Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some questions commonly asked by members.

MONEY

A: Pay increases for non-journeyman positions are based on hours worked. At the journeyman level they are based on the contract. Please contact your Union Rep to get answers specific to your situation.

A: Initiation fees are based on your department and where you live. Brand new Union members can attend a new member meeting and get $50 credit toward their initiation fees. Call the Tigard office at 503-684-2822 and ask for the Records Department to get answers specific to your situation.

A: Only if you did NOT receive a withdrawal card when you left. If you are unsure whether you did, call the Tigard office at 503-684-2822 and ask for the Records Department to ask them this question.

A: Please see our Retirement Options page for more details, especially in regards to options for withdrawing money early…or not.

HEALTH & WELFARE / RETIREMENT

A: It depends on your contract and how long you’ve been a member. Please visit our Health & Welfare/Medical Insurance page.

A: Different Dental options are available at different levels, call your Trust Office to find out what your eligibility is.

DEFINING TERMS

A: A withdrawal card is something you receive upon leaving a union position (just contact the Tigard office at 503-684-2822 to get one). If you ever receive one, please keep this card in a safe place for the future: it indicates that you have left Local 555 in good standing. You’ll need it if/when you return to a union position. If you do not have one, you will need to pay the initiation fee again as if you were a new member rather than a returning one.

A: Learn more here (JPG).

A: A steward is a union member like you who has been trained to enforce coworkers’ rights in the workplace and speak out on union issues. A union steward is an organizer, communicator, educator, problem solver and leader.

HOURS/SCHEDULE

A: Claiming a schedule is an action you can take under the right circumstances, depending on your contract. You can claim a schedule from someone who has less seniority than you but is scheduled for more hours than you if all four of the below are true:

  • it’s within 24 hours of the schedule being posted
  • you have submitted your most recent up to date availability to your employer
  • you are able to work all of the hours and shifts as scheduled on the schedule you are claiming
  • your claim is based on total hours scheduled for the week (not specific shifts or times)

A: Contractually: yes. Typically, a minimum of a 30 minute lunch break is required if you work more than 5 hours. If you are not being allowed to take your lunch break, please contact your Union Rep right away to let them know.

A: This depends on your contract. For retail contracts, for example, you are not required to accept overtime.

A: Seniority at your job is based on continuous time with the employer – it’s a completely separate situation from your union benefits. (How it affects your opportunities within the workplace is dependent on your employer’s policies.) Seniority in the workplace can affect your scheduling options, vacation status, and health insurance eligibility, among other things. Here are a few examples.

These are JUST examples: your specific situation may vary depending on your contract or your employer’s policies.

  • If you’ve severed employment, your seniority ends there and you start fresh on all fronts once you return.
  • If you sever employment but return within a year, the one element that you WILL keep is called a prior experience credit. This means that if you’ve worked your way up to a certain point on the apprentice scales before leaving and you return within a year, you start where you left off on the scales.
  • If you were to be away from work for any approved Leave of Absence and return at the end of that leave, then all your seniority remains intact.
  • If you transferred within the same employer between a union job and a non-union job (in other words, if you had to leave the union but did not leave the employer), you would retain seniority for everything, including vacation and health insurance eligibility.

A: Your right to sick leave and the amount of sick leave that you get is something you get through the contract your union negotiates with the employer. The First Day Sick Pay law impacts how the sick leave is accrued on your paystub and how it can be used. You cannot use sick leave until after your probationary period (typically 90 days) is over, and then you can only use the hours you have accrued. But, due to First Day Sick Pay, you can used them as soon as the 91st day, and on the first day you are sick. Before this law, employers had the right to decline to pay you for your first day of being sick, even if you had plenty of sick time accrued.

HOW DO I:

A: Check out our section about Health & Welfare, and get in touch with your Trust Office or health care provider.

A: Check out our section about Pensions or call your Trust Office.

A: Keep your membership current by filling out the form on this page, or by calling the Tigard office at 503-684-2822.

A: Congratulations! Please take care of these few steps:
1) Contact your Trust office to update them as to your status (and any change in contact information). The Trust office will also be able to answer any Health & Welfare or Pension questions.
2) Contact the Tigard office at 503-684-2822 to let us know also, and, importantly, to request a withdrawal card. The Trust data system is separate from the UFCW Local 555 data system, which is why you need to contact both.

Contact the Tigard office at 503-684-2822 to let us know. Make sure we have your updated contact information just in case we need to reach you. You will need to request what’s called a withdrawal card. Please keep this card in a safe place for the future: it indicates that you have left Local 555 in good standing. You’ll need it if/when you return to a union position.
If you have pension eligibility (or questions about health insurance transitions), please contact your Trust office.

A: Fill out this form!

A: Use our Rep Finder to look up your Union Rep’s information.

A: Learn a little bit more about becoming a Workplace Leader to see if you think it’s right for you. Workplace Leaders may eventually choose to become Stewards, depending on involvement, availability, and interest.

A: UFCW can provide support in getting your GED, taking college courses, and learning another language. Learn more!

A: Call 844-702-8386. Please also reach out to your rep to let them know what your experience has been!

A: Thank you for asking for help. Chances are, you’re not the first person experiencing whatever difficulty you’re coping with. 211 is a community assistance program that may be of use to you. If you need energy assistancefamily supportfood assistancehealth services, or help with housing concerns, it’s a great place to start.

If you have a question that isn’t answered above and is specific to you, please contact your Union Rep.

If your unanswered question is NOT specific to your particular circumstances, please use this form to suggest an addition to our FAQ page.

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