Everyone, it has been an interesting month. Between organizing new worksites, laying a groundwork for successful bargaining, and our Paid Earned Sick Leave bill has passed both the Oregon Senate and House.
First off, I would like to congratulate both our new Union Members at Food Front and the team that worked so hard to make the process a success. The workers at Food Front Cooperative Grocery in Portland have decided to go union. On June 2nd, workers at Food Front won an outstanding victory with more than 85% of the workers voting to make UFCW their union. I am thrilled with the outcome of this election and the strength it will bring to the workers at Food Front Cooperative. Welcome to UFCW Local 555!
With the Portland Area Grocery, Meat, and CCK contracts expiring in the near future, we have been spending a lot of time preparing for a successful bargain. Expect members from all over the state to weigh in because we are one union! Bargaining surveys are going out in the near future. We are looking at dates to begin meeting with the employer bargainers and we are excited to start the process to continue to strengthen our contracts, our benefits, and our union.
Lastly, for more than three and a half years, UFCW Local 555 has made passing a statewide Paid Earned Sick Leave law a top priority. From the very beginning, helping first to pass this law in both Portland and Eugene, Local 555 members were on the front lines of this fight because we believe that everyone can be healthier and more productive when they are given ample time to recover from sickness.
Our own Secretary-Treasurer, Jeff Anderson, is to be commended. He has spent countless days at the State Capitol working with lawmakers to make sure our union members and other workers in Oregon no longer have to go to work sick. I can say with 100% certainty that without Jeff and his commitment to all working people, Paid Earned Sick Leave would not be happening anywhere in Oregon.
Most of all, I want to thank the more than 20,000 members of UFCW Local 555. Thanks to voluntary donations, UFCW Local 555 was able to invest in field work with our partners by paying for polling, for campaign coordination, and providing printed materials that were crucial in the Portland, Eugene, and statewide efforts.
We are now working with allied organizations in Washington to bring Paid Earned Sick Leave to our members in Southwest Washington as well as other workers in the area.
UFCW Local 555 President
Facts about Paid Earned Sick Leave legislation:
- The bill would take effect January 1, 2016, and provide Paid Earned Sick Leave to any worker employed by a company with more than 10 employees.
- The law allows workers to accrue sick time at the rate of at least one hour of unpaid sick time for every 30 hours the worker is on the clock or 1-1/3 hours for every 40 hours.
- Employees could earn up to 40 hours of paid sick time a year.
- Right now, Local 555 members working in grocery stores outside of Portland do not get sick pay the first day they are sick, but must wait till the third day they are out.
- This bill will allow for members of Local 555 working in Oregon, and almost all working people, to be paid the very first day they call in sick.