After seven months and more than 100 hours of negotiating, UE Local 255 ratified a new three-year contract in December. Management's initial economic proposals either included no wage increases for employees with five or more years seniority or required that employees give up a paid holiday in order to receive a seven-cent increase.
The local’s negotiating committee launched a public campaign calling for accountability on Hunger Mountain Co-op for their unjustified and unfair proposals. Local solidarity, community forums and a newspaper article contributed to the negotiating committee’s ability to hold strong and gain a contract we were comfortable presenting to our members for ratification.
Major gains include the maintenance of our premium-free healthcare, wage increases across the board for all employees, an extended, four-step grievance procedure, improved language to our health and safety article, advanced notification prior to any positions being filled, and strengthening our job-postings article to encourage internal hiring.
While we are happy to have the contract finally ratified, this experience has shown us that our focus now needs to be on diligently defending it through shop floor organizing, collective action, and addressing any contract violations through our grievance procedure.
The Local 255 negotiating committee consisted of President Autumn Martinez, Chief Steward Amelia Salata-Hartman, Vice President Emma Paradis, Recording Secretary Elizabeth Jesdale, Justin Stender, Tim Mosher, and Andrew Sullivan.