Kroger, union reach contract agreement to avoid strike
The Roanoke Times — May 25
By Tiffany Holland
A strike at Kroger may be avoided after new negotiations between the grocer and union members.
Kroger and the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 union confirmed Wednesday morning that they reached a tentative agreement on a new employee contract. The agreement covers 5,100 Kroger associates working in 41 stores across Virginia, east Tennessee and West Virginia.
Last week, more than 1,100 union members met at the Salem Civic Center and voted overwhelmingly to reject Kroger's last contract proposal and authorize a strike if the grocer did not meet their requests for higher pay and health insurance. The union represents about 3,000 employees, both part-time and full-time, in non-salaried positions.
At that meeting, Kroger employees said they took issue with the company's offer because it included only a small pay increase and no paid sick days for store associates, and it would not provide health insurance to retirees after the end of the year. Bristol Kroger associate Todd Dolehanty, one of the 13 representatives on the union’s bargaining team, called Kroger's proposal a slap in the face.
After the vote to authorize a strike, Kroger officials made plans to meet with the union again on Monday and Tuesday, when they came to an agreement. Specific details of the new contract proposal were not released. However, a news release from Kroger said it "provides significant investment by Kroger in higher pay, affordable health care and pension support for associates."
"It's not everything we wanted, but it is an improvement," Dolehanty said.
Dawn Greenway, a clerk at a Roanoke County Kroger store who is also on the bargaining team, said in a news release from the union that Kroger's new proposal is "by far the best one."
"It included improvements in all the areas we were concerned about," she said.
The bargaining team will now bring the offer to the entire membership for a vote. That meeting will be held on June 8 at the Berglund Center in Roanoke.
Kroger, the nation's largest grocery chain and the leading grocer in southwest Virginia, has been in contract negotiations with union members for months. Employees operated under a three-year contract until April and then worked under an extended contract until May 8. On that day, Kroger offered a contract proposal that was unanimously rejected by the union's bargaining team before it was brought to the membership last week. Employees are still operating on an extended contract until June 4.
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont at California State University, Dominguez Hills, in Carson on Tuesday. “We are in till the last ballot is cast,” he said Tuesday night.Monica Almeida/The New York Times
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont prevailed over Hillary Clinton on Tuesday in the Oregon primary, according to The Associated Press, while Mrs. Clinton claimed victory in a tight race in Kentucky, the day’s other contest.
Mrs. Clinton raced around Kentucky in the two days before the primary, hoping to fend off Mr. Sanders in a state that she won easily in 2008. In unofficial results late Tuesday night, Mrs. Clinton edged Mr. Sanders by about 1,900 votes, or less than half a percentage point, with all counties reporting. The Associated Press had not declared a winner by midnight.
The close result meant that she and Mr. Sanders would effectively split the state’s delegates. Nonetheless, winning Kentucky would give her a symbolic triumph that could blunt the effect of her loss in Oregon as she turns her attention to Donald J. Trump, her likely general election opponent.
With a lead in delegates that is almost impossible for Mr. Sanders to overcome, Mrs. Clinton is moving closer each week to claiming the Democratic nomination. But her march has been encumbered by Mr. Sanders’s success in recent contests, including victories in Indiana’s primary on May 3 and West Virginia’s last week.
His continued strength has put a spotlight on a lack of unity in the Democratic Party.
With Mr. Sanders pressing on with his campaign and Mr. Trump now the presumptive Republican nominee, Mrs. Clinton has been campaigning against two opponents at once.
Speaking on Tuesday night at a rally in Carson, Calif., Mr. Sanders said: “There are a lot of people out there, many of the pundits and politicians, they say, ‘Bernie Sanders should drop out. The people of California should not have the right to determine who the next president will be.’ ”
“Well, let me be as clear as I can be,” he continued, “We are in till the last ballot is cast.”
What We’re Watching Today
Mr. Sanders will hold two rallies in California.
As the Democratic race goes on and Mr. Trump focuses on the general election, President Obama will meet with the Democratic National Committee in Washington.
California in November will elect a new U.S. senator for the first time in 24 years. To replace four-term Sen. Barbara Boxer, who decided not to seek re-election, we endorse Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Orange, because she has demonstrated incredible judgment on the most crucial issues of our generation, taking tough stands in the face of tremendous opposition.
When thinking deeply about the most consequential policy decisions made by Congress in the past two decades, the vote to invade Iraq in 2003 should be at the top of the list. The loss of life, the standing of the United States globally, the drain on economic resources, the national debt and the deeper political divisions in our country arguably flow from that congressional authorization of war.
Hindsight has led many members of Congress who voted for the war to regret their actions. But only a minority of members of Congress can say that they voted no at the time. Rep. Sanchez is one of the few that stood up against public opinion and political pressure to vote her conscience.
“Too many of my colleagues have rushed to use the military for every single thing,” she told us. “The military is the last thing I want to do,” she added, and should be utilized only after diplomacy and all other options had been exhausted.
When pressed about when it is appropriate to send American citizens to war, the congresswoman, whose husband was in the military and whose son is currently serving, asserted that she would picture what she would say to the mother of a dead soldier to determine if military conflict was worth the cost. Her discernment on military matters and experience as a member of both the House Armed Services and Homeland Security committees alone eminently qualifies her to represent California in the Senate.
