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2,000 new jobs predicted in Fry's expansion

Fry’s Food & Drug Stores, Inc., announced it plans to invest $260 million into opening seven new stores in Arizona this summer and fall.

An estimated 2,000 jobs will be created at the union-affiliated grocery chain.

Six of the larger-size Fry’s Marketplace stores are expected to open in Maricopa County. In addition, a standard-size Fry’s store is scheduled to open in Tucson.

Fry’s Marketplace stores include Starbucks coffee shops, Murray’s cheese stores, sushi bars, soup and salad bars, indoor/outdoor deli seating, gas stations and pharmacies with medical care offered in Little Clinics.

Fry's project in downtown Phoenix may uncover 'trove' of artifacts

The long wait for a grocery store in downtown Phoenix is coming to an end, but before shoppers can begin filling their carts a potentially fascinating construction phase will take place.

The process of building a grocery store doesn’t usually generate much curiosity, but in the case of the upcoming Fry’s Food Store project, city officials are expecting a “trove of city history” to be unearthed at the development site, according to the Arizona Republic.

The land between First and Second Streets and Washington and Jefferson Streets may house an underground bomb shelter, jail cell remains and prehistoric artifacts, the newspaper reports.

The 55,000 square foot “glass cube” planned for the site would encompass the grocery store as well as parking, office and retail spaces, and high-rise apartments. It would also bring much needed fresh food options to the city center, which has been categorized as a “food desert” by public officials.

The land is scheduled to undergo an archeological investigation before building begins, and the project is expected to open in 2018.
UFCW celebrates 100 organizing wins in 100 days

On May 6, the UFCW announced its 100th organizing campaign win of 2016.

“UFCW’s 100 wins in 100 days reflect the frustration and economic pressure felt by hard-working people across the country as more of them look to unions for relief,” Local 99 President Jim McLaughlin observed.
Workers in 26 states have joined the UFCW this year and more than 50 percent of UFCW locals have had successful organizing drives, he said.

JBS workers join UFCW in San Bernardino, Calif.

More than 300 workers at the JBS case-ready plant in Riverside, Calif., voted unanimously on April 20 to join UFCW Local 1167.

This is the first JBS plant to be represented by Local 1167. UFCW Local 99 has represented JBS workers since November 1982.

The workers said they voted “Union Yes!” because they wanted respect on the job, including consistent scheduling practices.

United Latinos helps member become U.S. citizen

Recent political attacks on immigrant workers have prompted many union members to take action to become United States citizens, and Local 99 is helping them achieve that goal.

Mario Aguilar is a case in point.

Aguilar has been a member of UFCW Local 99 with Mission Foods since 2007. He is a union steward and participates in the Negotiations Committee at the company.

He achieved permanent resident status many years ago, but he is not entitled to everything that comes with citizenship — the right to vote, access to federal jobs and more.

Now he is more motivated than ever to do something about it.

Through the United Latinos of the UFCW’s New American Citizen Program, Aguilar was recently given $500 in financial assistance to help pay his expenses in applying for citizenship.

In addition to assisting with costs, the program helps members complete their paperwork correctly and on time.

“I am proud to be a union member,” Aguilar says, “and I’m glad this assistance is available as I take this important step in my life.”

El Super ordered to pay $363,000 in back pay to workers as labor dispute continues

The National Labor Relations Board ordered the El Super supermarket chain to pay nearly 550 current and former employees a total of $363,000 in back wages as part of an agreement to settle unfair labor practice allegations.

More than 300 current El Super employees were due to receive back pay totaling more than $255,000, and 230 former employees were expected to receive more than $108,000.

In the meantime, UFCW unions representing 600 El Super workers in Southern California are continuing to ask supporters to boycott the entire chain until it agrees to bargain in good faith for a new labor contract.

The chain’s employees at seven union-affiliated stores have been working without a contract since September 2013.

UFCW Local 99 activists joined more than one thousand other El Super workers, friends and family in a march through South Los Angeles in support of respect and a fair contract. The march coincided with El Super’s parent company – Groupo Comercial Chedraui’s – annual meeting of its board of directors in Xalapa, Mexico.

The NLRB ruling was the latest of several UFCW victories against the Latino-oriented supermarket chain.

In the summer of 2015, a Los Angeles federal judge granted the NLRB’s request to stop El Super’s parent company from making unilateral and illegal changes to its vacation policy.

The company was required to restore its previous vacation policy and eliminate changes requiring employees to work at El Super a year before they were eligible for annual leave benefits.

Also, in August of 2015, El Super was forced to reinstate Fermin Rodriguez — a vocal supporter of the UFCW — to his job and give him seven months in back pay.
Union volunteers beautify Phoenix housing complex

Eighteen families at the Whispering Sands affordable housing complex in Phoenix are enjoying a brighter living environment, thanks to the efforts of 20 union volunteers.

The union members added landscaping and applied fresh coats of paint to the four buildings in the Sunnyslope area on April 27.

The complex near 13th Street and East Mountain View Road has been owned by the Labor's Community Service Agency for almost 20 years. Jake Sedillo, a former UFCW Local 99 union representative and field director, heads the nonprofit agency. The executive director for 24 years before Sedillo was former Local 99 President Kevin Murphy (see pages 14-15).

Established in 1974, LCSA began as a partnership of the United Way and AFL-CIO to provide housing and other services to union members.

Dunn Edwards Paint donated half of the yellow paint used on April 27 and the rest was purchased at a discount. Red Mountain Mining Inc., donated gravel for landscaping. Nevertheless, LCSA still seeks donations to fix the roofs on two of the buildings at Whispering Sands.

“This is an awesome experience,” Whispering Sands resident Lori Weathersby said while helping with the renovations.

“I’m a single mom, so I have the opportunity to just do what I have to do — what I need to do — with the help of LCSA.”

Michael Broadhead, a member of Transport Workers Union Local 556 and co-chair of Pride at Work-Arizona, said, “You only have to look around here to see how important this is and what it means — it means a lot.”

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