UFCW members contribute greatly to the success of top grocery companies

Over the past couple of decades, we have seen unprecedented changes in the grocery industry. Mega-companies have bought and merged with other Mega-companies. Some have declared bankruptcy or have folded altogether. UFCW members have been disrupted, laid off, re-hired, and hit hard by new competition from less than scrupulous non-union employers, led by Walmart. Through it all, our members have preserved. They have continued to work hard for the success of their employers, and it shows. After all, it is those same employees who provide the excellent service that keeps drawing customers into their stores. Kroger, owner of Smith’s food and drug in Nevada and Utah, is doing well. Very well indeed. The Cincinnati- based company, which also owns Ralphs and food 4 less in California, Fry’s in Arizona, and a dozen other supermarket chains across the United Sates, is doing so well that it ranked third in a recent survey of America’s biggest retailers. The list compiled by Kantar Consulting places Kroger barely behind Amazon, the e-commerce giant. Walmart remains #1 in total sales, as it has been for more than two decades. With an estimated income of $123 billion in 2018, Kroger even beats Costco in total retail sales. Costco pulled in only $101.5 billion last year. Altogether, Kroger and its subsidiaries operate 3,254 stores in 42 states. Albertsons LLC, which owns Albertsons, Safeway, and Vons stores in Nevada and Utah, is also doing well. It announced a 1.8% increases in net sales to $13.8 billion for its third financial quarter of 2018. Safeway also posted tremendous sales gains in the Kantar Consulting report. As this issue of Horizons goes to print, Local 711 is continuing to negotiate for new grocery contracts for both southern and northern Nevada. Given Kroger’s, Albertsons and Safeway’s profitability and competitive success, and UFCW members role in that success, it is perfectly reasonable for members to expect to achieve exceptional contracts in this round of negotiations, which are currently proceeding not only in Nevada, but in other UFCW local Unions in places such as Oregon and Washington, and of course follow the recent successful contract settlements in California. As stated before, in these negotiations we must deal with difficult issues such as securing your health and retirement benefits. We are also committed to achieving a fair contract with significant wage increases. While the economy will always have its ups and downs, one truth remains the same: UFCW members deserve to share in the success they help create for their employers! Remember to support your union in these efforts, and make sure everyone knows that you are proud to be a part of your company’s success, but that you also expect a great contract! Remember, Solidarity works!