Local 876 Top News
Summer Photo Challenge

2014 UFCW 876 Academic Scholarship Winners

Take a Survey - Score Cash

Message from President Robinson


Membership Summer Photo Challenge

7/8/14 - challenge begins
8/8/14 - top ten photos selected and posted for votes
8/22/14 - winners announced on Facebook; prizes awarded!

How to Enter:

  • To enter, you must be an eligible UFCW 876 member.
  • To enter or vote, you must like UFCW 876’s Facebook page.
  • All entries must be sent to info@ufcw876.org; in this e-mail include your full name, store and unit number and phone where you can be reached.
  • From the photos sent there will be ten selected to participate in the challenge on Facebook. 
  • The top ten will selected on the following criteria:
    • Creativity;
    • Summer themed;
    • Clarity and quality;
    • One photo per member allowed;
    • How well the Local 876 logo is displayed.
      Rule and Regulations:
    • Examples of an official UFCW 876 logo item and/or communications include, but are not limited to: The ConnectionUFCW 876 Bulletin, or any 876 promotional item including clothing;
    • All photos become and will remain property of UFCW 876. By sending a photo to the email address above, you agree that you, the photographer, and each person in the photo (parent/legal guardian for minor) consent to UFCW 876’s use of the photo on the union's Facebook page; even if the photo is not chosen to participate in the challenge the photo may be used at a later date .
    • UFCW 876 logo items and communication materials may not be manipulated / photoshop in the photograph;
    • UFCW 876 reserves the right to refuse any and all inappropriate or negative photos.
    • The top ten photos will be posted to Facebook, with 3 winners selected based on most number of likes per photograph.
    • All Facebook fans, except for UFCW 876 staff, are eligible to participate.
    • Winners will be contacted via phone and / or e-mail.
    • The prize structure is as follows: 
      • First Place: Four Detroit Tiger Tickets for Sunday, September 7, 2014, 1:08 game against the S.F. Giants; photo used as UFCW 876’s Facebook cover photo; photo will be shown the next edition of The Connection.
      • Second Place: Dinner and a movie (in your home community) for two; photo will be shown the next edition of The Connection.
      • Third Place: $25 Visa gift card; Photo will be shown the next edition of The Connection and $25 Visa gift card.

Membership Picnic Brings Family Fun!

Members are encouraged to purchase their $2 ticket to participate in the annual membership picnic to be held on Tuesday, August 5, 2014 from 2 - 6 pm at the UFCW 876 union hall, located at 876 Horace Brown Drive, Madison Heights 48071. Members can expect a petting soo, pony rides, train rides, food, adult and children raffles, games, prizes and a magician!

Eligible members and their families can expect a great family event for children 12 and under. UFCW reserves the right to limit ticket sales. Adult supervision is required. Questions? Call 1-800-321-6406 extension 8633.

Take a Survey; Score a Gift Card!

Now more than ever union members must be protected from political agendas, company takeaways and corporate greed. To do this, direct and truthful communications must be available to every member in a media that works best for them.

That is why UFCW 876 is conducting a brief, online survey from June 1 through July 31 to better gauge how members want to receive news and notification from their union. Union stewards have received a mailing with related materials for your break rooms.

Participating members will be placed in a random drawing to receive one of twenty $25 gift cards (if name is provided.)

Here is the link to the survey: surveymonkey.com/s/wewrk876

Nicholas Morrison, cont.,

"My mother has been a member (of UFCW 876) and there is a peace of mind found in our family. We never have the need to worry about her being harmed at work, facing strenuous labor cruelties, or working unethical hours. I know that my mother is safe at the workplace, and that is a blessing that has not always been eminent in America. There is a certain amount of guarantee also that her job will be there as long as the company thrives. This guarantee is there, not only because she is an excellent worker, but because unions protect her from management favoritism or personal preferences based on superficial qualities."

Gordon White, Hiller's #2

Gordon White is a graduate of Walled Lake Northern High School and was active in its Forensic Club, National Honors Society, Knights for Christ and volunteered and was active in missionary work through his church, Salvation Army, Grace Centers of Hope, Mack Avenue Community Church and a women's crisis pregnancy center. White plans to attend Moody Bible Institute and pursue Christian Ministry, possibly overseas.

