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James McLaughlin


President, UFCW Local 99
International Vice President


UPCOMING FOOD NEGOTIATIONS: Five ways to stay strong
By Jim McLaughlin President, UFCW Local 99, and UFCW International Vice President

Everyone loves “best of” lists. Top movies, top restaurants, top attractions — it seems important for everyone to sound off on what the “best” thing is in every category, despite the fact that preferences in food and entertainment are entirely subjective from person to person.

Music fans like myself are probably the most egregious offenders. We love to create lists of every kind. Entire movies have been made about music obsessives, from High Fidelity to Chris Rock’s recent Top Five.

My kids usually roll their eyes or say “who?” when I tell them about my favorite acts from “back in the day,” but they’re also not shy about sharing their own lists of favorites with me.

I think it comes down to the human brain’s desire to organize things. There are countless options for any and everything out there in the world, so if we can trick our brains into thinking that we’ve already heard the “best” album or tasted the “best” burger, they can take a much-needed rest from processing all that information.

Organization is key when it comes to our upcoming supermarket negotiations. Our Master Food Contract expires on Oct. 29, 2016, and preparations have been under way for months to ensure we will secure the best possible new contract for our members.

The new, industry-leading agreements we negotiate will determine the wages, benefits and working conditions not only for Local 99 members, but also for union members throughout Arizona and beyond.

When it comes to negotiations, there are so many factors to consider that lists can come in handy. It can be a time of constant information, maybe some anxiety, and questioning about how best to proceed.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the process!

Here are the top five things you can do during negotiations to help bring about a successful outcome:

  1. Tell us your thoughts. Our proposals at the bargaining table are based on what our members tell us they want and need. We listen carefully.
  2. Don’t pay attention to rumors and don’t spread them. Sometimes, employers will deliberately spread false information to lower morale and create dissension in the ranks. If you hear a rumor, report it immediately to your union representative.
  3. Get the facts from the only people who serve your interests and ONLY your interests — your union. If you have questions about the negotiations, ask your union representative directly. You are also encouraged to attend union meetings, read the 99Report magazine and 99Weekly emails and visit our website.
  4. Engage your fellow members. Remind your union sisters and brothers that we fought hard to get the benefits we enjoy today. We don’t want to lose what we fought for. We need an informed and engaged membership that will fight for what we have.
  5. Show your union pride. If your manager or supervisor asks for your thoughts about negotiations, let him or her know you stand 100 percent with your union. Wear your union buttons to show customers where you stand.

These five tips all share a common theme: Solidarity. It is the key to any successful negotiations.

Stay united, stay positive and together we will bargain for a fair contract that each of us can be proud of.






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