2023 Stewards Conference

Reconnecting With Our Incredible Stewards

On Tuesday, September 12th, we had our annual Steward Conference at Gibson’s Steakhouse in Oak Brook. Among the bright greetings from our Officers and the excited faces of the Stewards, we had an informative and entertaining Conference planned.

We strongly believe our Stewards are one of our Union’s most important assets. Every day they help answer questions about their contracts and provide valuable information to their coworkers. They are a critical link between the Union and our members.  Each year, Local 881 invests time and resources to help train and educate our dedicated Stewards.

Important Topics of Discussion

This year, we had several important topics of discussion. Local 881’s Organizing team highlighted the very successful La Colombe Coffee and Windy City Cannabis campaign victories. Their dedication to fighting for the rights of workers and success in doing so is something we celebrated together at the conference.

The Local 881 Collective Bargaining Team walked Stewards through the ins an outs of negotiating new contracts as well as contract renewals. They highlighted the important role Stewards play in sharing contract feedback from members with the Union.

Stewards also heard from Jonathan Karmel, Local 881’s Chief Legal Counsel. Jon explained the ways the Union is supported and protected by having legal guidance during organizing campaigns, collective bargaining, and grievances.

Our President addressed the “elephant in the room”, the Merger with Kroger and Albertson’s. He answered questions from Steward members and helped provide more information and insight into what we know and what our goals are.

Fun, Games, and Prizes!

Aside from the important information that was exchanged and celebrated during the Conference. We also had lots of fun playing lots of different games! Our Communications department orchestrated and created fun interactive games such as “Pick Three” and “Meet Your New Union Representatives”. A $50 Visa Gift card was raffled off and all Stewards took home Union buttons and their own Yeti cups as a thank you and appreciation for their hard work!

Celebrating Our Wonderful Stewards

To conclude the Steward Conference, we took our time to celebrate our Stewards. We all gave a round of applause for their service, their hard work, and their continued perseverance to help the workers. We enjoyed a wonderful lunch at Gibson’s, chatting and reconnecting after a 4-year hiatus due to COVID. We had drinks and good conversation at the open bar, as well as the monumental desserts that were shared with everyone. 

Thank you to all our Stewards who were able to attend the 2023 Conference! Local 881 is proud to have hosted you and celebrated all your hard work.

Want to be a part of the fun next year? Learn about what it takes to be a Local 881 Steward! Contact your Union Representative to learn more. 

To see more photos of the event, visit our photo gallery.

Tentative Agreement for Osco Members In The Mail!

Voting ballots should be arriving in member mailboxes.

Every eligible Osco member was mailed the document and have the opportunity to consider the Tentative Agreement Offer and then cast a vote. The members alone will decide the outcome. Your Local Union is committed to making sure the voting process is administered in the most efficient, democratic, and equitable manner possible. 

Please review the Tentative Agreement and return your ballot to the union no later than Thursday, Sep 28! 

I heard we are getting…

Rumors can spread like wild fire. Don’t make a decision based on information that may be false or inaccurate. Wait to see the Tentative Agreement and read for yourself. Then cast your vote!

Should you have any questions we continue to be at your service and invite you to contact your Union Representative at 847-294-5064 to discuss any concerns you have.

Recent Merger Announcements

For nearly a year Kroger, the parent company of Mariano’s, has been working toward a merger with Albertsons, the parent company of Jewel-Osco. They have been actively trying to get this deal approved by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and other government agencies.

A national merger on this scale is extremely complicated and requires scrutiny to make sure it does not harm the workers and the public. Local 881’s chief concern, from day one, has been to protect the members of Local 881 and their families. Most importantly, if the merger is approved, we want to protect your jobs and have our existing contracts honored.

A national merger on this scale is extremely complicated and requires scrutiny to make sure it does not harm the workers and the public. Local 881’s chief concern, from day one, has been to protect the members of Local 881 and their families. Most importantly, if the merger is approved, we want to protect your jobs and have our existing contracts honored.

It is still a waiting game to see whether the FTC will actually approve the merger and the plan to sell stores to C&S. Until then, nothing has been set in stone and the merger may not happen.

In the meantime, Local 881 will continue to actively monitor this situation. If there is a merger, we will continue to insist that any new owner of any sold stores honor the contracts and commit to keeping any stores open and Union.

Please know Local 881’s top priority is to protect YOUR jobs and contracts. Now more than ever, we need to stand together! If you have questions on the merger or any other concern, please call your Union Representative at 847-294-5064. It is Local 881’s privilege to be at your service.

2023 Scholarship Winners

Meet Local 881 Charitable Foundation Scholarship Winners

Alexander Lauinger

Overall Excellence
$4,000 award

Alexander is a member at Jewel 10090 (#3198) in Huntley, IL. Alexander is the recipient of the Overall Excellence award and received a $4,000 scholarship. Alexander will be a Freshman at University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign, studying Computer Science.

Union Representative: Chris Femal

Karan Shetty

Northern Illinois
$1,000 award

Karan is a son of Vijaya Shetty, a member at Jewel 6215 (#4047) in Downers Grove, IL. Karan was the recipient of the Northern Illinois award and received a $1,000 scholarship. He will be a Sophomore at Benedictine University, studying Health Sciences.