"Some people argue that now unions are no longer relevant. However, unions are necessary now, just as they were a hundred years ago, to protect working families and individual workers. I talked to someone who found her career in jeopardy after working for only two years. Coming out of college, she had little seniority, and no tenure. If she had not had her union, she would have undoubtedly been fired before finishing her third year. Instead of losing her job, she consulted her union representative and was counseled into the actions she needed to perform to keep her employment. Her local union helped save her job, and that resulted in her continuing successfully for more than two decades in that position."

Ashley Semma, Rite Aid #2509

Ashley Semma is a currently a student at Oakland University where she studies health science and is very passionate about becoming a pharmacist in her community. Semma served as president and founder of Amplifying Autism Awareness and is a member of Global Medial Brigades, Pre-pharmacy Club, P.A.T.C.H., Chaldean American Student Org., O.U.C.A.R.F.S., National Honor Society, and volunteered for Gleaner's Community Food Bank, to name a few.

"Today's unions have participated in vigorous campaigns for expanded family and medical leave, improved safety and health protections, and overtime pay protections. Through these aspects, most families are protected from difficulty in financial situations. These benefits provide a sense of relief for families. Unions provide a necessary compliment to family protections."

William Davie, Kroger #454

William Davie is a graduate of Southfield-Lathrup Senior High School and held seats and was active in class board, track and field, student congress, The Helping Hand, Green Team, Charger Garden, Medical Academy, Big Brother Big Sister, Pharmaceutical Science Camp, First Responder, International Baccalaureate Programme, Advanced Placement Program, International Honors Program, and Leadership Conference. And volunteered for Teens for Jeans, Book Drive, Heart for a Heart, Chrush for a Chrush, PB and Jam Slam, Volunteers of America, Capuchin Soup Kitchen, Gleaner's Food Bank, Relay for Life, Autism Speaks, Super Saturday, St. Anne's Mead Assisted Living, Michigan Humane Society and community events.

"Growing up, I was raised by a single mother. Her employment environment has played a massive role in my life. The safety and benefits of being an educator has allowed her to be able to provide a lot for us. I honestly know that her union membership has supported the opportunities that she and our family have been exposed too. As a young African American union member myself, I have been introduced to the necessity of union protections. Without my mom being in a union, my life would have been different. Without the American Labor Movement, we would have had drastically worse lives. Today's union is giving me the opportunity to have a successful and stable future."

John Harris, Kroger #715

"John Harris is currently a student at the University of Michigan in Flint where he is studying accounting and plans to become a CPA. Harris was a member of the Marketing and Management Club at St. Clair Community College and the field director of the Port Huron Youth Football Club and also volunteers for his communities Little League.

"Until I became a member of UFCW 876, my son and I never had health insurance, let alone dental or vision. As a member of UFCW 876, I know when I get to work, and management will treat me with the courtesy and respect I deserve. As a former non-union carpenter, I know this is not always the case. I have worked at many non-union jobs where no respect was given to the employees. We were treated as beasts of burden - just there to make the owner money. I am very glad to have my union protecting my family and me in these turbulent times. Every day I go to work knowing exactly what I will earn and that I am protected from unscrupulous managers that want to take advantage. I also know my union is carefully watching the government and fighting for my rights in Lansing and Washington D.C."

Seniority Does Not Protect Members From Breaking Co., Policy

Continued from front page - Customer service managers, assistant customer service managers and department heads are trusted by their coworkers to provide a listening ear, solid advice and are fully expected to abide by the rules and policies set forth by both company and union. They hold a heightened level of both responsibility and trust as they are role models. And conversely, it is important this inherit trust is not used to take advantage of their coworkers or company.

When a high seniority member takes risks on the job for self gain, (asks a coworker to over-ride a register, cashes a personal check that had been deemed impermissible, uses invalid coupons, shops on the clock, etc.) and violates company policy, they implicate not only those persons who trust them, but jeopardize their own job.

