2023 Highlights: What Your Union Accomplished For You

A Message from Local 881 President Steve Powell.

As we are beginning the New Year, we want to look back and give you the highlights of what Local 881 was doing for you in 2023! 

Putting out the Payroll Dumpster Fire

Local 881 members faced incredible hardships during 2023 due to significant payroll mistakes at the hands of their employers. Many Mariano’s and Kroger members had paychecks go missing or incurred surprise unlawful repayments. Other members saw errors in benefit deductions, miscalculations of vacation pay, or incorrect processing of Union Dues.

Local 881 Representatives fielded thousands of calls and worked diligently to correct these errors. The Reps focused much of the year on getting our members their money back and holding the employers accountable. I hope this experience has been a wake-up call. Watch your paycheck and tell the Union if you see an error. The Union is here to protect both you AND your paycheck.

Nearly $1 million Recovered for Local 881 Members

We saw a huge increase in Grievances related to the payroll errors. As a result, the yearly totals for recovered pay for our members may be our highest amount ever.

Check out the recent 881 Progress newsletter to read the latest grievances.

Remember, the Local 881 Grievance Procedure holds your company accountable and puts money owed to members back where it belongs—in the hands of the workers! When in doubt, call the Union! 

Let’s Go! Return to Popular Member Events!

This year, Local 881 returned to in-person events! In the spring, the popular 25-year Anniversary Celebrations were welcomed back with open arms by the membership. In addition, after a four-year hiatus, our annual Steward Educational Conferences were resumed. 

New Faces to Better Serve Members

After retirements and changes, 2023 saw an influx of 10 new hires to Local 881 staff. We are strategically adding staff so that knowledge and expertise can be passed on and service to the members never wavers. 

A Bigger, Stronger, & More Powerful Union

Huge victories were won in our 2023 Organizing Campaigns. Early in the year, four separate La Colombe Coffee locations in Chicago voted UNANIMOUSLY to join Local 881. It is difficult enough to win a Union election but getting ALL the workers in a location to vote ‘Union Yes’ is rare—four locations is unheard of. Not only do these wins point to the new wave of workers standing up for themselves, but it also gives Local 881 a strong foothold in the retail coffee industry.

More recently, on November 1st, Curaleaf workers at the cannabis cultivation center in Litchfield, Illinois also voted to be represented by Local 881. Workers were encouraged by other Local 881 members to join our Union to improve their workplace. This is the second cultivation center added to our Union. 

Getting it Done at the Bargaining Table

We were pleased to finish several contracts this year, including new agreements for workers at Osco Pharmacy, and Schnucks and Kroger locations. In addition, Windy City Cannabis workers in Homewood and Posen, and Consume Cannabis workers in Marion were able to vote to ratify their very first Union Contract. With this addition, our number of Local 881-represented cannabis work locations up to nine!

Getting Policies in Place that Help Members & the Community!

Local 881 worked closely with the sponsors and led labor advocacy for the Illinois Grocery Initiative. A first-of-its-kind $20 million program to put three Union grocery stores in designated food deserts across the state.

Local 881 also advocated for the passage of the Paid Leave for All Workers Act, which establishes a minimum of 5 paid days off for all Illinois workers each year.

Considering the current challenges in the world, we have much to be grateful for. We know that when we stand together, much can be accomplished!

We are committed to continue building this Union for the benefit of our membership!

On behalf of Local 881’s Leadership, Executive Board, and Staff, we wish you and your family a happy and healthy Holiday Season and a prosperous New Year!