On Wednesday, elected members of D.C, Prince George`s County and Montgomery County joined Montgomery County union members at a rally outside a Safeway in southwest .C. Next month, members of the Giant Food union will decide whether to accept the deal and Safeway employees will vote on whether to allow a strike. LANDOVER, Md., February 19, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Giant Food is pleased to have reached a preliminary agreement with UFCW Locals 400 and 27. Together with the union, we have improved the compensation and performance of our employees – particularly the protection of health care and retirement – while ensuring the viability of our business and the jobs it provides to our 16,500 union employees. More details will be released in the coming weeks. The union, which represents thousands of Giant and Safeway employees in the region, reached a preliminary contract agreement with Giant late Tuesday night after more than five months of negotiations. Marc Federici, president of UFCW Local 400, said Wednesday that union members will meet on March 5 to vote on the agreement. “I spent 37 years working hard in this company,” said Bill Osborn, who works at Giant in La Plata, Md. “It took six months of hard work to ensure the retirement we earn. This is the power of our Union if we all act together. The union had said that the grocer refused to fully fund the pensions, but the company had stated that it had offered to meet the pension obligations. In April 2019, 31,000 unionized stop-shop employees in New England went on strike to protest planned health care cuts and takeaway pay. After 11 days, UFCW and UNFI`s Stop-Shop reached an agreement.
A few months later, in Southern California, Vons, Ralphs and Albertson also failed to meet UFCW`s contract expectations. The workers then met in August and reached an agreement in September. Our solidarity worked and we reached an interim agreement that saves our health care! So far, one of the main stumbling blocks in negotiations with Safeway has been the company`s significant commitment to retirement. The Safeway and Giant employee pension fund is heading for insolvency, and the union wants Safeway to guarantee workers` pensions if the fund can no longer cover them. Talk to your Steward or trade union representative shop or fill out our online form to ask for a copy: without the unity, solidarity and strength of our members, this would not have been done. When Kroger threatened to put our health care at risk, we were strong and proved that we were ready to fight for what we deserve. While no treaty is perfect, our credible threat of strike action has led us to a fair agreement and we are prepared to recommend it for ratification. The collective agreement will enter into force retroactively on October 27, 2019 and expire on October 28, 2023. Regarding negotiations with Safeway, Federici said they are expected to resume next week and the union hopes for “further opportunities” to meet Safeway by March 5.