Farr’s True Value: Union Since 1954

Farr’s True Value Hardware (with locations in Coquille and Coos Bay, Oregon) has been a proud union member for nearly 63 years—longer than any company in the state.

Farr’s storied history began in 1916 in Coquille as a transfer and warehousing company between the Coquille River docks and Southern Pacific Railways which had just come to Coos County that year. In 1926 they expanded to Marshfield, Oregon (later renamed Coos Bay) at 880 South First Street, the same address where the Coos Bay Farr’s location remains to this day. In 1929 the original waterfront store in Coquille moved to its current location at 220 North Central Blvd. In 1934, co-owners Farr and Elwood joined Northern Wholesale Hardware and changed the name to Farr’s Hometown Hardware. Farr’s expanded to handle a fleet of shipping trucks, along with sales of brick, lime, cement, feed and seed supplies, farm hardware and farm machinery.

Chester Farr and his wife Iva became sole owners in 1941 when Cecil Elwood and his wife died in a car accident; they continued to run the business with sons Len and Don until Chester’s 1954 retirement.

Farr’s joined the union that year. In 1970, the name was again updated to its current incarnation: Farr’s True Value Hardware.

Over the years, many Farr children have worked for the two stores. In 1975, the store incorporated with 11 family stockholders. Since that time, both Farr’s locations have continued to grow and change with the times, from a 1979 Coos Bay building expansion to True Value DTV plan remodels to both stores in 2010 and 2013, respectively. In 2012, Chris Liga, the first non-family member since Elwood, bought into the business. Currently the store is owned by Jay Farr (3rd gen), Jim Farr (4th gen) and Chris Liga (honorary 4th gen), with several other Farr family members still among management and employee ranks today.

One thing hasn’t changed over 5 generations of Farr’s: they’ve remained proudly union since 1954, which helps provide key services and peace of mind for employees. Employee Marie Erm says, “I’ve worked at Farr’s and been a 555 member since 1995. The biggest benefit to me has been the insurance. My husband is self-employed and having coverage for him and our three children has made a huge difference in my life, knowing the union is there to protect those benefits as well as vacation and pension issues takes a lot of stress out of daily life.”

Kandy, another Farr’s employee, agrees. “It is nice to have a job that has benefits including a retirement package. Union insurance and retirement are great things. I have seen a lot of changes in the last 16 years from the union, none of which I can say have been negative.”

Congratulations to Farr’s True Value on this union milestone, and here’s to another 60+ years!

Joining the IFEBP

I am honored to have recently been named to the board of the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP). The IFEBP is a leading trustee educational organization that works with trustees from all over the US and Canada…in their own words, “a leading objective source of relevant employee benefit education and information.” We haven’t had a Labor member from the Northwest on this board for many, many years, so it is a great responsibility.

As you’ll see if you go to www.ifebp.org, the International Foundation is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors (including me!) consisting of labor trustees, management trustees, and benefit plan administrators of both multi- and single employer/employee benefit plans in both the United States and Canada. A group of Advisory Directors are comprised of professional advisors to employee benefit plans such as accountants, actuaries, attorneys, consultants, and investment advisors. The Executive Committee oversees the progress of projects and serves as the main conduit in channeling proposals for Board consideration.

This is a wonderful opportunity to not only get insight into the range of benefit plan options, but to help effect change and make a real difference on a national level. I’ll keep you apprised of what I learn and ways in which we can therefore further positively affect our already impressive benefits packages.

Jeff Anderson
Secretary-Treasurer, UFCW 555

Our Biggest Goal For 2017: Fair Work Week

You’re going to be hearing a lot about our Fair Work Week push this year, so please accept my apologies if you get tired of reading about it. We promise NOT to get tired of fighting for it, and once it passes, chances are you won’t get tired of experiencing the benefits! I’d bet that almost every one of us has been in a situation where we weren’t treated fairly by our employers. Maybe we were asked to work seven or more days in a row, with no day to rest or recuperate, and no sense that we could decline the request. Maybe a company hired more part-time workers instead of giving us more hours. Maybe we were given our schedules at the very last moment—certainly without two weeks notice—or sent home unexpectedly without compensation if we weren’t needed on a given day. Maybe we weren’t allowed to make advance schedule requests, or had those requests ignored without warning.

