Victory for Grocery Workers

Grocery workers in Greenfield and Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts have a tentative first union contract. Soon, all the workers will vote on whether to accept the contract, which has been accepted by the management of Green Fields Market and McCusker's Market. It was negotiated by a committee that was elected by the workers, and by management. “The contract includes raises and better benefits,” John Cevasco told the Valley Post. He has worked as a stock clerk at Green Fields Market for more than 15 years.

About 75 people work at the two stores.

"A ratification vote is expected within two weeks," union official Jeff Jones told the Valley Post on February 14. The workers chose to join his union, which has a web site: www.ufcw1459.org.

Negotiations for a first union contract at the Brattleboro Food Co-op are on-going, Jones said. About 160 people work there.

About 85 workers at the food co-op in Northampton, the River Valley Market, approved their first union contract last summer. The Brattleboro, Greenfield, Shelburne Falls, and Northampton co-op workers all joined the same union.

In recent decades, the richest Americans have gotten richer, while the middle class has gotten smaller and the ranks of the poor have swelled. Union workers in the U.S. make about 29 percent more money than non-union workers. That’s around $9,300 a year extra for the average worker who joins a union. For Latino workers, the union advantage is about 50 percent; for black workers, approximately 31 percent. This data is from www.bls.gov.

Millions of workers in the U.S. are union members, including workers at Stop and Shop and UPS. Non-union workers can be fired at any time for no reason. Workers who belong to a union can only be fired for just cause.

More information about unions in the Valley is at:

www.ValleyPost.org/node/134

More information about co-ops in the Valley is at:

www.ValleyPost.org/2009/03/27/local-food-co-ops-hear-activists

Comments

On February 25, the UFCW

On February 25, the UFCW Bargaining Unit of Franklin Community Co-op voted by an almost 3-1 margin for our first 2-year contract!!!

-John Cevasco

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