The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) negotiates several employers with major southern California food chains. In the past, negotiations covered more grocers, but because of mergers in the sector, only two major chains – Ralphs and Albertson – are involved in the negotiations. In the fall of 2019, the union was able to reach an agreement for 46,000 employees in more than 500 agencies. The agreement provided for higher wages, health benefits, more hours and helping to close the pay gap between job classifications.33 While only two major grocers sat at the bargaining table, the collective agreement set a standard, and other local food chains – including Gelson`s, Stater Bros. and Super A Foods – signed collective agreements with their workers who have comparable or better terms. A challenge for the union is for unionized grocers to enter into partnerships and other trade agreements with new businesses and use them to undermine the work of bargaining units – for example, by allocating work that members of the bargaining unit would be done to companies like Instacart – or when unionized grocers create lower labour standards for food chains , as Kroger did with its subsidiary Food 4 Less. Contrary to the LNRA`s bias for single work units, the Railway Work Act, which governs union representation in the railway and aeronautical industries, stipulates that bargaining units are national units at the employer level. Workers seeking union representation under the Railway Labour Act request a national unit of all employer workers in their respective classes or occupations, such as aeronautical mechanics, cabin crew, baggage handlers or after-sales service personnel. In this way, any union of the railway and aviation industry – once it has won bargaining rights for the group through an election – can negotiate with a single national employer throughout the country. A leading expert observed the narrow approach to approaches to individual work and one of the employers and said: „The LNRA, which focuses on business-based organization and negotiation, is at odds with the globalized economy and its multiple contracts.
19 One of the best-known examples of national multi-employer negotiations that have set standards for an entire industry is the Teamsters Master Freight Agreement, negotiated by Jimmy Hoffa in the 1960s.20 When it was first adopted, the Master Freight Agreement included more than 450,000 drivers, had literally hundreds of employers signatories and set standards for the entire trucking industry.