Multi-Employer Bargaining Agreements

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) negotiates several employers with major food chains in Southern California. Previously, negotiations covered more grocers, but due to mergers in the sector, only two large chains – Ralphs and Albertson – are involved in the negotiations. In the autumn of 2019, the union was able to conclude an agreement that includes 46,000 employees in more than 500 stores. The agreement provided for wage increases, kept health care, guaranteed more hours, and helped close the wage gap between job rankings33 While only two major grocers sat at the bargaining table, the collective agreement set a standard and other local food chains – including Gelson`s, Stater Bros. and Super A Foods – signed bargaining contracts with their workers, that are comparable or better. The conditions. One challenge for the union is for unionized grocers to enter into partnerships and other business agreements with new companies and use them to undermine bargaining unit work, for example by assigning work done by bargaining unit members to companies such as Instacart, or when unionized grocers apply lower labor standards for Kett in food deserts. As Kroger did with its subsidiary Food 4 Less. The NRA could be amended to include provisions for extending the terms of a collective agreement to a group of workers reorganized by a union that is dense in the sector44 An example of this type of extension is the one provided for in the Baigent-Ready proposal, named after two special advisors to the British Columbia Minister of Labour. According to the proposal, a union in a sector (defined as a geographical area with similar companies carrying out similar activities) with low union density would have the possibility to apply for certification for a multi-employer unit in that sector if the union could prove the help of at least 45% of the workers at each site within the proposed unit. Certified trade unions would then submit individual elections at each company site and the collective agreement negotiated in the sector would automatically be extended to new entities organised in the sector45. This approach would facilitate the extension of wage and social standards to reorganized groups and save workers, unions and employers time and costs to negotiate a new collective agreement.

37. It should be noted that a supply chain bargaining in the garment and textile industry has a long history dating back to the early twentieth century, when suppliers (“jobber”) entered into collective agreements with contractors and workers. . . .

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