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Not Your Normal UFCW Strike

With unions, they just go together like hand and glove:  Strikes and unions, that is.

A unionized workforce negotiates with management.  Management gives the union workers a lousy offer and the union workers strike.

It happens more often than most union bosses would care to admit.

And they really would rather you not know about this.

The United Food & Commercial Workers is a 1.3 million-member amalgamation of a union representing baggers, checkers, meat cutters, deli persons, slaughterhouse workers, nursing home aides and other assorted classifications.

And it has a bit of a union problem:

Workers who process union insurance claims and membership dues paperwork went on strike Thursday — against the union that employs them.

About 20 office workers at Local 1167 of the United Food and Commercial Workers, the union that represents employees of the area’s major supermarkets, walked off their jobs at the local’s Bloomington office in a contact dispute at 3:30 p.m. and began picketing their own union.

The office workers, who are also members of the union, say they no longer want to be classified and paid the same levels as workers in stores.

Ariana Banuelos, one of the striking workers, said she and most of the office workers once worked in the stores — and left to do more challenging work. She said they should be paid better for that.

“We asked for 10 cents more an hour and were turned down. They pretty much said no, no, no,” Banuelos said of the union management. “Our only other alternative is to strike.”

Bill Lathrop, president of Local 1167, said the office workers have always been paid based on the contract UFCW negotiates with the stores. Currently the office workers make $19.55 per hour.

Lathrop said it was painful being picketed by his own workers but he is not planning any immediate steps to rectify the situation.

“I think they’ve been offered a very good contract,” Lathrop said.  [Emphasis added.]

Wait.  Let’s see if we’ve got this straight:

Management (the UFCW) is letting its own workers go out on strike over ten cents an hour?

Talk about corporate union greed.

According to the union’s website:

At approximately 3:30 PM April 15th, 2010 the Dues Membership and Benefits Department employees of UFCW 1167 turned down the Area Standard Agreement of $19.55 per hour (Experienced Food Clerk Rate) and walked off the job.

All employees here at the local have an outstanding benefits package superior to that of the stores (Holiday, Pension, Full time 80 HRS of sick leave, etc)

The Union Office remains open 8:00AM to 4:00PM and our management staff is available to answer contract questions and file grievances. Union Representatives will continue to serve our membership out in the stores as usual. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause our membership.

Sadly, though, it’s not the first time the UFCW has had its own union staff go out on strike.

But, let’s just keep this our little secret…k?

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“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.”Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

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Cross-posted.

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