President’s Message

Members must engage as we navigate uncharted waters

by President Mark Ramos

In the spring edition of the Messenger, I wrote about charting our course through the end of COVID. At the time, we were expecting to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

We’d been through hell and back, and now what?

Hello, Delta variant!

Now, we have a new variety of COVID-19 that is more contagious than the first, and our hospitals are filled again with patients, most of whom did not get a vaccine that is safe, free and available to all.

And still we go to work every day, providing essential services to keep our communities rolling. And we’re still constantly in tough negotia­tions with various employers.

All of us remain wary of uncer­tain times ahead.

The employers need to under­stand that our members, who have endured so much hardship through the pandemic, deserve respectable wage increases and improvements in health care and pension contribu­tions.

Of course, safety also continues to be a top priority for us in negoti­ations. It was a priority in our talks with Food 4 Less and it will con­tinue to be at the top of our list of contract proposals handed across the table to each employer.

You can see on page 9 that our members overwhelmingly ratified the contract with Food 4 Less. No doubt we will continue to produce strong agreements with other emp­loy­ers as well.

Talks are ongoing with CVS and Kaiser. Safety is a prominent topic of negotiations there as well, along with wages, pensions and contract language.

Our members at CVS, Kaiser and Rite Aid continue to need the support of our entire union, and that takes member engagement.

Our degree of success in all of these negotiations will depend on the degree of engagement on our members’ part. Without it, there’s only so much we can do for you at the bargaining table.

Please be strong in your stores and be vocal of your support of your union, and be clear that you deserve better.

Our member’s solidarity will always be our greatest strength. We have built strong alliances with other unions and community part­ners, but what matters most is us standing together as one union regardless of our employer.

As we deal with the unpre­dictability of these uncertain times, we are aware that we could be living with restrictions into 2022. The White House is aware of this, too, which is why it is instituting stronger vaccination mandates for govern­ment workers.

After all, we certainly don’t want to go through another devastating winter with another variant sending us backward.

We’ve made great progress toge­ther and we will continue doing so. The work we do as a union will continue, whatever happens next.

In the meantime, we are so lucky at Local 1428 to represent some of the hardest working, most responsi­ble members in the UFCW.

We look to you to engage, get active and make the most of your union.