As an employee in a private sector bargaining unit, you are represented by UFCW Local 1459.  If you are a new employee or not, this may be the first time you have been represented by a union and you may have some questions as to what this means to you.

Union representation means that Local 1459 on your behalf negotiates and administers a legally binding contract known as a collective bargaining agreement that sets forth your wages, benefits, hours, and all your working conditions.  Because all employees negotiate together through the union, union members receive higher wages and better benefits than non-union workers doing comparable jobs

Local 1459 represents approximately 5,000 members throughout western Massachusetts.  We represent employees retail, transit, public sector, human services, as well as health care industries.  Local 1459 is chartered by the UFCW International Union, one of the largest unions in the AFL-CIO, representing over 1.3 million members in the United States and Canada.  The UFCW continues to grow by winning state and federal organizing elections and adapting to changes in today’s society.

Local 1459 prides itself on the level of service provided to our members and nonmembers of the bargaining unit.  Not only are you represented by the rank and file stewards in the workplace but also by the local union’s full-time union representatives, who are assigned to service your work location.  The union representative of Local 1459 are directed by the President and are responsible for assisting stewards, handling grievances and complaints, while enforcing the union’s contract in the workplace.

Local 1459 is a non-profit organization that exists for social and economic justice for all workers that we represent. Undeniably, it takes money to carry out all of the functions and responsibilities to run a Local on behalf of the workers we represent.  Your membership dues are used for salaries of office staff and representatives, offices, equipment, postage, legal fees, supplies printing and the UFCW International Union as a per capita tax.  Union members have to approve every dollar spent and the union is required by law to account for all income and expenditures.

Money you pay in dues helps maintain the durability needed to win successful union contracts.  Union members pay dues for the same like-minded reason that churches, charities, foundations, professional associations and clubs pay dues.  It costs money to run, defend and promote the interests of the membership.  Union membership dues are payable weekly or monthly and may be deducted from your pay or billed directly.

Dues/Agency Fee

If you work in the private sector in a state such as Massachusetts where union shop  agreements are permitted and you are working under a UFCW contract containing a union security clause you are required, as a condition of employment, to pay membership dues or, if you choose not to join as a non-member you are permitted by law to pay a reduced amount of membership dues (commonly known as Agency fee or reduced payer fee) which is germane to the collective bargaining process.

For all Part-time and Full-time employees the agency fee for the most recent accounting period, calendar year 2021, is 88.88% of your regular dues.

The agency fee reflects your share of the Union’s expenditures for collective bargaining, grievances and arbitrations, contract administration and representation, as well as other matters germane to collective bargaining and that may inure to the benefit of employees in your bargaining unit.

Expenditures in the following categories of activity have been treated as chargeable in calculating the agency fee:

1. Gathering information from employees concerning collective bargaining proposals.

2. Gathering information in preparation for the negotiation of collective bargaining agreements.

3. Negotiating collective bargaining agreements.

4. Adjusting grievances and conducting arbitrations pursuant to collective bargaining agreements.

5. Conducting ratification proceedings for negotiated agreements.

6. Providing information on negotiations, or on provisions in collective bargaining agreements, as well as on matters relating to representation in the collective bargaining process and contract administration.

7. Purchasing books, reports, and advance sheets used in matters relating to representation in the collective bargaining process and contract administration.

8. Paying technicians and professionals in labor law, economics, and other subjects for services used in (a) negotiating and administering collective bargaining agreements, and (b) processing grievances and conducting arbitrations.

9. Opposing efforts by other unions or organizing committees to gain representation rights in units represented by the Union.

10. Participating in proceedings regarding the jurisdiction of the Union.

11. Publishing those portions of newspapers and newsletters which relate to bargaining and representation.

12. Participating in lawful impasse procedures, and fact finding, mediation, arbitration, and economic action intended to secure favorable collective bargaining agreements and favorable resolution of grievances.

