UFCW International Staffers demand a contract that protects wages

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, staff workers with UFCW International, represented by the Washington-Baltimore News Guild Local 32035, have submitted a letter to the union’s office of the president to reiterate their commitment to winning a contract that protects their wages, sick leave, telecommuting benefits. This letter, addressed to UFCW International’s president Marc Perrone and the UFCW bargaining team, calls on the union’s management to honor the dedication of its Guild staff with a fair contract that does not make dramatic cuts to sick leave and other benefits that are crucial to its workers as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic weather on.

This letter comes after months of negotiations where the WBNG bargaining committee has repeatedly ceded ground to management, despite appeals via both internal petition from the entire staff union and a public petition that has received hundreds of signatures. Its submission also comes ahead of the union’s next bargaining session where Federal Mediation & Conciliation Services (FMCS) will assist both parties in settling their contract. The staffers have submitted this letter in collaboration with WBNG Local 32035 to appeal to UFCW management to work collaboratively with The News Guild and the FMCS mediation team, and to reaffirm the staff’s commitment to fighting for a contract that reflects the values that UFCW holds for its own members.

The letter submitted reads thus:

President Marc Anthony Perrone,
Mr. Milton Jones,
Ms. Lori Werner,
Ms. Crystal Couttee,
and Ms. Susie Smith
To our President and the UFCW Bargaining Committee,
As staffers of UFCW international, our bargaining unit is consistently grateful for the opportunity to do the work of representing and protecting the members of this union — most of whom have been at the frontlines of the pandemic since it began last Spring. We thank you for your leadership as we have fought together for improved protections, pay standards and more for UFCW’s essential workers as this crisis has lingered on. It has been our honor to put in the long weeks and late nights to make these wins happen for our members.

We are as resolved as ever to fight for UFCW’s members, as we are to negotiate a
contract that pays respect to that dedication. This is why we have remained in solidarity as
we await a proposal that protects proper sick leave, telecommuting benefits for our colleagues who need it most, and a wage scale that rewards the hard work that our unit has certainly earned over the course of the past twenty months. This is why we have distributed a public-facing petition that has received hundreds of signatures in support. And it is why we will continue to petition and act until we feel that our demands are reflected in our contract.

Both parties can agree that this process has languished for long enough; but we believe that with mediation, we will be able to reach a contract that our membership will be content to ratify. We hope that your bargaining team will keep that in mind as we approach our upcoming bargaining session on Thursday, October 7th, and that we may all be able to soon move forward and return our focus on what matters most: serving UFCW’s members.

The UFCW WBNG Local 32035 Bargaining Team