Friday, November 27, 2009


The UFCW - Local 5 and several community organizations have embarked on the Justice for Mercado Workers Campaign to empower Latino and Asian supermarket workers through labor organizing activities. Coalition members provide expertise not only in the field of workplace issues but also on issues of housing, civil rights, taxes, immigration and healthcare. This comprehensive approach to union organizing provides workers with important tools to improve the lives of their families.

Employees may experience difficult situations due to the lack of proper meal and rest breaks, poverty wages, verbal or psychological abuse. Benefits such as paid vacations and holidays, medical coverage, and defined pension plans — are practically non existing. Also, overtime and double-time pay violations are common occurrences. For the most part, non-union mercados do not offer competitive wages or benefits like those enjoyed by UFCW members.

A significant number of the estimated 30,000 California mercado workers labor in the Bay Area. Most mercado workers are recent immigrants from Latin American and Asia.

Seminars, forums and rallies are often organized by the Coalition to persuade local mercado operators, legislators, and the public in general about the benefits of having unionized mercado workers in our communities. The Coalition seeks to achieve its goals by implementing both Collective Bargaining Agreements and the Mercado Code of Conduct.

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