Wild Oats concluded negotiations on its first contract with the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1459 in November. A majority of non-supervisory employees voted to ratify the three-year agreement earlier this month, and the process was completed when representatives of the two parties signed the contract last week.
The contract locks in annual wage increases of two percent, retroactive to last July 1 and extending through January 2021. The agreement also includes the co-op’s proposal to create a new paid vacation benefit for part-time staff who were not previously eligible. Staff will also immediately receive a ratification pay increase of between 0.75 and 1.5 percent, based on seniority.
Employees will continue to have all the benefits they previously had, including a retirement plan with matching employer contributions, paid lunch breaks, profit sharing, and a 20-25% discount on purchases. The full list of benefits is available here.
Co-op employees originally voted to have the UFCW represent them in February 2016. Negotiations began that August and the parties were assisted through much of the process by the Federal Mediation and Counseling Service.
The UFCW represents food co-op employees across the country, with co-ops in Northampton, Greenfield, and Brattleboro, Vt. also affiliated with Local 1459.