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.

Jewel & Mariano’s Contracts Now Available!

Two of our largest contracts are printed and Union Reps have begun distributing at all Jewel and Mariano’s stores.

Your contract specifies in writing the precise terms of your employment as it relates to pay raises, promotions, scheduling, vacations, holiday pay, seniority rights, transfers, and more. Your contract affects virtually every aspect of your job.

Please take time to study it, ask questions of your Union Representative if there is something you don’t understand, and speak up if you see your employer not following the rules outlined by your contract.

Didn’t get one? Contact your Union Representative.

La Colombe Baristas Want a Voice in their Workplace!

Workers at four of the La Colombe locations in Chicago have recently voted UNANIMOUSLY to join Local 881.

La Colombe Baristas at Andersonville

Workers from La Colombe cafés around the country are organizing with the UFCW to gain Union Representation.

Representation elections were facilitated by the National Relations Board and held at the following La Colombe locations: Gold Coast on Jan 23, Armitage on Jan 30, Andersonville on Jan 31, and the West Loop on Feb 7. In addition, a café in Washington, DC voted in January to join UFCW Local 400.

The baristas are unionizing to improve working conditions. They are proud of what they do — they love making coffee and creating an atmosphere that customers enjoy. They believe their work deserves respect and they know that the best way to get that is with a Union.

La Colombe baristas are fighting for a Union contract that guarantees regular schedules and hours, better wages with consistent raises, adequate staffing, clear discipline policies, and grievance procedures.

“I want to be a part of Local 881 so that my coworkers and I can have a say in our workplace. I would always prefer to work where conditions have been negotiated by workers instead of decided for us by the company!”
– Daniel, La Colombe West Loop | Chicago, IL

La Colombe baristas at West Loop

If you know of worker who is ready to fight for better treatment at their workplace, have them contact a Local 881 Union Organizer to learn more about how the Union can help.

Contact: Teresa Ramirez-Gonzalez, Local 881 Director of Organizing
[email protected] | 630-254-3090

La Colombe baristas at Gold Coast
La Colombe baristas at Armitage

Mariano’s / Kroger Overpayment Deductions

Your Union has been working on your behalf to demand that the Company fix ALL the errors from their horrible new payroll system.

The Union has answered thousands of calls, opened hundreds of grievances, pursued legal avenues, and filed a formal complaint with the Department of Labor.

As a result of the Union’s pressure, the Company has agreed to take a meaningful step in addressing some of their failures, specifically regarding overpayments.

There were many members that were overpaid and then without any warning or permission the Company snatched that money back causing incredible financial chaos for our members. For those who were affected, the Company has decided to return the overpayments that were suddenly withdrawn.

If you were impacted by an overpayment and surprise withdrawal, your Manager will be contacting you very soon to let you know when and how much you will be refunded.

We will not stop fighting until every Local 881 member gets what they are entitled to. Please contact your Union Representative at 847-294-5064 when you receive this refund or if you have any questions.

The Union is here to protect both you AND your paycheck.

Ongoing Mariano’s / Kroger Payroll Issues

Local 881 Kroger and Mariano’s members have experienced numerous paycheck issues due to a new payroll system Kroger implemented this fall across all its banners. The payroll issues have impacted nearly all of its 500,000 employees, including management. Like many workers elsewhere, Local 881 members in Illinois have reported widespread payroll errors, including:

    • Not receiving paychecks
    • Paid incorrect wages
    • Not receiving contractual wage increases
    • Unlawful deduction of overpayments
    • Not paid for contractual holidays
    • Union dues being deducted incorrectly

Local 881 has attempted to work with Kroger and Mariano’s representatives to resolve these issues but has learned that the payroll problems are widespread and occurring all over the country. Local 881 has been actively taking all steps it can to bring pressure and resolution to this catastrophic failure on the part of Kroger.

Local 881 has demanded information from Kroger/Mariano’s that would provide a detailed account of all payroll periods since the new payroll system was implemented so that a thorough investigation of each and every affected member’s payroll history could be conducted. To date, that request for information has not yet been provided by the Company and Local 881 has filed unfair labor practice charges with National Labor Relations Board.

Local 881 has also filed a complaint with the Illinois Department of Labor asking for the agency to take immediate legal action to address the payroll issues, including the unlawful payroll deductions of overpayments made to employees.

Additionally, Local 881 has been in contact with the office of the Illinois Attorney General to consider its legal options, both civil and criminal, that would hold Kroger/Mariano’s accountable.

Local 881 and its attorneys are reviewing all legal options available to remedy this unbearable situation. In the meantime, Local 881 has posted a form on its website and is asking any member who has experienced a payroll issue to complete and submit the form.

