William Castro, who is a member of UFCW Local 663 and works at Tony Downs Foods in Madelia, Minn., recently ratified a new contract that provides higher wages, better health benefits, a more secure retirement plan, and worker protections for more than 300 food processing employees.
“I’m happy for the raises we were able to get as a union,” Castro said. “I’ve worked nonunion jobs before and have come back to Tony Downs because it’s a union company that supports the community with good jobs.”
Nicole Lee, who is member of UFCW Local 1996, works at Pilgrim’s Pride in Sumter, S.C., ratified a first union contract on June 23 that includes wage increases and other workplace improvements.
“Organizing with UFCW Local 1996 at our plant is the best thing that has happened to our work environment since I’ve worked here, and I’m happy to have been a part of the organizing campaign since the beginning,” she said. “Our contract gets us a pay increase; but more importantly, it gets us the respect, dignity and fairness at work that we so badly needed. It has been so positive for our work environment that we have even seen reduced turnover and a general morale boost at the plant.”
Nicole, who works at Stop & Shop, was one of 31,000 UFCW members in New England who won strong new contracts following a historic 11-day walkout in April to protest cuts to health care, take-home pay, and other benefits. The new agreements, which were ratified on April 24 through May 1, preserve health care and retirement benefits, provide wage increases, and maintain time-and-a-half pay on Sunday for current members.
“It’s exciting to be back to normal, but it’s also exciting to know how much our community cares about good jobs,” said Nicole. “We’re all a lot stronger now.”
Here are the negotiating articles that appeared in OnPoint this year: