Grand Rapids Workers Approve First Union Contract
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., May 7, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On Saturday, workers at Valley City Linen ratified their first union contract ending their 15-month campaign for union representation at the commercial laundry by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 951.
In May 2011, Valley City Linen workers elected union representation in an effort to improve their working conditions, authorizing UFCW 951 to represent them in contract negotiations with their employer.
"Prior to the May 2011 union vote, the company ran a very strong anti-union campaign, complete with highly paid union busters," Chad Pemberton, an organizer for UFCW Statewide Community Development, said. "Valley City Linen continued their efforts to keep the plant union-free right up to the contract vote, but the workers remained united and overwhelming ratified their first union contract. This is a very exciting day for Valley City Linen workers who finally have the respect, protections, and guarantees that a union contract brings."
The one year agreement provides numerous gains including: wage bonuses for all full time employees ranging from $350 to $450; access to a grievance procedure, the process workers and the union can use to force the company to follow the contract when management violates a worker's rights under the contract or law, and union representation at the plant.
"Now that Valley City Linen workers have exercised their legal right to union membership we hope to establish a positive working relationship with the company," Pemberton said. "Creating an environment where workers are safe, treated with dignity and respect and are fairly compensated, while the company continues to enjoy financial success."
UFCW Statewide Community Development is a joint project of Grand Rapids-based UFCW Locals 951 and Madison Heights-based UFCW 876 devoted to community activism, including union organizing. Approximately 46,000 workers belong to the UFCW in Michigan, working for a variety of retailers including Meijer, Kroger, and Rite Aid, along with numerous other companies in a variety of industries including food processing, automotive supply, and health care.
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