"Several times this year we have seen grievances come before the executive board in which a high seniority person has been suspended pending termination due to their own misdeeds," Roger Robinson, UFCW 876 president said. "We know senior members are the most familiar with policy, contractual language and law; but chose to proceed with the belief the rules don't not apply to them, or that they can circumvent them."

A union contract protects member's rights, provides protections and establishes provisions for much-needed programs like health care, pension and paid time off to name a few. It does not protect any member from breaking company policy or state or federal law regardless of seniority.

Summer Food Program for Children

Meet Up and Eat Up Available in Southeast Michigan Did you know that over 300,000 children depend on free or reduced-price school meals in Southeast Michigan? When schools close for summer break, these children are eligible to participate in summer meal programs. Meet Up and Eat Up program can be accessed by dialing 2-1-1 or text "FoodMI" to 877-877 to find a location near you. Sites will be serving food once school is out for summer vacation. Sites can be found at schools, parks, libraries, recreation centers and churches.

Shopping On the Clock Remains Stealing Company Time

Each month the UFCW 876 Executive Board is faced with overwhelming evidence that a member has violated the company purchase policy by "grabbing a quick Coke" or "cashing a daily scratch lottery ticket" or "picking something up from the deli and using the u-scan before punching out for lunch" who was suspended; and ultimately is not awarded an arbitration due to lack of merit.

"Members must understand that these actions are a direct violation of company policy. Contract language does not provide protections for employees who steal time." Roger Robinson, UFCW 876 president said. "And, with today's surveillance technology and software capabilities, no off the clock purchase goes unnoticed." Members must remain aware of all company policies and procedures despite seniority, a clean work record, or long-standing relationships with coworkers and management.

There is a direct correlation between shopping on the clock and being comfortable in a work environment. But it is important to note, work environments do change; and what was once a non-issue can quickly turn into a violation and ultimately a termination.

"Shopping on the clock happens in every store," Robinson said. "But members can protect both their jobs and integrity by being mindful of all company policies whether they are on the floor, in the break room on even in the parking lot. It is difficult for contractual language or the grievance procedure to protect a worker who has violated a company policy, as reasonable rules and regulations are standard practice."

Howard Finishing Members Ratify New Three-Year Agreement

The nearly 80 UFCW 876 members working at Howard Finishing, LLC., a provider of coating and plating services located in Roseville, ratified a new, three-year agreement on May 1, 2014; resulting in yearly wage increases, attendance / performance bonuses; boot allowance; shift premiums, signing bonuses, and maintenance of all current contractual protections including holidays, vacations, personal days, breaks, and scheduling languages. New to recognized holidays is Good Friday.

Special recognition for all the time and effort put forth in educating their coworkers of the tentative are Bargaining Committee Members Tim Williams and Cavin Badeu.

Rite Aid Members Ratify New Three-Year Agreement

PRESS RELEASE: Madison Heights, Michigan /April 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ Today, Rite Aid Pharmacy workers across the state voted to ratify a new, three-year agreement negotiated by United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 876, and the Rite Aid Bargaining Committee, that guarantees 7% wage increases for all 792 union members; protects both pension and health care benefits; as well as preserves all current holiday, vacation and personal days.   

“The legislative environment toward worker protections has been extremely turbulent throughout the country, to say the least.” Roger Robinson, UFCW 876 president said. “This contract, and the solidarity of Rite Aid union members across Michigan, stand as a measure of a heighten awareness for the middle class. They are well aware they are under corporate attack; and the actions taken today to secure a solid contract were the only way to guarantee protections and benefits for their families.”

UFCW 876 represents nearly 800 Rite Aid Pharmacy workers across the state, working in 77 retail stores.

UFCW 876 is a progressive partner in building strong, healthy communities through solid wages, meaningful benefits and the means to a decent retirement through the protections of a union contract. Representing nearly 18,000 members in Michigan and 1.3 million members nationwide, UFCW is the largest private sector union in the country with members working in retail, grocery, meatpacking, and pharmaceutical, healthcare and automotive.


Protecting Full-Time Status - a Full-Time Job

March 19, 2013 - The expiration of one's full-time status can bring a great deal of stress for a member as many benefits and protections are determined by this status.

