Nearly 14,000 UFCW Local 400 members who work at more than 200 Safeway and Giant stores in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia ratified new contracts on Nov. 16. Both three-year contracts include higher starting pay, wage progression improvements, no cost increases to employee health insurance, and a plan to secure pensions.
For the past 40 years, Giant and Safeway have jointly negotiated union contracts with UFCW Local 400; but this year, the companies negotiated separately. While the companies were more divided than ever, UFCW Local 400 members who work at Safeway and Giant stuck together and participated in store actions and engaged with customers and community members for a better contract.
“We came into this bargaining with specific goals,” said Mark Federici, president of UFCW Local 400. “One was to get rid of the hour-based pay scale system and get members more money faster than the previous system. We did that. A second goal was maintaining our health and welfare coverage, and we did that. A third goal was to protect and strengthen our pension fund, and we did that.”
“Bargaining is never easy,” Federici added. “This was especially demanding due to the logistical challenges imposed by the separation of the two companies. We had to address the complexity of ensuring that our pension funds are secure and maintaining our members’ health coverage. We told management we’ve done enough. We wanted to change the hour system to monthly and we succeeded.”