The Benefits of a Union Contract

At UFCW Local 342, we’ve helped workers from all over New York and New Jersey negotiate for increased wages, improved working conditions, and benefits like healthcare and retirement packages.

Have you ever wondered what benefits might be available to you if you had a union that could help you negotiate a fair contract for your workplace? If so, here are a few of the benefits that our members often incorporate in their contracts.


All employees, both full-time and part-time, and in all classifications, receive regular wage increases each year for the duration of the contract, which is usually three to four years.


All employees are classified and a complete description of their job duties and responsibilities is negotiated. All employees are paid fairly and properly for their skills


All employees are paid time and a half their hourly rate in overtime for hours worked over eight (8) hours per day or forty (40) hours per week.

Breaks and schedules

All employees are entitled to lunch periods and breaks depending on how many hours worked in a day.

Healthcare Benefit

All employees will be offered affordable health care benefits through the employer.

Retirement Benefit

The employer will either contribute to an annuity fund on behalf of each employee or establish a pension.

Vacations and Holidays

Employees are given a vacation period and holidays. In addition, pay for worked holidays will be negotiated for time and a half their hourly rate.

Sick leave

Employees will be given sick leave and pay for unused sick leave.

Funeral Leave

Funeral leave will be negotiated, with extended leave for families overseas.

Representation/Grievance Procedure

If at any time the employer takes an action against any employee, for any reason, or fails to follow the contract, the employee can seek representation from the Union against the employer. The Union will represent the employee to make sure the company honors the contract and the employee’s rights. Once the employee demands Union representation, Federal Law (known as Weingarten Rights) protects that employee and the employer must wait until the Union is present before talking to the employee or taking disciplinary action. The Union will provide attorneys and bear the cost of representation pertaining to the contract. If the problem is not resolved at shop or plant level, the Union will take the case to arbitration where an Arbitrator (Judge) will decide the case.


The employer must provide a safe and healthy workplace and no employee is required to work in hazardous or unhealthy conditions. Specific safety requirements are negotiated and Union members help determine what those should be.

Uniforms and Tools

The employer is required to provide all tools and uniforms necessary to perform the job covered under each classification at no cost to the employee. If at any time the equipment or tools become damaged, it is the employer’s responsibility to maintain and repair such equipment and tools.

Union Visitation

The Union shall have the right to visit the employee any time during normal working hours to make sure the employer is following the contract and that all union employees’ rights are upheld.
The above-listed benefits are only ideas for workers to consider. As a union member, you and your coworkers determine your final contract. You might want to set different priorities or push for a benefit that isn’t listed here. Nothing is final until a majority of workers approve it. Together, union workers determine what is best for their workplace.

With a written contract in place, your company is required to keep its promises. A union contract means better wages, more benefits, and the security that comes from knowing you’ll always have someone ready to fight for you.

If you want to learn more, read about your legal right to a union, or check out the information we have about organizing a union in your workplace.