D.C. area Safeway workers who had been in talks with the company over the past few months finally reached an agreement with their employer, only hours ahead of a strike vote.
Members of United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 400 had scheduled a strike vote for March 5, following the failure of months-long negotiations with Safeway.
At 2:00 a.m. on the same day, the two parties reached a collective bargaining agreement, which was overwhelmingly approved by the union’s members.
It is a four-year contract that provides pay increases above the minimum wage, maintains current health care coverage, and guarantees full funding of pension benefits for current employees and retirees.
BREAKING: Safeway workers just voted to ratify a new four-year contract.
Amid mounting public pressure and just hours before a strike vote, Safeway offered a tentative deal to avert a strike.https://t.co/p3v1z0VA34
— UFCW Local 400 (@UFCW400) March 5, 2020
“We stood up to Wall Street and we won,” said Local 400 President Mark P. Federici, according to a press release from the union.
“Some of the most powerful private equity billionaires learned they could not break our solidarity in order to grab even more money from our pockets into theirs. We stayed united, they backed down, and our members and retirees can still count on their pension benefits being there for them.”
Federici thanked D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, all four U.S. Senators from Maryland and Virginia, Washington and Safeway’s customers, for taking a stand against the company to support the employees.
“Safeway’s Wall Street overlords tried to break their promises to us,” said Jane St. Louis, a Bargaining Committee member and Local 400 Vice President. “They tried to freeze starting pay at minimum wage, keep new hires from qualifying for health care and leave our retirees high and dry. We said, ‘No way, no how, not ever.’”