Local 663 Seward Co-op Workers Stick Together & Win Interpretation Credit


Local 663 Members Develop Interpretation Credit Framework through Labor Management Committee at Seward Community Cooperative

In 2017, workers at Seward Community Cooperative organized and chose to come together as UFCW Local 663 for better wages, benefits and working conditions. Through wins gained through the strength of their current union contract, workers reap the benefits of their hard work. Here’s one story of a groundbreaking benefit that UFCW Local 663 union members worked together on to solve through a Labor Management Committee. They are living proof of the Union Difference.

Interpretation is Work

Interpretation is work, and communication is power. Co-op workers are able to better serve their customers when they can communicate effectively to meet their needs. Recognizing this, UFCW Local 663 members at Seward Community Cooperative won contract language that rewards language skills with raises.

The contract language states: Employees who are fluent in English and another language (Amharic, Oromo, Spanish, Somali, Hmong and ASL) who provide improved customer service shall receive one (1) years’ service credit (.50 cents) on their wage progression.

Misra Abubaker, UFCW 663 member at Seward Community Co-op, is happy about the new contract language. “I’m excited for the interpretation credit we won through collective bargaining. It’s important to be recognized for my interpretation skills at the coop. I speak Somali, Oromo, Amharic, and English. In the Seward neighborhood, there is a large community of East Africans. Every day that I’m at work, I see the joy it brings to our customers to see someone that looks like them and speaks their language.”

Labor Management Committee Builds Framework

UFCW Local 663’s contract with Seward also has language for a Labor Management Committee, aka “LMC”. The LMC is a group of workers represented by UFCW Local 663 union members and management representatives. The LMC is another example of contract language that UFCW members at Seward won that can build better work-lives through providing an additional space where workers and management come together to solve workplace issues.

The LMC was charged with building the framework for the interpretation credit. They took a thorough and thoughtful approach on each item to ensure decisions made follow their contract and work well for workers, management, and the co-op.

The outline for Seward’s Interpretation Credit is below:

  • This service credit may be paid to employees who self-identify and who are primarily (or are readily available to) assist customers on the sales floors of Seward locations.
  • Requests to receive the interpretation premium will go through a department manager and receive approval from the unit manager and HR.
  • One year of service credit given on wage progression scale. Seniority level will remain the same. Service credit will be given regardless of employee’s position on the wage scale whether on top or above scale, they will receive a .50 pay increase.
  • Interpretation credit will be retroactive back to contract ratification date August 20, 2018 or 30 days after date of hire whichever is later.

UFCW Local 663 union members at Seward work hard and deserve these wins for themselves and their coworkers. At the same time, these types of wins help to shape and lift up the entire grocery industry. Workers flexed their collective muscle and won by sticking together as a union and using their contract to uphold their rights at work. Congrats Seward 663 members!

You may also like