As in past years, I would like to take a brief moment to recap 2017. It is good to know where you have been in order to know where you want to go.

In May of this year, Choctaw Defense Services, a facility maintenance workgroup at Warner Robins Airforce base, overwhelmingly voted to have a Union. A month later, they ratified their first Union contract ever! Twenty-eight families are now proudly represented by Local 1996. We are proud to have them join us and welcome these families to our Union.

In June of this year, our Kroger members ratified a new four year Agreement. This new contract included many wage increases, continuing good health care coverage and kept our pensions secure, all while keeping the Kroger company competitive in its market place. We have a new vendor for our prescriptions which will improve service to our members and offer savings to the Health and Welfare Fund.

In our Packing and Processing Division, we continue to keep good contracts and safe working conditions in the facilities where we process a lot of the food stocked at our Union supermarkets. Pensions for our members in Pilgrim’s Pride and House of Raeford’s have been secured so that their retirements will be there in the future.

In Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente’s footprint in Georgia is growing at a rapid pace. The state-of-the-art call center in Duluth, GA is up and running. This hub handles phone calls from Kaiser members who reside in Georgia and California. The opening of this call-center will create roughly 700 good paying Union jobs locally.

On a nationwide perspective, UFCW members in Houston, Texas and Louisiana were hit by massive destruction and flooding from Hurricane Harvey. Hurricane Irma’s path of destruction was felt in FL, GA and SC. Families help each other; we will not forsake our brothers and sisters.

Therefore, Local 1996, as well as several other UFCW Locals across the country, joined our International’s fund raising campaign to aid fellow Union workers in the hardest hit areas.

As we grow and unite, UFCW continues to be a strong voice for working families. We want to thank all of you for trusting in your Union and for your membership in our great organization.