Union Representative: Joyce Johnson

Anthony Cortes

Southern Illinois
$1,000 award

Anthony is a member at Kroger in Harrisburg, IL. Anthony is the recipient of the Southern Illinois award and received a $1,000 scholarship. He will be a Junior at University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign, studying Biochemistry.

Union Representative: Wesley Tartt

Arianna Winchell

$1,000 award

Arianna a daughter of  Dionne M. Winchell, a member at Jewel 716 (#3096) in Munster, IN. Arianna was the recipient of the Indiana award and received a $1,000 scholarship. She will be a Senior at Indiana University – Bloomington studying Nursing.

Union Representative: Jasmine Villada

Four students were awarded academic scholarships by the UFCW Local 881 Charitable Foundation in June 2023. Scholarships were awarded based on regions throughout Illinois, with an additional Overall Excellence award given to the student with the highest score across all regions. Recipients were chosen based on academic excellence, extracurricular activities, community service, and a written essay that demonstrated knowledge of a labor-related topic.

“Local 881 is proud to recognize these students for their outstanding academic and community achievements,” said Steve Powell, President, Local 881 and UFCW International Vice President. “Not only are they top-notch students, they also represent the labor community positively.  I feel that our future is in good hands with these students who will contribute great things to our world. Best wishes to all of the scholarship winners and their families. A special thanks to our judges who did an outstanding job of reviewing and scoring each of the applications carefully.”

Local 881 prides itself on having a completely independent review process. We invite judges from outside our organization to review the applications and select the winners. This year, the judges included:

Dr. Jennifer Clark,
Lake County Board Member and Assistant Professor of Economics at Carthage College

Cathy Howe,
Retired, Representative and Executive Board Member Local 881 UFCW

Kevin B. Morrison,
Cook County Commissioner, 15th District

Congratulations to the winners and best wishes for the school year!

Information regarding the 2024 UFCW Local 881 Charitable Foundation Scholarship Program will be coming soon. 

Labor Day Is About You Having A Voice

Utilize Your Union This Labor Day To Fight for Your Rights!

Labor Day celebrates the strength, hard work, sacrifice, and dedication of people who are often overlooked: workers! As proud Union members we know Labor Day is more than just about a barbeque. The holiday is dedicated to the voice we are given by the right to unionize so we can fight for our rights in the workplace. Labor Day is about the rights of workers and the power we have when we stand together!

We asked Local 881 UFCW Union Representative Markeisha Marshall about the importance of Labor Day. 

She explains how Labor Day is important for Unions because we need to “celebrate all the positive changes that have occurred in the workforce while also honoring our members.” Members should know that “their hard work is valuable, and their voice deserves to be heard.” Finally, we asked Markeisha what members should know about their Union. She responded, “Local 881 values our members and we do not hesitate to speak on their behalf to ensure our members have a voice in the workplace.”

The Union is Here for YOU

Local 881 believes the work you do matters. Local 881 Union Representatives are here to work for you, the workers, NOT your employers. We listen to your concerns, fight grievances, and help advocate for you!

Our Union staff extends past the Union Representatives who you see on a regular basis.

·         Local 881’s Political Team helps to advance worker-friendly legislation and support elected leaders who fight for the concerns of our members.

·         Local 881’s Organizing Team helps to grow our Union’s numbers by engaging new members.

·         Local 881’s Collective Bargaining Team are fighting to improve our Union Contracts.

·         The Local 881 Membership Service Center is available to answer all your dues and membership status related questions.

·         The Local 881 Communications Team is working to improve your access to current and useful information, updates, and education.

·         The Local 881 Accounting Team is working to ensure our Union is fiscally responsible and meets all of our fiduciary obligations. And, finally,

·         The Local 881 Leadership Team is responsible for all activities of our Local Union and setting the vision and priorities for our Union’s future.

Please know that this entire Local Union staff stands with you and exists to fight for YOUR rights! The entire Local 881 Staff is committed to ensuring that your voices are heard in the workplace!

What You Can Do

As a Local 881 Union member, you have a voice in the workplace—and we want you to take advantage of it! Open your Union contracts! Read carefully, ask questions, and understand your rights and benefits. Local 881 works hard to ensure that we negotiate the best contracts possible for our members. Please take a moment to see the result of your voices and our hard work.

Come to a Local or Area meeting (insert what page that will be available on) to meet with your leadership. Read your mail, keep aware of upcoming contract negotiations, and make your voice heard during ratification. Talk with your Union Representative to Vote in upcoming elections. Get connected, visit local881ufcw.org often or follow us on our social media accounts to stay informed and updated. Tell your coworkers and family about why you are a proud Local 881 member. These are just a few ways in which you can become an active Local 881 member.

This Labor Day, remember what the true meaning of the day is—honoring workers. The continuing fight for worker’s rights belongs to all of us. It is imperative, now more than ever, for us to stand up for our rights and fight for what we believe in. Being an active and engaged Union member is one of the best ways to truly honor Labor Day.