Answering Your Questions About a Strike

Others

December 13th, 2021

Yesterday, Fred Meyer learned that UFCW Local 555 had obtained strike authorization from its members.

We have heard that many of you are disappointed with this decision. We are also hearing about some union activity, including discussing the possibility of a strike with associates. We hope the union will not take this course of action.

We understand that a potential work stoppage creates uncertainties for you and your family. We want you to know your rights and options, should the union call for a strike. Here are some frequently asked questions.

What if I want to work? Do I have to stand on the picket line if there is a strike?

No. The union cannot force anyone to go on strike.  You have the legal right to cross any picket lines and continue working.  You get to decide what is best for you and your family. This decision is entirely at an associate’s discretion. Your store leader has more information on your rights during a strike, including if you want to continue to work during a work stoppage.

If a picket line appears at our store, can associates cross the picket line and work?

Yes. The choice to come to work or to honor a legal picket line is up to the associate. All associates have the right to decide for themselves if they would like to continue working during a strike and whether to cross a picket line.  This is not up to the company or the union. The choice is yours.

Can the union fine associates for crossing a picket line?

Yes. If an associate is a union member when he or she chooses to cross the picket line, it is possible that the union could fine the associate for doing so. One way to avoid potential fines, charges, or disciplinary action from the union for crossing a picket line is to resign from the union before crossing. It is important that you understand that the decision of whether to resign from the union is yours alone.

Can associates resign from the union to avoid potentially being fined?

Yes. To avoid potential fines from the union for crossing a picket line, associates have the legal right to resign from the union and continue to work. If an associate resigns from the union before crossing any picket line and provides proper notice of resignation to the union, the union cannot fine the associate for crossing the picket line.

What should I do if I want to resign from the union, so I can work during a strike without being fined?

  • To resign, you may provide a signed and dated notice of resignation to the union. You may deliver the notice to the union office in person, send it to the union by facsimile (fax) or mail it to the union (by certified mail or regular mail).  If an associate provides the notice by facsimile or certified mail, he or she can obtain a confirmation of the union’s receipt of the notice.  An associate may wish to keep a copy of the notice, and of any confirmation of the union’s receipt of it, for his or her records.

UFCW Local 555

Mailing address: PO Box 23555 Tigard, OR 97281-3555

Physical Address: 7095 SW Sandburg Street Tigard, OR. 97223

Fax number: 503-620-3816

  • The notice does not have to be lengthy or detailed.  It can simply identify the date and who you are, and state, for example: “I resign from the union effective immediately.” Your store leader has a sample resignation form.
  • It is important that you understand that the decision to resign from the union is yours alone. The company can neither encourage nor discourage you in this decision. Nor can the union lawfully threaten you or prohibit you from resigning from the union if that’s what you decide to do. The choice is yours.

When is a resignation from the union effective?

If an associate hand delivers his or her notice to the union office, the resignation is effective immediately upon delivery. If the notice is sent by fax, the resignation is effective immediately upon confirmation that the transmission of the fax to the union’s fax line is completed.  If the notice is sent by mail (certified or regular), the resignation is effective at 12:01 a.m. on the day after the notice is postmarked.

If I resign from my union membership and work, will I get fired after a contract is voted in?  

No.  Any claim otherwise is false.  It is also an unlawful threat if the union is telling you this.  If you work during a strike and/or resign your union membership, you will not be fired after the strike ends or after there is a new contract.  You will be covered by any new contract just like everyone else, including union supporters.

If I continue to work during a strike and cross the picket, will I receive the same pay and benefits or get fewer benefits when a contract is voted in?

  • Yes. Your pay and benefits will be the same.  If the union tells you otherwise, they are wrong. During a strike, you can work your scheduled hours without fear of retaliation by the union.
  • You will also have the same wages and benefits under any new contract as those who went on strike, including vacation, healthcare, and retirement benefits and access to the grievance/arbitration terms.

What happens to my benefits if I decide to strike?

  • Associates participating in a strike would not receive employer contributions to their pension or health care benefits that are tied to hours worked.
  • Associates participating in a strike may jeopardize future coverage based on eligibility rules like hours requirements. For example, if an associate chooses to strike and isn’t working, there would be no hours recorded for the time they are on strike and their future eligibility for health care benefits could be at risk.

If I choose to strike, will my weekly health care contributions still come out of my paycheck?

You will not have a paycheck if you are on strike. Once you return to work, you will have “retroactive” deductions for health care coverage taken out of your paycheck.

Who should I contact if I have more questions about my rights?

Any questions that associates may have regarding rights under federal labor law may be directed to the National Labor Relations Board at www.nlrb.gov. The National Labor Relations Board is a neutral government agency responsible for the administration and enforcement of the National Labor Relations Act