Aside from the Iraq War vote, Rep. Sanchez has also shown independence of thought when voting to oppose the USA PATRIOT Act, a law that has led to the expansion of executive power and unprecedented government surveillance of Americans’ private data and communications. She also voted against the $700 billion bank bailout in 2008 when it was politically unpopular for legislators of either party to do so.
This is not to say that Rep. Sanchez has a perfect voting record, but, rather, that when she is faced with the biggest and most complex decisions, she typically makes the correct choice. It is those big issues such as war and the surveillance of millions of Americans that have a greater impact on citizens’ lives than perhaps anything else Congress has done. For these reasons, Rep. Sanchez is the right choice for the United States Senate.
Donald J. Trump claimed victories on Super Tuesday in seven states, from Vermont to Arkansas, and his strongest support came from places like Fall River, Mass., and Buchanan County, Va.
They have little in common but economic hardship, a sense of longing for the better times they once had and an unshakable belief that a President Trump might be the answer to their troubles. Here is a closer look at a few of the places where Mr. Trump won big.
Follow results as the Hawkeye State casts the first ballots of the 2016 presidential campaign to select a Democratic and Republican nominee. Find out who wins on our interactive map, which updates live as voting takes place
February 1, 2016
Today (January 11, 2016), the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a case that has the potential to destroy public sector unions.
Hundreds of public employees and union supporters gathered in front of the Supreme Court today, united with one voice, to speak out against this attack.
Now is the time to mobilize all public sectors business agents, elected officers, stewards and interested members to approach all non-members, so we can strengthen the union, expand our membership base, and maintain sufficient resources to organize, negotiate for, and effectively represent all Teamsters. Attached is the Teamsters Power Building Program if you have not already received it in the mail. The materials included in this packet should assist local unions in conducting training sessions to educate and train business agents, shop stewards and interested members.
Highway bill grants California $26 billion;
Transportation bill allocates $26 billion to California
By Carolyn Lochhead The San Francisco Chronicle (California) December 3, 2015 Thursday
WASHINGTON - Congress has agreed for the first time since 2005 on a long-term transportation bill that will raise federal spending on highways by 5 percent and transit by 8 percent in its first year. Over the bill's five-year life, California will get $26 billion in federal funds for a variety of transportation projects, a 14.5 percent increase.
Retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat who joined hands with conservative Sen. James Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, in a months-long drive to break through conservative antipathy in the House to increasing government spending on domestic programs, counted the legislation as a major achievement when it was announced late Tuesday. The bill is expected to win approval in both chambers this week, just in time to avoid Friday's expiration of the Highway Trust Fund, the main source of federal transportation funding.
"It was a mammoth task to complete work on this bill," Boxer, the top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, said, noting that bike and pedestrian paths, typically a big source of friction with Republicans, will share the bounty.
The bill lacks a sustainable funding source, all but ensuring that when it expires in five years, the funding deficit that has allowed roads, bridges and transit systems to deteriorate for years will be even worse. Instead of securing a stable source of dedicated revenue, congressional negotiators scoured the budget for obscure alternatives, from raiding the Federal Reserve's cushion against bank losses to revoking the passports of citizens behind on their taxes by $50,000 or more in an effort to get them to pay up.
Both parties have shunned an obvious source of ongoing funding by refusing to raise the 18.4 cents a gallon federal gasoline tax - reflecting intense voter hostility to any increase - meaning that money to repair the nation's deteriorating transportation systems will lag even further behind needs when the bill expires in five years, said Richard Auxier, a research associate at the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan think tank.
The tax hasn't been raised since the Clinton administration, while the cost of fixing roads and bridges and building transit systems continues to increase. Revenues have also declined as the fuel efficiency of cars has risen. Auxier said that adjusted for inflation and rising transportation costs, the value of the gas tax today is only 8.4 cents compared with 1994.
Rep. Jeff Denham, a Turlock Stanislaus County Republican, who helped negotiate the bill, also included language encouraging the planting of pollinator habitat on highway medians and a requirement that Amtrak come up with a policy to allow pets on trains.
Boxer won a provision she has long sought that would ban rental car agencies from renting vehicles subject to recall until the safety problems are fixed. The provision is named for Raechel and Jacqueline Houck, two sisters from Santa Cruz who were killed in 2004 when their Enterprise rental car, under recall for a faulty power-steering hose, veered in front of an 18-wheeler on Highway 101 between Bradley and King City in Monterey County.
For the past decade, as both parties refused to raise the gas tax, Congress passed stopgap bills of no longer than two years, making it difficult for state transportation officials to plan large projects. Boxer said half the nation's roads are now in "less than good condition," and 61,000 bridges are structurally impaired.
Caltrans issued a statement saying it was "encouraged" by the legislation, adding, "the current method of stop-gap funding drives up costs for state highway programs and makes rational planning impossible."
SUPPLEMENTAL PENSION & SUPPLEMENTAL DEATH BENEFITS Toll-free: (877) 214-8928
To schedule an appointment with the Pension (ONLY) field representative from the Western Conference of Teamsters Pension Trust please call Local 952 at (714) 740-6200. A pension representative comes to Local 952 every Thursday of the month from 9:00am to 4:00pm. If you wish to contact the pension department directly, please call one of the above numbers or visit www.nwadmin.com.