missed breaks as hours worked in violation of Washington law.  Their employer denied it did anything wrong and aggressively defended the lawsuit.  On March 10, 2013, the Hospital revised its breaks policy.  The nurse Plaintiffs amended their lawsuit to cover a period of time from June 25, 2009 through the Hospital’s policy change on March 10, 2013.

After a lengthy legal battle supported by UFCW 21, including a successful appeal to the Washington State Supreme Court, the four nurses’ lawsuit was certified as a class action.  The class representatives negotiated a settlement with the Defendants that included a $5,000,000 common fund to be used for expenses, costs, administrative fees, attorneys fees, and to be divided between RN’s based on hours worked between June 25, 2009 and March 10, 2013.  The settlement was reviewed by the judge and signed as an order on March 1, 2019. 

When workers have a union, it allows for us to take action together. In this case, four nurses took action together to protect their rights to meal and real breaks. And then we won the ability for all the nurses in question to have a right to join together in a class action lawsuit. This is a wonderful victory to right a wrong that started nearly a decade ago. And we hope it will send a message to all employers across the state that they need to follow the law and provide meal and rest breaks for their employees.