Securing, maintaining and monitoring a full-time status is the sole responsibility of each member, as most companies will only provide notification of its expiration. The company's stance is you have access to the collective bargaining agreement which fully explains the criteria surrounding a full-time qualification. However, a member can also request their status from the company if needed.

Monitoring your qualifying status can be easily done by reviewing your paycheck stub for total hours worked each week and maintaining a log in writing.

Full-time status determines eligibility for health care benefits scheduling rights, (working five, eight hour days each week) and holiday pay.
Full-time status is determined by a 12-week average of hours. For example, a Kroger member must work an average of 36 hours in a 12-week window to qualify. An easy way to maintain full time, is to secure a schedule that provides five, eight hour days consistently.

Inversely, a Kroger member would have to work 34 hours or less in a 12-week window in order to lose full-time status. These "rolling windows" or time frames determine many benefit eligibilities. It is important to note that in the Kroger contract, there are exemptions, meaning the months of June, July and August do not count toward the calculation of full-time status. However this window does not count against qualifying either.

Once a full-time status is lost, (working less than 34 hours weekly for 12 weeks) regaining it is very difficult. The grocery contract requires the acceptance of a posted job bid, possibly to another store, or making yourself completely available to work any available hours in your store on the appropriate schedule.
"It is important to know that full-time members, who are not working five, eight hour days, put their status in jeopardy." Roger Robinson, UFCW 876 president said. "The company interprets this as a choice to relinquish a full-time status, and there is absolutely no amnesty if the database supports the loss."
Once a member has lost full-time status, they are then placed into the part-time schedule and are subjected to those criteria and hire dates / seniority. This movement will create significant reductions in scheduling, benefits and hours worked.

"Full-time members who believe they have wiggle room to take time off by either leaving an hour early here or there or by taking unpaid, personal days, generally find themselves in a bad position," Robinson said. "Managing and tracking time off can get convoluted quickly. Once that perceived wiggle room becomes nearly extinguished, a legitimate emergency exceeding this window could easily result in the loss of a full-time status."

A good way to monitor and protect one's full-time status is to alert the company with a written communication as soon as any schedule is posted that contains less than 40 hours in a week. That is five, eight hour days, not any other formulation of that calculation.

This written communication serves as not only notice, but also as a sort of "holder" to freeze your full-time date with no penalty. It provides the company opportunity to correct the situation by either modifying the existing schedule right away; or locate those hours in another store (within a 25 mile radius).
Members can protect their qualifying status with this written communication, but should also immediately be followed up with a phone call to their union representative.

"There is a lot on the line when it comes to losing a full-time status," Robinson said. "Protecting this is dependent on the alertness and savvy of the member as union representatives cannot monitor every schedule and paycheck stub."
"They can, however act on scheduling issues they are made aware of. 876 look to both members and Stewards to detect and report scheduling discrepancies."

2013 Geared Toward Protecting Your Future

March 19, 2014- 2013 brought many challenges to this local union and to all of labor - contractually and more significantly politically.

The year opened with the majority of 876 collective bargaining agreements due to expire. The urgency to ratify as many contracts as possible brought intense pressures but interestingly enough projected opportunity.

With the passage of Right to Work legislation, coupled with the inevitability of the Affordable Care Act, ushering in its unknowns; the perfect storm had arrived.

We encouraged every company to negotiate prior to the March deadline of the enactment of Right to Work. We did this to establish and protect a worker's right to be a union member, and to maintain contractual benefits and protections. And more importantly, to preserve their health and welfare benefits under the Michigan UFCW Unions & Employers Health & Welfare Fund.

The pre-storm, strategy proved successful as nearly 19 companies, representing over 16,000 members, clearly recognized the importance of preserving basic worker rights, and provide health care through the Fund. This strategy created a safety zone for the thousands members and their families, keeping them from entering the health care exchange which is still taking shape.

Anti-worker legislation coupled with the ACA, created yet another economic shift felt by both employee and employer. A federally-driven program that re-defined part-time status in the face of thousands of union contracts resulted in a great deal of confusion. When merging the new law into contractual language, we find companies enacting scheduling changes to slow down opportunities to secure full time by reducing hours.

