Electric Eggplant #15: We Have A Contract! And COVID-19 Update

March 18, 2020

We Have a Contract!

Thank you to everyone who made it to the contract ratification vote on Monday. The tentative agreement was ratified overwhelmingly and our first union contract is now in effect! This contract gives us a solid foundation going forward, and we thank everyone who got involved and made their voices heard during this process. It was truly a collective effort! A copy of the tentative agreement can be downloaded here.

Temporary Agreement on COVID-19 Issues

The bargaining committee met with Brian’s and Anya in Monday to discuss how the Covid-19 situation is affecting staff and the stores. Below is the full text of the agreement both parties signed on Tuesday:


Temporary Agreement Regarding COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

Reduced operational hours

The stores will reduce operational hours open to the public to 10 am - 8 pm. Reduced operational hours will not reduce hours scheduled to work at this time. During additional hours open, but not open to the public, staff will support stocking, cleaning, sanitizing, and cross-training.


Immediate cross-training into critical skilled areas will commence. This will allow areas with jobs requiring lower skill (stocking) to be filled quickly.

Reassignment to other sites

Some employees may need to be reassigned to other sites if their site is unable to remain open due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The parties will discuss accommodations for employees unable to work at another site due to transportation issues.

Bargaining Unit Administrative Staff

BU Admin Staff will work from home on a non-precedent setting basis.

Outside temporary employees

In the event that, due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, there are not enough bargaining unit employees available to keep the stores open, WSGC may hire employees from an outside temporary staffing service on a non-precedent setting basis. These workers will be limited to stocking and will not work at the Co-op for more than 29 days. At the point that WSGC determines that temp workers are to be utilized, it will notify the Union.

Suspension of Hours of Work Requirements

During the period of this agreement, on a non-precedent setting basis, the parties agree that Section 4 of the Hours Of Work And Work Schedules article of the current CBA will be unenforceable. This is done to provide the necessary flexibility during this emergency period. In place of Section 4, management will maintain a Volunteer List of employees willing to work extra hours when needed.

Absences caused by the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

Any employee who cannot work their scheduled shifts because of an issue related to the COVID-19 outbreak will not be penalized under the attendance policy. Employees will be paid for their regularly scheduled shifts during the time they are absent for COVID-19 related absences in accordance with any legislation published, but not less than the proposed rates of articulated in the US House proposal on March 16th, 2020 for 100% for 14 days of Emergency Sick Leave and 66% beyond the 14 Emergency Sick Leave days as Emergency Family and Medical Leave. Hours remaining on employees’ sick leave bank will not be applied to such COVID-19 absences, or will be replenished if applied prior to this agreement. This will apply retroactively to March 1st 2020 to any employee who has had to miss work due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Reasonable verification of the absences relationship to COVID-19 may be requested, but absent verification, will be assumed as valid upon receipt until public health agencies can provide adequate support for testing and further discussion upon any renewal of this agreement.

Health Insurance Status

Full-time employees who are temporarily reduced by WSGC in their scheduled hour to less than 30 hours per week during this period due to unavailability of work will maintain their full-time health insurance status. All employees missing work due to COVID-19 related Sick leave or Emergency Family and Medical leave will maintain their health insurance status.

Social Distancing

WSGC will establish social distancing requirements at the stores, such as occupancy tracking and management. These will be tasks assigned to members of the bargaining unit.

Scope of Agreement

This agreement will be in effect for 30 days. The parties may renew this agreement at that time by mutual consent. In addition, the parties will consider necessary changes to the agreement as the COVID-19 public health emergency progresses.