To All Local 1459 Members,
Local 1459 was busy in 2021! This past year was once again defined by COVID-19’s impact on our families and coworkers. Our entire membership was affected by the pandemic which presented another hurdle on top of grievances and arbitration, political outreach and organizing new bargaining units. So, as we begin 2022 here is UFCW Local 1459’s year in review:
- This fall, Local 1459 held its annual Charity Golf Tournament at Tekoa Country Club in Westfield to raise funds for local charities and Local 1459’s annual Santa’s Help holiday toy drive that helped close to 100 UFCW families this holiday season.
- In July, Local 1459 awarded scholarships to members and their children heading to college this fall. Congratulations to this years’ winners: Jacob Girouard, Collin Kendra, Evan Manioudakis, Joseph Philpott Jr., Antonio Russo, and Ryan Sweeney.
- The City of Chicopee public workers held a standout at city hall on two separate occasions as part of their ongoing fight for retention pay.
- UFCW Local 1459 along with its sister Locals have begun bargaining a new 3-year contract with Stop & Shop.
- This year, one of our major legislative focuses was the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act) that would strengthen unions by updating our out-of-date labor laws to make forming a union easier for all workers.
- UFCW Locals 328, 371, 791, 1445 and 1459, in partnership with the Legislative and Political Action Department, lobbied state legislators to pass American Rescue Plan Act in support of essential workers.
- Union representatives kept busy with grievances and arbitrations this year despite pandemic conditions.
- One of a union’s primary functions is making sure members are paid what they have earned. Unfortunately, in 2021 there were no shortages of grievance and arbitration proceedings to settle contract disputes or violations. The good news is we were able to settle these disputes, winning safer working conditions and over $200,000 in back pay for our members over the past year and a half.
Several bargaining units organized with Local 1459 for the first time in 2021.
- Green Thumb Industries – Cultivators at Green Thumb Industries grow facility in Holyoke, MA organized and ratified their first contract.
- Springfield Food Co-op – Grocery workers in Springfield, VT organized and joined several other food cooperatives represented by Local 1459.They are currently in the process of negotiating their first contract.
- Berkshire Roots – Cultivators at Berkshire Roots grow facility in Pittsfield, MA successfully organized and became the second unit of cannabis to be represented by Local 1459. Workers are in the process of negotiating their first contract.
- J.P. McCarthy (Quabbin) – School bus drivers servicing the Quabbin School District were voluntarily recognized by their employer, joining other J.P. McCarthy drivers in Western MA already represented by Local 1459.
Finally, congratulations to the numerous bargaining units who voted to ratify their new contracts in 2021!
During the coming year we expect even more action in organized labor! The country as a whole has seen a sustained insurgency in union activity since the added pandemic related stress has made working more difficult for everyone. Looking forward at 2022, Local 1459 will continue to fight for strong contracts and working conditions that reflect our member’s right to dignity and respect on the job.
Your Union Representatives at Local 1459