THIS ARTICLE IS FEATURED IN THE UFCW 21 SPRING NEWSLETTER
BEYOND THE COMFORT ZONE
Sam Chase, a worker at the Renton Haggen, was nervous before she stood up to testify in front of state lawmakers. She’d never done that before. While she’s been a Steward at her store, she had never taken on an active speaking role in a more public way. But after she took the leap and testified for paid sick leave and a higher minimum wage she felt great and decided to continue her activist work. She joined our leaflet actions at IKEA in Renton and went into the Downtown Macy’s store during our 4/15 action to stand with Macy’s workers’ fight for a fair contract.
STEWARDS IN ACTION LEAD THE WAY
After four Stewards from the Ballard Fred Meyer store came to the last Steward Conference they were pumped up. So Todd Heuer and Carol Graves (both General Merchandise), Vinod Goswami (CCK) and Benjamin Helvie (Home Electronics) decided they could keep up the energy by holding their own store’s Contract Action Team meeting. Since the fall, these four have held two such meetings and are planning a third one for June. Even though contract negotiations don’t start until 2016, they are starting to get phone trees ready and are reaching out to get a Steward in each department in the store. They want all their co-workers to know that General Merchandise can stand up and fight alongside Grocery and Meat.
When two Downtown Seattle Macy’s workers were sent home after working their shift, others who are not allowed to replace our member’s work, continued on with their shift. These happened to be Teamsters workers from a different floor in the same store who operate under a different contract. The two UFCW 21 members, Jean Retel and Fabiola Vesquez filed a grievance. After a long effort, our union was able to win the 5 hours of back pay for Jean and Fabiola. Teamsters, in a great show of solidarity, provided a statement of support in our grievance process. Reading the contract closely, knowing your rights, and then standing up for the rights in our contracts are all necessary steps to protecting our hours and getting paid correctly.
NEW STEWARD LEADERS MAKE THE DIFFERENCE
Macelino Corona is a great example of how UFCW 21 members are growing our union and making their workplaces better. He works at the Draper Chicken Distribution Plant and, like many of his co-workers, speaks Spanish as his first language. It is wonderful to have his leadership in our union where he has been on the Draper Bargaining Team and sits in on Weingarten meetings. He attended his first Steward Conference last year and most recently joined our Executive Board in February 2015. With more leaders like Macelino, we are building a movement for the 21st Century.
PROVIDENCE NURSES’ COURAGE & ACTION IMPROVES HOSPITAL FOR WORKERS AND PATIENTS
On April 29, after months of tough negotiations and actions, including a huge Informational Picket, Nurses at Providence Everett overwhelmingly ratified a new contract. Matthew Skews, a Providence Nurse and UFCW 21 member said, “We came into these negotiations hoping to improve our workplace for ourselves and our patients. I’m thrilled that so many Nurses, with support from our community, stood together and we were able to succeed in this goal. Now we need to stay active to make this contract deliver what it should for ourselves and our patients.” Thank you to the community for their tremendous support during this campaign.