After reviewing and discussing a tentative agreement at ratification meetings on Monday, March 12, UE Local 667 members voted overwhelmingly to approve a new three-year agreement with the East End Food Co-op that will raise wages, lower members’ share of health insurance premiums, and protect the use of legally prescribed medical marijuana.
“This contract was our second contract negotiation and the second time I served on our contract negotiation committee,” said Local 667 President Megan Moffitt. “It was inspiring to see my fellow committee members (especially newer members) work hard on behalf of the members of our young local.”
The new agreement will implement a new step pay plan that increases wages at each step while decreasing the time it takes to get to the top of each pay level from ten years to eight years. The average wage increase over the length of the contract will be more than 13 percent. The members' share of premiums for medical and vision insurance decreases from 70/30 to 80/20. Premiums for dental insurance decreases from 65/35 to 80/20.
In addition, the Counter and Dishwasher/Prep positions in the cafe are being reclassified from Level 1 to Level 2 positions. The Cheese Buyer position is also being reclassified from Level 2 to Level 4. The agreement includes a new donation pool for paid time off. The agreement also makes numerous improvements to other articles in the contract, including emergency closings, discipline and discharge, union leave, trial periods and schedules. And in a first for a UE contract, the use of legally prescribed medical marijuana will not be just cause for discipline or discharge.
Throughout the negotiations, the local’s negotiating committee insisted on “open negotiations,” where any member of the local could attend and voice their concerns over management proposals or to support their negotiating committee’s proposals. The local’s members received regular updates on the negotiations through one-on-one contacts with contract support committee members and posts on the local’s Facebook page. The members also wore large red buttons with the local’s contract negotiations slogan: “Fighting for Good Jobs with Livable Wages!”
The negotiating committee included Moffitt, Vice President Reid Magette, Chief Steward Jared Evanoski, and rank-and-file members Nate Feuerstein and Drew Cox. They were assisted by UE Field Organizer Lyndsey O’Day, UE International Representative John Thompson and UE Research Director Karl Zimmerman.