UFCW sees breakthrough at Dollar General in Missouri
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AUXVASSE, Mo. (PAI)—In a breakthrough in the fight to organize convenience store workers—some of the most-exploited workers nationwide—St. Louis-based United Food and Commercial Workers Local 655 won the first union recognition vote at a Dollar General store in the U.S., in Auxvasse, Mo., by a 2-to-1 ratio.

“We want to have our voice heard,” Dollar General worker Adam Cook told local TV reporters in the Columbia area.

Convenience and retail store workers in general, with some exceptions among individual chains, are among the most-exploited in the U.S. Not only are they at the bottom of pay scales, but the hours are erratic, and workers—especially women working solo at night—face heightened threats of violence on the job from irate customers or from criminals.

The low pay, few benefits, and lack of respect on the job fueled the union’s organizing drive, the St. Louis Labor Tribune reported.

“These hard-working men and women voted for a better life,” said Local 655 President David Cook. “They voted for the union difference, which means a voice at work, better wages and benefits, and the power of uniting with their co-workers.”

The 66 percent vote for Local 655 made that clear, Cook said. “Dollar General workers felt uniting with the union is the road to achieving the American dream of becoming a solid part of the working middle class,” he said.

“I believe this is a positive sign for Missouri when middle class workers everywhere go to the polls next year to defeat the phony ‘right-to-work (for less)’ law that ill-informed legislators are trying to force onto Missouri workers,” Cook added.

Local 655 will now reach out to Dollar General to begin negotiations. However, if true to form, the company will stall as long as they can. “We will evaluate next steps,” a Dollar General statement said after the vote. But the workers are not cowed.

“We all love working here and it’s a fun place to work, we enjoy the customers and we like Dollar General,” Price told KOMU-TV news in Columbia after the vote.

“It doesn’t hurt to have more money in our paychecks…but we (also) want to have our voice heard so that we can have a more consistent, fair competitive pay and environment to work in.”

“If an employee wants to better the lives of themselves and their co-workers, UFCW Local 655 will always be there to help,” said local Organizing Director Billy Myers, who attended the vote. “People need to stand up and believe they’re worth more.”

St. Louis Labor Tribune via PAI




Press Associates Union News Service provides national coverage of news affecting workers, including activism, politics, economics, legislation in Congress and actions by the White House, federal agencies and the courts that affect working people. Mark Gruenberg is Editor in chief and owner of Press Associates Union News Service, Washington, D.C.