The History of UFCW Local 328
In January of 1937, five meat cutters who worked for First National Grocery Stores in Rhode Island, including two future presidents of Local 328 (Sam DiSano & Joseph Crowley) met with the general manager, Byron Fleming of the company’s Providence Division. They asked for the same wages, workweek and working conditions as the Boston Division of the Company, who were represented by Local 592 of the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America. Quickly rebuffed by the general manager, Sam DiSano replied with truly prophetic words: “We’re going to form a union in Rhode Island”.
This was the beginning of Local 328.
Later that year, 984 workers voted 85% ‘Union Yes’ and became the newly chartered Local 328 of the Amalgamated Meat Cutters & Butcher Workmen of North America.
Its first president was Walter Powe. Its second president, Joseph Crowley was killed in action liberating France in 1945. Jim Casey became president next. Then, in 1948, Salvatore “Sam” DiSano became president and served the local union for 24 years. Sam’s hard work and dedication to the members and their families is a story unto itself. His tremendous organizing efforts brought the union to 6,000 members. Upon his retirement, Sam was appointed Director of the Rhode Island Department of Labor by then-governor Phillip Noel.
Who We Are Today
In the 30 plus years since Sam’s retirement, Local 328 has grown to over 11,000 members across Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts, serving the needs of workers in a myriad of industries including retail food, institutional food, health care, banking, transportation, recycling, manufacturing, barbers and cosmetologists.
Today, we have collective bargaining agreements with:
Bob’s Discount Furniture (Attleboro)
Dexter Credit Union
Eastside Market Place
First Student Bus Drivers
New Bedford Jewish Convalescent Home
Oak Hill Nursing Home
Rhode Island Credit Union
Roger Williams University
Stop & Shop
Woodlawn Federal Credit Union
The everyday operations at Local 328 still continue at 278 Silver Spring Street in Providence, Rhode Island, which has been our home for 42 years. Servicing the membership, organizing new members, and constant negotiations for new and existing contracts keep our full-time staff very active. These contracts guarantee wages, benefits, working conditions and job security for our members. It is the job of our union representatives to ensure these contracts are enforced, while our organizing department is constantly on the lookout for workers who can benefit from the union advantage. Organizing drives take place year round, and are essential to the growth and strengthening of our Local union.