By TIM ROWDEN
Meat, Seafood & Deli Workers (UFCW) Local 88 reached a tentative contract agreement with Schnucks grocery stores in Missouri and Illinois last week after earlier authorizing a strike “should it become necessary” as negotiations continued.
Local 88 represents 1,242 members at Schnucks stores.
Members voted to reject the company’s previous contract offer in June and authorized union leadership to call for a strike, but after a marathon negotiating session on July 5 Local 88 President Dan Telle said the two sides had reached a tentative agreement that addresses the union’s demands for higher wages, paid sick leave and more money in its healthcare fund.
Local 88 members were set to review and vote on the proposed contract on July 11, after Labor Tribune press time.
The tentative contract includes:
- Wage increases ranging from $3.15-an-hour to $4.40-an-hour over the three years of the contract. The increase will bring Local 88 members closer to parity with UFCW Local 655 members at Schnucks doing the same work.
The contract doesn’t achieve full parity with Local 655 members, Telle said, but brings his members much closer.
“We really closed the gap, Telle said. “We’re not there yet but we feel in the next contract it will be closed.”
- Retroactive increases. The last contract expired March 26. Telle said the raises will be retroactive to March 27. “For some of our people, that’s going to be a sizeable check,” Telle said.
- Two paid sick days for qualifying members and a sick bank of up to 30 hours members can access so they do not lose their health and welfare benefits.
- Holiday premium pay.
- Orientation language allowing the union to talk to new employees as they’re coming on board.
- Set days off.
- Increase in health and welfare contribution of 20 cents per hour per each of the three years of the contract.
“We feel it’s a good contract,” Telle said. “It has the highest wages of any contract since 1977 when I joined the local. There has never been a contract that has this high a wage increase.”