AUSTINBURG — A local warehouse voted to unionize on Friday by a margin of 28 votes.
The Save-A-Lot Distribution Center in Austinburg voted 69-41 to be represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers union. Jake Adams, one of the organizers of the drive to unionize, confirmed the result.
The voting process was spread over Thursday and Friday, according to a National Labor Relations Board announcement. There were two voting sessions per day, one starting at 6 a.m. and another at 1:30 p.m..
The ballot was simple, with only a single yes or no question on it: "Do you wish to be represented for the purpose of collective bargaining by United Food and Commercial Worker's Union, Local 880?"
A simple majority was required for the vote to pass, according to the UFCW.
"Today the courageous workers at Save-a-Lot’s food warehouse voted in a secret ballot election conducted by the NLRB to be represented by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 880 (UFCW Local 880)," said UFCW Local 880 President Carl Ivka. "Local 880 looks forward to the next step — bargaining for a first contract. Local 880 will sit down with Save-a-Lot to negotiate a contract that guarantees all workers a raise, locks in their wages and benefits for three years, and contains the important protection of a binding grievance and arbitration procedure."
The employees who were eligible to vote are those who were employed in the pay period ending on Saturday, Aug. 31, and are not lead office clerks, confidential employees, professional employees, guards, or supervisors, according to the NLRB announcement.
"We felt very confident. We had a lot of supporters backing us up the entire time," Adams said.
The NLRB oversaw the election, and representatives from the business and the workers were allowed to observe the process.
"I'm happy that we're going to have a voice and our opinion will actually matter now," Adams said.