UFCW 655 organizes first union store in Farmington; union wages, benefits, protections to 120 workers

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FARMINGTON, MO – The new Schnucks store that opened here Nov. 19, with UFCW Local 655 providing wall-to-wall representation for the store’s employees, is the first full-service union grocer in this town in close to three decades. – Daily Journal photo
FARMINGTON, MO – The new Schnucks store that opened here Nov. 19, with UFCW Local 655 providing wall-to-wall representation for the store’s employees, is the first full-service union grocer in this town in close to three decades.
– Daily Journal photo

Families urged to shop new Schnucks in Farmington

Farmington, MO – A new contract covering the new Schnucks store that opened here Nov. 19 – the first full-service union grocer in this town in close to three decades – is an outstanding example of what cooperation between a union and management can accomplish.

UFCW Local 655 has signed an agreement with Schnucks for all the store’s 120 employees even though the store is considered to be in a “no-mans” land where there normally are no unionized grocers.

The store is in St. Francois County outside Local 655’s agreement with the Greater St. Louis Food Employers Council, which calls for any store opening in St. Louis City or County, Jefferson County, St. Charles County or Franklin County to open with a Local 655 contract.

WORKING RELATIONSHIP

“We’ve worked hard over the years with our employers to develop a working relationship that benefits both our members and our employers. We understand the food industry is facing difficult issues. So working in partnership to ensure everyone’s survival benefits both our members and our employers,” said Local 655 President David Cook.

The single critical requirement set by Schnucks was that Local 655 represent the store wall-to-wall. Unless that was doable, the company was going to open non-union, putting the employees at a distinct disadvantage, Cook said. That meant the store’s meat department, normally under a Meatcutters Local 88 agreement, would have to be part of Local 655.

“Given that the store would open non-union, and 120 workers would not have the benefits of a union contract, we opted to support the employees,” Cook said, noting that after eight months of discussions, the company made it crystal clear that they would not accept the traditional representations.

GREAT FOR WORKERS

For the workers, it’s a great accomplishment, Cook noted, given that there are now no union stores in the area and their wages and benefits will be far superior than anything paid in the area. These include:

  • Higher wages than the local non-union stores.
  • An employer matching 401(k) plan.
  • The same health and welfare that Local 655’s St. Louis members have.

“Customers and employees alike are excited about having a quality union grocery store in town,” Cook said.

He added: “Schnucks is a quality grocer that has a union contract providing fair wages and benefits. When shopping for your food needs in Farmington and the surrounding area, please shop at the only union grocery store in town.”

The Schnucks store is located at 942 Valley Creek Dr. in Farmington, MO.

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