Together, we will hold Kroger and Mariano’s accountable for the failures that have affected our members. We will continue to provide updates on the ongoing investigations and other actions.

On behalf of the entire staff of Local 881, please understand we are doing everything we can to resolve this situation as quickly as possible and are sorry for Kroger/Mariano’s gross negligence and unlawful conduct that has affected your families, especially at this time of year.

Sincerely, Steve Powell
President Local 881 UFCW


Local 881 Fights For You!

Frankfort Mariano’s members participate in the contract ratification vote.

These last few months your Local Union has been focused on collective bargaining for many new contracts. It cannot be overstated how critical this round of negotiations was. Over 86% of our membership was impacted by this negotiation cycle. Contracts ratified in the last quarter of 2022 included:

    • Jewel Foods (October 2022)
    • Mariano’s (October 2022)
    • Schnucks Clerks and Meat Deli Seafood (October 2022)
    • Dierbergs Clerks and Meat Deli Seafood (October 2022)
    • IBEW 21 (October 2022) and IBEW 15 (September 2022)
    • Schnuck Markets Centralia (September 2022)
    • Conagra St. Elmo (September 2022)

Negotiating a contract is never a slam dunk. There are no guarantees when you sit across the table from corporations whose only goal is to increase their bottom lines. The threat of takeaways to what we’ve already fought for is very real, but our Union has NEVER WAVERED in the mission of advocating and fighting for the hardworking members of Local 881. You might not love or agree with everything we do, but we have demonstrated over and over again that we will always have your back!

How Does the Union Fight?

Strength in Numbers

An individual employee trying to negotiate for better wages alone facing off against a powerful corporation doesn’t stand a chance. When we stand together, Local 881 can protect and improve your working conditions.

Better Wages

Increases for longest serving members: Local 881 is proud to have members with decades of service! It was a major priority to make sure that those who built the companies get rewarded for their dedication. Unions fight for job security and demand respect for seniority.

Minimum wage: Local 881’s fight for better wages also occurs outside of contract negotiations. For the past decade, Local 881 has lobbied lawmakers to demand that the incredibly low, and long-stagnated minimum wage rate be increased. Local 881 led the Labor Movement’s charge on this issue.

Fixing the system: Many of the new contracts improved wage rates for special classifications, or as in the case of Mariano’s, completely restructured the way increases would be distributed.

Better Benefits:

Besides wage increases, the contracts also kept benefit costs low, shortened wait times for eligibility, and provided new healthcare procedures in the plan.

No Takeaways

During contract negotiations concessions are always a threat. Local 881 fights to make sure nothing we have won gets stripped away.

The Union Holds the Company Accountable

Companies don’t always follow the rules. Local 881 provides protection to our members with a legally binding contract that clearly spells out what your employer can and cannot do. If your employer, whether by ignorance or intentionally, violates the contract and mismanages your pay, classification, hours, or other benefits, Local 881 can fight on your behalf to fix the situation. The grievance procedure is a powerful tool the Union uses to keep the Company in check.

Why Does the Union Fight?

Local 881 believes your hard work deserves dignity and respect. Without collective bargaining and a Union that has your back, working people have no real voice as to wages, benefits, or workplace safety. If the Union doesn’t fight, greed wins, and everyone suffers.

Why Should You Fight?

History teaches that a Union is only as strong as the activism of its members. Without you, there is no Union. Without Local 881, who will fight to protect your rights? Your willingness to stand with Local 881 is the difference between preserving your rights and losing your rights.

When we stand together, much can be
accomplished! In the coming year, come to a meeting, get involved, speak with your Union Officers or your Union Representative. Your passion, activism, and involvement will only make Local 881 stronger!

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.

Over 75 Years Of Fighting For Members

Our Proud Local 881 History​

Local 881 of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union has existed in its present form only since the early 1980s, but the roots of our local’s history paint a picture of activism, progress and concern for its members that stretches back to the Great Depression.

When the National Labor Relations Act was passed in 1935, it established the right of workers to organize in Unions of their own choice and to bargain collectively with employers. Self-service supermarkets with an average of five to seven employees began opening all over. As self-service grew more acceptable and popular, the staff of some food stores rose to as many as 25, with full-timers supplemented by part-time help. The need for collective bargaining and representation soon became apparent, and Unions assumed the role of a stabilizing force in the food industry.

Another change came in 1947 when the Taft-Hartley Act made both Unions and management accountable to the federal government. That same year, a new independent Labor Union called the Jewel Food Store Employees Union (JFSEU) was established and certified. Later, the Union was renamed the United Retail Workers Union (URW). The membership totals of the Union increased by 4,000 in 1959. The staff at this time was only 12 people strong.

