Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What is “Your Bread and Butter?”

“Your Bread and Butter” is a campaign to raise the standards for everyone in the supermarket industry — for workers, employers, shoppers and communities.

Through a wide variety of communication tools, including this website, “Your Bread and Butter” is making more people aware of the importance of high standards for wages, benefits, cleanliness and service at their local grocery stores.

As people become better informed, they are empowered to work together to raise the bar so everyone wins.

  1. Who benefits from higher standards in the supermarket industry?

Everyone benefits! When standards are raised…

  • Workers earn the good wages and benefits they need to pay their bills and keep their loved ones healthy.
  • Employers enjoy the benefits of a loyal, stable and professional work force.
  • Shoppers benefit because supermarket workers are happy with their jobs and are committed to the highest standards of courtesy, cleanliness and professionalism.
  • Entire communities benefit when supermarket workers belong to the middle class and don’t have to rely on public aid and taxpayer-funded health services.
  1. Who determines these industry standards?

Representatives of grocery employees meet with representatives of the supermarket companies to decide the wages, benefits and rights of the workers. When they reach an agreement, both sides sign a binding contract that usually lasts for three or four years until another contract is negotiated.

  1. Why aren’t all of the supermarket companies involved in these industry discussions?

Some companies refuse to participate in discussions with representatives of their workers. These companies generally provide below-standard wages and benefits for their employees.

  1. How can I see how a company’s wages and benefits measure up?

Click on the company’s logo on the home page of YourBreadAndButter.com. You will see a report card describing its wages, benefits and working conditions.

  1. Why do some of the companies fail to meet industry standards for wages, benefits and working conditions?

In most cases, these sub-par companies are trying to boost their profits at the expense of their employees and their families. 

  1. How does working under a contract help workers?

Without a legally binding contract, workers are employed at the whim of management. When supervisors have bad days and decide to lash out at their employees by cutting their hours, moving them to undesirable shifts or even terminating them, those workers have no protection. Management could cut an employee’s pay or take away his or her benefits and nothing could be done about it.

With a legally binding contract, workers have rules that protect them from unfair treatment and guarantee their wages, benefits and working conditions.

  1. What is a Grievance and Arbitration procedure?

If a worker has a contract and is disciplined unfairly, he or she can challenge management’s actions through procedures called Grievance and Arbitration. In the Grievance procedure, the worker has a representative who will meet with management and discuss the facts of the case. If an agreement can’t be reached, the case can be submitted to review by an independent authority in a process called Arbitration.

  1. Why do some workers have to pay so much more for health care than people who work for other employers?

Supermarket workers who have a contract almost always pay much less for health care for themselves and their families, and the quality of their health coverage is better than most individuals can purchase at any price. Workers who don’t have a contract usually have to pay huge premiums for health insurance — or they don’t have any access to affordable health care at all.

  1. What can workers and shoppers do to improve the standards at a company?

It is important to encourage the company’s management to join the discussions for setting standards in the grocery industry.

  • The first step is to learn the facts. This website provides the tools to learn how a company compares to other employers in the industry.
  • Supermarket employees are encouraged to complete this Grocery Worker Survey. Shoppers can complete this Customer Survey.
  • Workers should feel free to talk to a representative of “Your Bread and Butter” when he or she visits a store. They can also contact our campaign by clicking here.
  • Supermarket workers can join other workers in seeking a contract that sets higher standards for wages, benefits and workplace protections. Shoppers can help by rewarding stores that treat their employees fairly.

 

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