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By Rhonda Smith
Oct. 7 — Managers at Safeway and Giant Food stores in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., often don’t post work schedules at the times employers agreed to in labor contracts, a UFCW official said amid negotiations over new agreements with the grocery chains.
The managers’ actions hurt retail food store employees because many are part-time workers who have other jobs, child care responsibilities or attend school, Alan Hanson, mobilization director for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400, told Bloomberg BNA Oct. 6.
“In general, hours and scheduling is the single biggest issue that retail and grocery workers face in the United States,” Hanson said.
Coordinating schedules remains a challenge, he said, even though a growing number of collective bargaining agreements stipulate that employers post them before the next workweek begins.
“Giant is committed to complying with all of its obligations under collectively bargained agreements, and will address any specific concerns it receives concerning the posting of work schedules,” Jamie Miller, a spokesman for Giant Foods, told Bloomberg BNA Oct. 7.
Representatives for Safeway, a subsidiary of Albertsons, didn’t respond to Bloomberg BNA’s request for comment.
In late September, Local 400 leaders asked its members in the metropolitan Washington region who are covered by bargaining agreements with the two supermarket chains to report scheduling violations by calling a telephone hotline or sending text messages to the union. Managers are supposed to post the schedules by 1 p.m. each Friday.
“We discovered 46 stores with schedule violations in a single day,” Hanson said, adding that managers sometimes posted schedules late the next day.
To address this problem, Local 400 officials plan to propose that monetary penalties be part of the new bargaining agreements with Giant and Safeway.
Four previous contracts, ratified in 2013, expire Oct. 29.
In December 2013, members of Locals 400 and 27 ratified three-year contracts with Giant and Safeway. Those contracts include clauses requiring advance notice of employee schedules.
Negotiators for the two locals bargain jointly with Giant and Safeway on separate contracts, Hanson said. The agreements traditionally contain the same economic terms. Local 400 represents 15,000 workers at Giant and Safeway in the Washington, Maryland and Northern Virginia area.
Local 27, which Hanson said didn’t take part in the recent scheduling “enforcement actions,” represents about 12,000 workers in the Baltimore area.
“Our priority in upcoming negotiations is to add a little bit more teeth to the scheduling provisions,” Hanson said. “We’re looking at examples around the country to see what other unions have done to enforce similar provisions in their contracts.”
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