Grocery store workers may strike over employment contracts

The United Food and Commercial Workers union has several local chapters around the country. The members of one of those local chapters have voted to strike if negotiations for employment contracts are not successful. For now, however, no start date for the strike has been set.

This dispute may not be taking place in Illinois, but the issues at the heart of the negotiations are of concern to employees everywhere. As seems to be the case in many employment disputes, healthcare insurance is at the top of the negotiation list. After that, the grocery workers are looking for sick leave, holiday pay and basic salaries.

Another sticking point has to do with how many hours people are scheduled. Grocers are willing to give health insurance to any employee that works 30 hours a week or more as is mandated by the new healthcare law. The problem is that people who get the most hours often have seniority. It could be some time before a new employee would have the right to enough hours to substantiate health insurance.

There was no confirmation as to what store's workers would go on strike first if it comes to that. Actually, it is hoped that there will be no need for the grocery workers to go on strike at all. Grocery workers in every state, including Illinois, may want to keep an eye on what happens with the employment contracts being negotiated in Washington state right now. The decisions made by this union chapter and nationwide grocery chains could end up filtering through to other locations around the country.

Source:, Grocery union votes to strike, but negotiations continue instead, C.R. Roberts and Kathleen Cooper, Sept. 26, 2013

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