Again the contract language is in place to help members secure additional hours through job bids, transfers and the needs of the business in guaranteeing weekly hour quotas are met. Contractual language, if applied strategically, can protect part-time members.

This issue speaks to another, technology in the workplace. Although we must adhere to these changes, we must also monitor it carefully. This includes cashiering and coupon redemption, award card tracking, to scheduling software that oftentimes fails to balance seniority fairly or is manipulated prior to posting.

Union members across the nation are facing many adversities; but 876 continue to plan plenty of defense.

Preservation of union membership is detrimental to holding ground and maintaining current protections. We can do this by enacting several changes here at the union hall that will make us a stronger force.
Membership applications are a significant part of 876's success. This document holds every contractual right of a union member. It is a legal and binding document that lets an employer know you have the power of 1.3 million union members in the nation. The sheer number of members far outweighs the strength of any company, manager or boss.

Reducing the member / union representative ratio is a guaranteed way to keep communications open, keep issues at bay and keep contractual language strong.
The restructuring of 876 staff provides not only additional and targeted servicing for every member; it ensures a union education and understanding is part of that relationship. Union representatives have received the training needed to handle these specific adversities.

Giving more responsibility to the Steward's in grievance handling would allow them to handle preliminary findings of grievances. Training and working closely with union representatives is the key to this program. Stewards have the greatest grasp of their store's culture; therefore have the best perspective needed to be successful.

The 876 Executive Board and financial advisors have made our treasury one of the strongest. In a constant state of making movement in building our financial strength, 876 members can be assured we are prepared for the struggles working families most certainly face in the future.

Strategically planning for thefuture means we must make paths for upcoming generations. Currently, 876 is partnering with The Community Growth Partnership, a group dedicated to bringing fresh food, grocers and jobs into the city of Detroit. This food initiative program has several avenues for action: food access programs that build healthy communities; training programs for our youth to enter the grocery industry with the proper skills; and opportunities to affiliate workers as 876 union members.

We must change our culture as quickly as the industry changes theirs. We can become a stronger presence at the negotiation table, build trust within our own membership, and find the paths that bring us to real progressive change, together.

2014 Brings Pharmacy Benefit Changes

January 13, 2014 - Kroger members who are participants of the Michigan UFCW Unions & Employers Health & Welfare Fund are now required to fill prescriptions through the Kroger Prescription Plan / Program or (KPP). This can be done at any Kroger pharmacy.

Kroger members can expect a KPP ID card to arrive in the mail shortly. However, in the meantime, prescription benefits can be provided by securing a temporary KPP card as follows:

1. Visit www.kpp-rx.com, click "Member Services," and click "Kroger Employee Temporary ID Card." You will be able to download and print your personalized ID card once your registration is complete. Creating an account will be useful in the future to track medications, view history and monitor your benefits.
2. Call the Fund office at 1-800-322-8190, and they will provide to you a unique numerical identifier, Member ID / Social Security #, that would appear on your ID card, see above, and any other related information needed to fill your prescription.

For members who have other coverage for prescription benefits through a spouse, please note the pharmacist may have to call the KPP help desk number to verify the first time you fill a script at the Kroger pharmacy.

Non-Kroger Members Now Have CVS/Caremark

Non-Kroger members who are participants of the "Fund", will have a new prescription benefit manager, CVS Caremark and must use the network pharmacies listed below, or one of the CVS Pharmacies.

Harding's Market Pharmacy (Kalamazoo), Hollywood Market (Star Sav Mor) Pharmacy, Kroger Pharmacy, Meijer Pharmacy, (not Traverse City) Oleson's in Traverse City, Plumb's Market (Hackley Pharmacy) and select Rite Aid Pharmacies. Be sure to verify your chosen pharmacy continues to participate in the pharmacy network before filling a prescription and be sure to use your CVS/Caremark card.

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2014 Pension Open Houses
Held at the union hall from
6 - 8 p.m.

Making the most out of your retirement will be determined on how you plan today. The Financial Wellness Center offers free assistance to members and their spouses to develop a retirement strategy that fits your budget.

June 18
July 16
August 13
September 17
October 15
November 19
December 17

Find more valuable workshops for members here.