Around 300 workers at Denver Processing, a meatpacking facility owned by Ledbetter Foods, have voted overwhelmingly to approve a new four-year contract with their employer. The workers are members of UFCW Local 7, one of Colorado’s largest private sector unions. The contract includes real improvements in their workplace – including wage increases, improved working conditions, family-friendly benefit improvements and continued union security and stability.
“When workers across the country are being forced to accept less, workers at Denver Processing have been able to stand together for real improvements at their workplace,” said Kim Cordova, president of UFCW Local 7. “It’s a testament to the power of united workers and a union voice that their jobs are getting better while so many others have jobs that are getting worse.”
Workers took on issues both big and small through the negotiating process. While negotiations were headlined by a fight for family-supporting wages and benefits, they also were able to make work rule changes allowing them to get the equipment they need and form a safety committee to make sure none of their coworkers gets hurt at work.
“We want to do our job efficiently and safely so our company can succeed,” said Richard Garcia, a five year veteran of the plant, “but we also want to support our families. Our new contract ensures that we can do both and I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved.”
Workers at the plant process meat from carcasses into the consumer-ready products that you see on the shelves of your neighborhood grocery store. They used to be employees of Kroger, until their plant was sold to Ledbetter Foods. Now that they’ve achieved a better contract, they’re focusing on supporting their former coworkers at Kroger who are still negotiating for their improvements.
More than 17,000 Kroger (King Soopers and City Market), Safeway and Albertson’s who are members of Local 7 have been simultaneously negotiating their contract. Their contracts also expire September 12, and negotiations continue this week.