By Peter Diaz
Assistant to the President, Organizing Director
There are many ways organizing makes our Union stronger so we can bargain better wages, benefits, and working conditions in our contracts.
Here are two ways organizing can and does make us stronger and improve our working conditions:
First, organizing makes our health plans and our pensions stronger. For every new Albertsons, Fred Meyer, or Safeway employee we organize into the Union, the employers must contribute money on their behalf into our health and pension plans. The more money our employers contribute into our plans, the better funded our plans are.
Second, organizing makes us stronger in contract negotiations. There are more than 17,000 members working at Albertsons, Fred Meyer, and Safeway. While we were bargaining our last contract, there were approximately 5,500-6,000 non-union employees in these stores. This large group of non- union employees makes it nearly impossible for us to threaten any realistic job actions against our employers and that makes us weaker at the bargaining table.
When we organize these employees and represent everyone, we will be able to credibly threaten job actions and therefore be stronger at the bargaining table. This will mean a better contract for everyone.
Since February your Union has organized nearly 2,000 new members who work at Albertsons and Safeway, with a realistic goal of organizing 2,000 more by the end of the year. Albertsons and Safeway will be contributing into our Health and Pension plans for all these new members, making our plans better funded. These new members will make us stronger when we go into bargaining for our next contract.