In my last update, I mentioned that the Division has been working with locals on a plan to utilize members facing layoffs in the broadline industry to companies in the grocery industry.
I am happy to report that last week a new agreement was reached at US Foods and Safeway-Albertsons that will allow members of Local 455, Local 690, Local 117, Local 174 and Joint Council 28 to continue working through the public health crisis. More importantly, the agreement will serve as a template for other locals across the country to address the imbalance between the broadline foodservice and grocery industries caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
Under the new agreement, US Foods workers will retain the same CBA contract at Safeway-Albertsons. Division members will continue receiving their health and pension benefits and continue receiving their wages.
Agreements like these will ensure professional drivers can continue delivering essential items during this national health crisis. The Division is in ongoing discussions with other companies to develop similar agreements that will shift drivers and ensure the supply chain remains intact and that workers remain properly protected and fairly compensated. Local unions that reach agreements with employers need to submit those agreements to the Warehouse Division for approval.
I am also happy to report that the Teamsters and Kroger Family of Companies announced a deal yesterday to provide all hourly frontline grocery, supply chain, manufacturing, pharmacy and call center associates with a Hero Bonus—a $2 premium above their standard base rate of pay, applied to hours worked March 29 through April 18. The premium will be disbursed weekly at Kroger and its affiliates to ensure workers have access to additional cash during the pandemic. This announcement follows, and is in addition to, Kroger’s March 21 commitment, which provided a one-time bonus to frontline workers on April 3.
The food service industry has been classified as “essential infrastructure” by the federal government, and supermarkets are required to continue operating during the pandemic. Many Teamster-represented companies have been designated as essential suppliers. Our Division is ensuring its members continue working so that all Americans can have access to the food and products they need during this unprecedented pandemic. Your work is crucial to the entire nation, and I couldn’t be prouder.
These are not normal times or conditions. As Teamsters, we know it takes a collective effort between warehouse workers and drivers to keep store shelves filled for families everywhere. We will be doing everything possible to keep our members working and the supply chain running in the days and weeks ahead.