On July 30, 1956 a charter was issued
by the Retail Clerks International Association, AFL-CIO to Retail Clerks Union Local Number 455, Houston, TX. The Charter was granted upon application for a charter by seven clerks employed by Henke & Pillot Grocery Stores (now Kroger) in Houston, TX. These seven founding members of Local 455 together with assistance from the International Union organized the clerks at Henke & Pillot and won an election for Union representation conducted by the National Labor Relations Board later in 1956.
The first Union contract was signed on January 24, 1957 between Local 455 and the Henke & Pillot Division of the Kroger Company. That first contract was fifteen (15) pages long and formed the base upon which our contracts for food stores are built today. In 1957, pay rates were higher for male clerks than for female clerks. The top pay for a two year experienced male clerk was $1.42 ½ per hour and females at $1.32 ½ per hour. The basic workweek for overtime was forty two and one-half hours per week, there were five paid holidays and a maximum of two weeks paid vacation to full time only.
In 1979 a new Union was born by the merger of the Retail Clerks and Meat Cutters International Unions. The name of your Local was changed to United Food & Commercial Workers Union Local 455 and even more strength was added on a local level by opening up lines of greater communication with the Local Unions that represent the meat employees in the stores. The Barber and Cosmetology International Union also joined with the UFCW in 1981.
With the merger of Local 455 and Louisiana Local 210 in July, 1999, the combined memberships marked the beginning of a new era of cooperation, progress and innovation. In March 2008, Local 455 again, became even stronger with the merge of Local 408.Today your local union represents not only Retail Clerks; it also represents Barber / Cosmetologists, Meat Cutters, Poultry & Fish Processors, Food Service Workers, Manufacturing Operators, Truck Drivers and Distribution Center Clerks. The objectives and principles of Local 455 today remain as high as they did fifty years ago. They are set forth in the Constitution of your International Union and the Bylaws of your Local Union.
From these modest beginnings, your Local Union has moved forward year after year in improving wages, working conditions and benefits. We are proud to say our members, both past and present, have on more than one occasion stood up to be counted on when it has been necessary to preserve what we have and to achieve more for the future. We must be prepared to fight to keep what we have gained over these past five decades. From the founding seven to the over 19,000 members represented today, your Local Union salutes you for a job well done!