13. Prosecuting and defending litigation or charges before administrative agencies relating to ratification, interpretation, or enforcement of collective bargaining agreements.

14. Supporting and paying affiliation fees to UFCW and subordinate bodies of the UFCW to the extent that such support and fees have been determined by UFCW to be germane to the Union’s representational activities.

15. Prosecuting and defending litigation or charges relating to concerted activity, the duty of fair representation and collective bargaining, as well as collective bargaining agreements and any other chargeable activities.

16. Providing social and recreational activities open to all represented employees.

17. Organizing in support of collective bargaining in labor markets where UFCW already represents workers.

18. Governing the Union, and conducting union elections.

19. Conducting general membership meetings and conventions.

In calculating the agency fee, the Union did not include any share of expenditures relating to a number of activities, including the following:

1. Training in or actual voter registration, get-out-vote, and political campaigns.

2. Supporting and contributing to charitable organizations.

3. Supporting and contributing to political organizations and candidates for public office.

4. Supporting and contributing to ideological causes and committees.

5. Supporting and contributing to activities relating to foreign affairs.

6. Providing benefits available only to members.

7. Litigation not related to collective bargaining or to the Union’s function as an exclusive representative.

By choosing to be a non- member/reduce fee payer you will lose the following rights:

1.)   To participate in the development of contract proposals or accept or reject the terms of your contract.

2.)    To attend union membership meetings or nominate and vote for union officers

3.)   To attend UFCW International Union Convention as a delegate

4.)   To participate in union member discount programs including; free college tuition for union members and family members, low interest union credit card, legal service plan, travel and insurance benefits and movie and amusement park plans.

In considering these important matters, we believe that the more workers who elect full union membership, the greater our strength to improve your wages, hours, and other working conditions through collective bargaining with your employer.  We strongly encourage you to participate in the Union and maintain your membership.  Nevertheless, Local 1459 continue to represent all workers in the bargaining unit fairly

If you nonetheless choose to be a non-member, submit a letter to the following address or send an e-mail that includes your name, home address, last four digits of your social security number, employer, work location, department and job title.

Dean Ethier, Secretary-Treasurer
UFCW Local 1459
33 Eastland Street
Springfield, MA 01109

Or an e-mail to:

Workers can choose to have their membership dues or reduced payer fee either by authorizing a weekly deduction from your pay or by paying the Union directly or by sending your monthly payment on or before the first of the month, every month to the address above.

Also available upon written request to the above address or e-mail addresses, non-member/reduced fee payers will be provided with a copy of the Union’s calculation of expenditures for chargeable and nonchargeable activities based on our most recent accounting period.

You also have the right to challenge the amount of the agency fee.   If you file a challenge, the Union will place into an interest-bearing escrow account the portion of the agency fees collected from you that is reasonably in dispute.

The Union participates in a procedure through the Labor Relations Connection under which a reasonably prompt decision will be rendered by an independent decision-maker on all challenges to the amount of the agency fee. The Arbitrator will be selected by the Labor Relations Connection. All challenges will be consolidated for a single hearing. The Arbitrator will have authority to determine if the amount of the agency fee is correct and to order any adjustments therein, if necessary, and to order that the funds being held in the interest-bearing escrow account be distributed in accordance with the Arbitrator’s opinion. The arbitration will be scheduled and conducted in accordance with the Labor Relations Connection’s rules and regulations. The Arbitrator’s fees and expenses will be paid by the Union. If you file a challenge you may be represented at the arbitration hearing, but will be responsible for your own expenses for representation at the hearing.  If you wish to challenge the calculation of your agency fee as described above, you must do so in writing by mailing notice of your challenge to the Union’s Secretary/Treasurer at the address above. Include a statement of the amount of the reduction sought and the reasons such reduction is warranted.  You should include your name, address and employer, as well as the word “challenge.”  Your challenge must be postmarked no later than 30 days after receiving this notice.

Need an Application? Click HERE.

Dean Ethier, Secretary-Treasurer
UFCW Local 1459