Hundreds of Jewel Warehouse Workers, Drivers Ratify Contracts

| March 11, 2016
Local 710 Trustee John T. Coli, who also serves as Secretary-Treasurer of Local 727, talks with Jewel members about their new contracts.

Local 710 Trustee John T. Coli, who also serves as Secretary-Treasurer of Local 727, talks with Jewel members about their new contracts.

Local 710 Members Unite to Secure Strong Seniority Rights, Wage Increases

Nearly 900 Jewel warehouse workers and drivers in the Chicagoland area decisively ratified new five-year contracts on March 6 as members of Teamsters Local 710.

The separate agreements include many of the same Teamster benefits and protections for all workers servicing Chicago stores, including dispatchers and load planners. The Local 710 Bargaining Committee of rank-and-file members and Teamster representatives fought for weeks during marathon negotiation sessions to secure the strong new contracts.

The drivers’ agreement was ratified by a 2-to-1 margin, and warehouse workers overwhelmingly approved their new contract 4-to-1.

“The entire Bargaining Committee fought to unify the membership and reach fair agreements that reflect the hard work and sacrifices these workers have made under previous contracts. With these new agreements, Teamsters Local 710 has successfully changed the culture of labor, respect and communication at Jewel. The union is committed to ensuring our members remain protected by enforcing these contracts and all the rights that they provide,” said John T. Coli, Trustee of Local 710 and Secretary-Treasurer of Local 727.

The contracts, which expire March 6, 2021, offer substantial wage and health care improvements and other benefits, including:

  • New seniority rights with the “Heavy 80” group, providing that the top 45 percent of seniority list workers will never lose their seniority status once attained
  • Health care contributions frozen at their current rates
  • Most favored nation rights to employees’ health plan, guaranteeing that if any other Jewel bargaining unit negotiates lower rates or additional options, Local 710 members will receive the same improved benefits
  • 50 percent employer matches to workers’ 401(k) contributions up to 7 percent of an employee’s annual earnings
  • Employer-paid contributions to workers’ 401(k) plans of 50 cents an hour up to 40 hours per week during the second half of the agreements
  • Night shift premium pay increases of 25 cents an hour
  • Annual wage increases of 75 cents an hour for all workers at the top of the wage scale
  • Wage increases for other workers in progression to bring them closer to the top of the scale as contracts progress
  • New rights for all Jewel-Osco Teamsters to honor picket lines sanctioned by Teamsters Joint Council 25, including warehouse workers and drivers, and Osco pharmacists represented by Teamsters Local 727

Teamsters Local 727 is preparing to begin contract negotiations with Jewel-Osco management on a new contract for more than 500 Chicago-area pharmacists, whose current three-year contract expires May 7, 2016. The first negotiation meeting is scheduled for April 12.

Under the new Jewel warehouse agreement, management will reduce its use of third-party workers during the final three years of the contract. During the final year of the agreement, Jewel will only be able to utilize up to 55 percent of third-party hours worked in 2015. Warehouse freezer workers will receive an additional 30 cents per hour in premium pay. Contract language regarding shifts, breaks and discipline also was improved.

In the drivers’ contract, any Local 710 member who suffers a loss or suspension of a license will have their job and seniority protected for up to 13 months while on leave. Rest periods will be specified as those defined by the Department of Transportation.

All Local 710 Jewel members work out of the company’s distribution center in Melrose Park and service grocery products to all Jewel stores across the Chicago area.

Teamsters Local 710 is an affiliate of Teamsters Joint Council 25, America’s premier labor union for Chicago, Illinois and northwest Indiana.


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