A&P/Pathmark Update from President John T. Niccollai - 8/27/15

A&P/PATHMARK UPDATE – 8/27/2015
FROM PRESIDENT JOHN T. NICCOLLAI

We at Local 464A totally understand that our members are seeking answers to questions that are important to give direction in their lives.  Unfortunately, at this time there are no answers to many of our questions.

We will attempt, in this article, to answer important questions based on facts, past practice, common sense and information not yet formalized by a contract.

QUESTON:   Will I have a job?

ANSWER:   Presently your Union’s Number 1 priority is assisting in job creation.  Of our 7,300 Brothers and Sisters affected by the A&P/Pathmark Bankruptcy, we have commitments for about 4,000 replacement jobs with good Union Employers.  We are also working tirelessly to secure sales of the closing and unsold stores with other good Union Companies, and we are making slow but steady progress.  Some of the A&P/Pathmark stores may not be sold in Tier I or Tier II, and we may have to wait until the auction sale in late September or early October to determine what Employers buy the remaining stores.  Be assured we are not going away and we will walk alongside our members throughout the entire procedure.

QUESTION:   What about my Medical and Pension Benefits?

ANSWER:   Your Local Union firmly believes that benefits are essential to a good Union job.  In the negotiations going on with Acme, Stop & Shop and Key Foods, we have emphatically stressed the importance of continued benefits and, although we have not concluded the negotiations, the new Employers hear us loud and clear.

QUESTION:   What if there are members who don’t get jobs once the process is complete?  What will happen to those members?

ANSWER:   It is very possible, notwithstanding the best efforts of your Local Union, our International and our new Employers, that some members do not receive employment.  For those members we will seek Severance Pay, Unemployment Benefits and Placement on a preferential hiring list with our new Employers and any future Union Employers.  Our new Employers have assured us they intend to grow the business and will be looking to hire additional workers as the business grows.  There could be an interruption of employment, but again we will be alongside our members throughout this entire process.

QUESTION:   What’s the status of our Severance Pay and Bumping?

ANSWER:   The issues of Severance Pay and Bumping are before the Bankruptcy Court with A&P/Pathmark taking the position under a threat of an 1113(e), elimination of the language from the contract that the Union reduce Severance and employ zero-cost bumping.  The Union is examining whether we can reach a reasonable accommodation or whether we just permit the Judge to rule on the issue.  Zero-cost Bumping would cut wages of some members by more than 50%, and Local 464A cannot agree to such a result.

QUESTION:   Why can’t this whole process move faster?  It’s unfair to the members to leave us hanging in limbo?

ANSWER:   No one understands your anger and frustration better than your Union.  We have lived this nightmare with you for over five years.  We recognize the concessions you gave to keep A&P/Pathmark in business and now they’re trying to stick it to us again.  We must not, however, take our eye off our main goal and that’s jobs.  We know with A&P/Pathmark the end is near and our future is not with them.  Our future is with our known new Employers and our yet to be identified new Employers.  We need to turn our anger and frustration into opportunity and results.  To date, we’re making good progress in securing jobs.  We should not rush to get a result that is not the best result.  We must continue to exercise reasonable patience that will best serve our Number 1 goal of jobs.  For those members that still feel anger, it’s OK.  Direct that anger toward A&P/Pathmark.  That is the Company that placed us in this crisis by years of irresponsible and incompetent leadership.  Also, please don’t ever forget, through the years of disaster, A&P/Pathmark refused to listen to the voices of the workers - knowledgeable voices that saw the mistakes and could have saved this Company, if only the Company had listened!