Our battle for Fair Scheduling, or the Fair Work Week, aims to change that. Our ABC—the Active Ballot Club—is taking this fight all the way in 2017. We do this using your contributions to the ABC, proving each and every time we win that the collective power of so many people’s pennies is actually capable of outweighing a single massive check from a billionaire. (If you don’t already have your recurring contribution to the ABC set up, please call us and do so. Just a dollar a week from each and every one of you can make all the difference.)

We’re going to be reporting the latest on the Fair Work Week every month on the back page of this paper, so keep an eye out. And/or stay informed at a glance via text; just update your contact information here: www.ufcw555.org/textme.

If you have questions about this, or anything else, don’t hesitate to email me at president@ufcw555.org. I am here to amplify the voice of all of our workers, and I take that responsibility very seriously.

In Solidarity,
Dan Clay
President, Local 555

Get the most from your UFCW Membership

UFCW members, not only get a strong contract and someone fighting for them at work, by they also get benefits that can save them and their families as much as $3,000 in 2017. The truth is, all of our members, work incredibly hard and deserve to save money at home. Whether its discounts on movie tickets, theme parks, cell phone plans, tires, or legal services, the money saving benefits to UFCW membership goes above and beyond the benefits negotiated in our contracts.

Check out UFCW.org/value to learn more.

Ballots are out! Please remember to VOTE!


Ballots are out! You have until 8pm, on Tuesday, November 8th, to cast your ballot. You can either mail it in (don’t forget the stamp) or drop it off at a drop site.

The following candidates are endorsed by the Active Ballot Club (ABC) and your Local 555 Elected Leaders. We must stand together to support candidates who will work to secure effective legislation for working families.

Now more than ever, we need to make our voices heard by voting!

Oregon Endorsements

(WFP Endorsed means the Work Families Party of Oregon also endorsed the candidate.)

Peter Defazio, US Representative District 4

Ballot Measures
Yes on Ballot Measure 97
Yes on Ballot Measure 98

Kate Brown, Governor of Oregon (WFP Endorsed)
Brad Avakian, Secretary of State (WFP Endorsed)
Ellen Rosenblum, Attorney General (WFP Endorsed)
Tobias Read, State Treasurer

Oregon State Senate
Tonia Moro, District 3
Arnie Roblan, District 5 (WFP Endorsed)
Ginny Burdick, District 18
Kathleen Taylor, District 21 (WFP Endorsed)
Lew Frederick, District 22 (WFP Endorsed)
Michael Dembrow, District 23 (WFP Endorsed)
Laurie Monnes-Anderson, District 25 (WFP Endorsed)

