We are now a union with over 46,000 members, the largest UFCW local in the nation. Together, members and the community have shown that we can protect our benefits, improve our wages, and achieve stronger contracts. In the end, every hard-working man and woman has earned the right to a higher wage, better benefits, and a schedule allowing better control of their lives.
In September 2015, over 500 UFCW 21 member leaders gathered for our best Steward Conference ever. Taking a day off work, they came together for an entire day, inspiring one another and learning how we are building a union to make our lives better.
New Stewards Making a Difference
About half the members attending the Steward Conference were new Stewards. Regardless of whom they are or where they work, or live, our new Stewards want to do more to make our union stronger. Now we are closer to our goal of having a trained Steward at every worksite, for every shift, for every day of the week.
Advanced Stewards Get Special Training
The other half of the attendees were already Stewards and advanced their skills on important topics. One section receiving high marks was the advanced Weingarten training. These Stewards are now trained to act as a union representative in the work place, if a co-worker is asked by Management to attend a meeting that could lead to discipline. With more newly-trained Stewards to help exercise this right, we can all experience one of the most basic values of being part of a union – that no one should struggle alone or be afraid.
Grocery Store Negotiations on the Horizon
Another part of the Steward Conference focused on preparing for a successful contract negotiation for the 50% of our members who work in grocery stores across the region. Again, we will join in negotiations with UFCW 367 and Teamsters 38. In 2010 with thousands of members standing together in our three unions, our families and our communities were able to hold the line against attempts by the employers to weaken our contracts. In 2013, we had no takeaways while making modest improvements. But that is not enough. Still, too many of our members have low wages and erratic work schedules that make it impossible to support a family, go to school, or spend time with the ones they love. This is wrong and needs to improve.
Steward Awards Shine Light on Heroes in the Workplace
Having a person to go to with a question or problem can make all the difference. Our union has far more heroes than can be recognized, but that won’t stop us from recognizing some of the best. Check out the Steward Awards section to learn more, including a special “Rising Together Award” presented to all members of the successful MultiCare Negotiations Team.