Steward Newsletter: Grocery, Meat & Retail

Adriana Calzada, a Seafood Steward at Fred Meyer, Speaks to reporters on the importance of passing national Paid Sick Leave legislation through Congress while flanked by U.S. Senator Patty Murray and Congresswoman Susan Delbene.


In November 2012, Washington state voters decriminalized recreational marijuana use.

The law voters enacted protects recreational users and state-licensed dispensaries from facing state prosecution. It does not provide protections for employees against drug testing and discipline resulting from a drug test. It also does not protect recreational marijuana users from federal charges, as marijuana is still illegal under federal law.

 While the state law does not shield recreational pot users from employer discipline, your union contract might. If you or a co-worker is required to take a drug test, please remember the following:

  • Marijuana leaves the body slowly. While there is still much scientific debate as to the specific length of time cannabis chemicals remain in the body, most experts agree they leave the body slowly. The National Drug Court Institute reports detectable levels of THC - the active chemical in cannabis products - can remain in a urine sample for 30 days or longer after initial use. Each time a person uses a cannabis product, the 30-day (or more) period starts again.
  • Employers can legally require that employees take a drug test as a condition of employment and can discipline them for failing one. Nothing in the law protects employees from drug test or discipline in the case of a failed drug test. However, some union contracts may protect against you taking one. You can view your contract here to see what it's drug testing policy is.
  • Contract language on drug tests varies. There is no "one-size-fits-all" rule for drug testing in our contracts. Each one is different. Many of our contracts have clauses dealing with drug testing; others do not. Some contracts prohibit drugs tests while others state that refusing one is can result in immediate termination. You can view your contract here to see what it's drug testing policy is.
  •  You have the right to contact Union Representation before a drug test! Drug tests can result in discipline. Consequently, you have the right to have union representation present at your test. If you or a co-worker are asked to take a drug test and are afraid you may not pass, contact your Union Representative immediately at 1.800.732.1188.
  • Our Union's Advice: If in doubt, request to speak with your Union Rep before you take the test. Because many of our contracts approach drug testing differently, our union recommends that employees who are asked to take a drug test request to speak with their Union Representative and then to comply with the drug test. Our union can file a grievance against discipline that results from a failed drug test. A grievance against a refusal to take drug test is much harder to win.

2015 Stewards Conference

Together we are building our union. Stewards are the workplace leaders that help make it happen. Our Stewards Conference is the largest event of the year for UFCW 21. Stewards gather to deepen relationships, meet new friends, build skills and learn from each other. Together, we’ll make 2015 the largest ever. 

Keynote Speaker: Chef Jeff Henderson

Award-winning chef, best selling author, and television host Chef Jeff Henderson shares the story of how he turned his life around with audiences across America to empower others by encouraging them to recognize their strengths. At our 2015 Stewards Conference, Chef Jeff will  discuss how our own stories can serve as powerful tools to help Stewards lead the way. 

Contact your Union Rep to reserve your space or take a moment to RSVP online now.


Whether it's during a bargain or during a shift, Stewards help members learn their rights and understand our contracts and our bargaining team's proposals. As some employers across the state turn to aggressive tactics to discourage us from participating in our union, that role has become more important than ever.

Our co-workers rely on us as a resource, especially during bargaining. Here are three easy ways you can help keep your co-workers informed during negotiations.

1.      Know Your Rep. Our Union Representatives work closely to support our Union Member Bargaining Team. If a member has a specific question, don't hesitate to reach out and ask your Rep. You can find out who your Rep is and view your contract here.

2.      Ask for Extras. Request a few extra bargaining updates from your Rep and put them on your Union Bulletin Board. You can view (and print) copies of your most recent Bargaining Update here.

3.      Check the Website. Our union's website has just been completely redesigned and is a great resource. You can learn your rights at work, get your Reps contact information or read the latest update. The new website is easier to read on your phone, so you can find the information you need more quickly.

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Always remember, Federal and State Laws - as well as our contracts - protect our right to participate in our union! Any attempt by Management to harass, intimidate or impede a person from participating in a reasonable union action is illegal.

While Management can answer questions about contracts and bargaining when employees ask, they cannot engage in coercion, threats, or surveillance of union-related activity.  While Management can meet with employees, they cannot ask them who supports or does not support the union.

If you see any behavior that raises your eyebrows, follow these three steps help stop it.

1.      Hear something? See something? Say something.  If you see or hear something from a co-worker about Management that doesn't seem right, contact your Union Representative as soon as possible. You can contact our union toll free at 1.800.732.1188.

2.      Ask questions. When a co-worker comes to you with a concern, ask questions and gather as much information as possible. It's important to know the Five Ws: WhoWhatWhereWhen and Why. You can get a copy of our union's Grievance Investigation Worksheet here.

3.      Write it down to get it right. Evidence is everything. Anytime you have a concern, write down everything you can (the Five Ws) and give it to your Rep. Having a clear record  is critical to making our case later.


Starting soon, QFC stores will begin transitioning to a new time clock. These new devices will use a fingerprint scan - or "biometric scan" - instead of a traditional timecard or employee code to clock employees in and out. 

Many members have raised privacy concerns about the transition to this new technology. Consequently, our Union put forward an Information Request to determine any impact the new system would have on employee privacy. Here's what you need to know:

  • No fingerprints or images of fingerprints will be stored or kept by the employer or the time clock company. The new time clocks do not use images of an employee's fingerprint to identify a match. Instead, they  create a "mathematical map" of a user's fingerprint, represented by computer code. According to the manufacturer, this code cannot be used to recreate an image or "print" of a user's fingerprint.
  • Employees' will not need to use their whole finger print. Employees will not have their whole finger scanned. According to the clock manufacturer only 3/4 of an inch will be used to clock an employee in and out of a shift.
  • Management will not have access to fingerprint information. In addition to the privacy protections provided by the encoded mathematical maps, Management will not have access to fingerprint mathematical maps created by the device. These maps will be stored only in the time clock. The information in the clocks will be permanently deleted if an employee leaves their job or is terminated. Once deleted, the mathematical maps cannot be recovered.

Our union is committed to protecting our privacy. Contact your Rep if you have any questions or concerns. 

UFCW 21 Summer Picnics

Join co-workers and colleagues and celebrate all that summer has to offer! Our union's annual picnic promises great food, great company and great memories for you and your family. Click here to find the location and date of the picnic nearest you.