Getting the Best Contracts

Berkeley Farms

While taking an extensive period to come to an agreement that was worthy of the member’s ratification, President Bob Strelo and his bargaining committee negotiated the best diary agreement in the nation. The contract was delayed as there were rumors of Dean Foods which owns Berkeley Farms purchasing the Safeway Milk Plant, which is also run by Local 853 members. This could have caused seniority and operational issues that would have needed to be addressed in both contracts. Once the deal apparently fell through, the negotiations came back together.

The talks included many starts and stops; at one point, the bargaining committee recommended a strike vote. Once the company got the message that the members were serious about getting what they needed, an agreement was finally reached, almost 18 months after the expiration.

The new agreement contains retroactive wage increases, improvements in the health plan contributions for the members, pension increases and language improvements. The members of Local 853 and four other Northern California Locals overwhelmingly ratified the contract in December.

Young’s Market Company
Southern Wine & Spirits

The contracts covering the salespersons, drivers, warehouse and clerical members at these two distributorships are the best ever negotiated in the liquor industry. They provided for a $1.00 per hour increase each year of the agreement, pension increases, and continued fully-paid health and welfare for all of the members covered by the hourly increases. The salespersons, who are members of Local 853, kept all of their job and territory protections and received significant incentives for sales promotions.

There are still contracts to be worked out for the DSD sales and merchandisers and the Cash and Carry stores.

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