Oregon State House
Pam Marsh, District 5 (WFP Endorsed)
Paul Holvey, DIstrict 8 (WFP Endorsed)
David Gomberg, District 10
Phil Barnhart, District 11 (WFP Endorsed)
Nancy Nathanson, District 13
Julie Fahey, District 14 (WFP Endorsed)
Dan Rayfield, District 16
Tom Kane, District 18 (WFP Endorsed)
Paul Evans, District 20 (WFP Endorsed)
Teresa Alonso Leon, District 22 (WFP Endorsed)
Jim Thompson, District 23 (WFP Endorsed)
Ken Moore, District 24 (WFP Endorsed)
Ray Lister, District 26 (WFP Endorsed)
Sheri Malstrom, District 27
Jeff Barker, District 28 (WFP Endorsed)
Susan McLain, District 29 (WFP Endorsed)
Janeen Sollman, District 30 (WFP Endorsed)
Brad Witt, District 31
Mitch Greenlick, District 33
Ken Helm, District 34 (WFP Endorsed)
Margaret Doherty, District 35 (WFP Endorsed)
Jennifer Williamson, District 36 (WFP Endorsed)
Julie Parrish, District 37
Ann Lininger, District 38 (WFP Endorsed)
Mark Meek, District 40
Karin Power, District 41 (WFP Endorsed)
Rob Nosse, District 42 (WFP Endorsed)
Tawna Sanchez, District 43
Tina Kotek, District 44 (WFP Endorsed)
Barbara Smith Warner, District 45 (WFP Endorsed)
Alissa Keny-Guyer, District 46 (WFP Endorsed)
Diego Hernandez, District 47 (WFP Endorsed)
Jeff Reardon, District 48
Chris Gorsek, District 49
Carla Piluso, District 50 (WFP Endorsed)
Janelle Bynum, District 51 (WFP Endorsed)
Mark Reynolds, Distict 52 (WFP Endorsed)
Gena Goodman Campbell, District 54 (WFP Endorsed)

Annabelle Jaramillo, Benton County Commission Chairman
Xan Augerot, Benton County Commission, Position 2

Jim Bernard, Clackamas County Chairman
Ken Humberston, Clackamas County Commission, Position 4

Sharon Meiran, Multnomah County Commission, District 1, (WFP Endorsed)
Amanda Schroeder, Multnomah County Commission, District 4

Steve Novick, Portland City Council (WFP Endorsed)
Yes on 26-179, Affordable Housing Bond Measure

Lake Oswego
Jon Gustafson, Lake Oswego Mayor
Theresa Kohlhoff, Lake Oswego City Council

Joshua Skov, Eugene City Council Ward 1, (WFP Endorsed)

West Linn
John Carr, West Linn Mayor

Washington Endorsements

Jim Moeller, US Representative Congressional District 3

Ballot Measures
Initiative 1433

Washington State Senate
Tim Probst, Legislative District 17, Senator
Dean Takko, Legislative District 19, Senator
Annette Cleveland, Legislative District 49, Senator

Washington State House
Brian Blake, Legislative District 19, Representative, Position 2
Sharon Wylie, Legislative District 49, Representative, Position 1
Monica Stonier, Legislative District 49, Representative Position 2

Clark County
Tanisha Harris, Clark County Council, District 3

Cowlitz County
Mike Karnofski, Cowlitz County Commission, District 1
Shawn Nyman, Cowlitz County Commission, District 2

2,000 new members have been organized, 2,000 more by the end of the year

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.

2016 Washington Primary Endorsements for SW Washington

Your union has endorsed the following candidates in the August Primary Election for their continuing support and advancement of issues that matter to working families. Don’t forget to vote! Ballots are due by August 2nd.

Jim Moeller, 3rd Congressional District, US House of Representatives

Tim Probst, 17th Legislative District, Senator
Dean Takko, 19th Legislative District, Senator
Annette Cleveland, 49th Legislative District, Senator

Brian Blake, 19th Legislative District, Representative, Position 2
Sharon Wylie, 49th Legislative District, Representative, Position 1
Monica Stonier, 49th Legislative District, Representative, Position 2

Mike Karnofski, Cowlitz County Commissioner, District 1
Shawn Nyman, Cowlitz County Commissioner, District 2

Haggen to close Oregon City Location

In addition to the previous announcement that Haggen would be closing it West Linn and Sunnyside Stores, Haggen has announced that they will also be closing the Oregon City Location.

These closures are covered by the WARN act, thus the company will be required to pay out 60 days of pay from the day WARN notices are issued. Local 555 will be working on making sure the Union Members at all three locations are taken care of and will be setting up dislocated worker meetings as soon as possible. These meetings will inform you about how this will impact health and welfare and pension benefits.

Your Union will continue to keep you up-to-date of any news that can be confirmed, and will be sending members in the affected stores a letter regarding the dislocated worker meetings.