As the Union began to grow, in 1960, a young man named Ron Powell began working at the Jewel Tea Company in DeKalb, Illinois. It was there that he discovered his passion for worker justice. Even though he was working as a manager for the Company, Ron strongly believed in what the Union was fighting for. Ron was so committed he even held Union meetings in his home. He led the first and only recognition strike against the company. After a month of picketing, the Union won a fair contract. When the strike ended, Ron left Jewel and followed his calling to help give a voice on the job to workers by joining the staff as a Union Representative. Over the years, Ron had a tremendous impact on the Union as he moved up through various leadership positions and ultimately served as Local 881 President.

The mid-1960s brought more major changes to the retail food industry and, as a result, the URW was sought out by store employees for representation. Though the 60s were stable years for the Union, the URW continued to strive to achieve more benefits for its members. As the 1970s approached, membership grew to 6,000, staff was expanded, and a non-foods division was created.

In August 1981, the URW affiliated with the United Food and Commercial Workers to become Local 881 UFCW. The numbers 8-8-1 represent our official charter date, August of 1981 as a UFCW Local Union.

In 1983, Ron Powell became President of Local 881. Ron led Local 881 through periods of growth and times of challenge. Ron has been a fierce advocate for Local 881 members and has gone to the mat for them when facing their employers. For example, in 1984, Jewel Foods illegally cut the wages of their workforce, as much as $1.25 an hour! Despite having 40% of the market share at the time, they were nervous about other companies coming into the area. As Jewel often does they overreacted, and wanted the Union to agree to concessions and takeaways. Local 881 flat out refused. Jewel went ahead and unilaterally enacted drastic wage cuts in direct violation of the contract. Local 881 fought back. After a long 18-month battle in federal court, the Union won the judgement and ultimately restored the wage rates and back pay for the affected 15,000 members.

In the late 1980s, several other UFCW Locals from around the state merged into Local 881, including Local 1696 (Springfield), Local 35 (Wood River/Alton), Local 219 (Belleville), Local 229 (Collinsville), Local 304-R (Edwardsville), and Local 1550 (Chicago). By 1989, Local 881 was the largest UFCW Local Union in Illinois, in the United States, and in our International Union.

In 2002, a new threat to our members came after Safeway bought Dominick’s. The new ownership launched a massive campaign with the intent to gut the collective bargaining agreement and restrict workplace rights that had been in place for decades. The 9,000 members of Local 881 and our sister local overwhelmingly voted to reject the regressive contract proposal offered by the company and authorized a strike. The company backed down and resumed bargaining with the UFCW and a fair contract was ultimately achieved.

Fighting for members at the bargaining table, but also in the halls of government became an important priority for Local 881. The Union has never underestimated the importance of legislative and political action, especially supporting candidates who put the interests of working families first and helping to craft legislation that improves the lives of workers or blocks efforts to harm them. Local 881 fights to protect workers and their families by opposing anti-worker legislation and supporting pro-worker bills at the local, state, and national levels. Local 881 also supports political candidates – regardless of party affiliation – who promote the rights of workers and the interests of our members. It’s not the politician’s party that is important, it’s how they will vote on issues Local 881 members are most concerned about!

Over the years, Local 881 has been proud to support and lead coalitions on important initiatives that have lifted the rights of workers across our state, most notably: Increasing the Minimum Wage, Sick Time, Fair Scheduling, Workers’ Rights Amendment, Expanding the Earned Income Credit, and establishing an equitable and professional cannabis industry.

Since 2012, Local 881 has been on the forefront of bringing the Cannabis Industry to Illinois. The Union lobbied for the passage of the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program (HB 1), and then later for the Adult-Use Recreational laws (SB 316/HB 2353). Our goal was to influence the law so that the workers in this emerging industry would have the ability to unionize, have a voice in their workplace, and be protected. Local 881 is proud to have organized and negotiated the first Cannabis contracts in the state and have since added hundreds of cannabis workers to our ranks.

Today, over 34,000 Local 881 members work throughout Northern Illinois (including the metropolitan and suburban Chicago area), Central and Southern Illinois, and Northwest Indiana.  Local 881 represents members employed by a wide variety of grocery, retail, food processing, cannabis, service, and professional offices and facilities. 

Whether you have been a member for a few months or a few decades, we are proud to be your Union Representative and your voice on the job. Whether it’s a question about your pay rate, your classification,  or the contract, we are here to help you and it is a privilege to be at your service! Please contact your Union Representative at 847-294-5064 with any workplace concern.