ANTI-UNION RADICALS POSING AS JOURNALISTS PLOT TO DESTROY THE LABOR MOVEMENT
The Union Busting tactics we recently saw in Wisconsin and Ohio, pale in comparison to the plot hatched by Anti-Union radicals posing as journalists in a concerted effort to destroy the Labor Movement. These partisans will resort to writing stories comprised of factual distortions, half-truths and outright lies in an attempt to turn Union Members against one another and against their Leadership.
Lets look carefully at the planned scenario of their propaganda structured to anger our Brothers and Sisters.
1. The Radicals contend Union Leaders are grossly over-paid.
When we compare the salaries of Union Leaders to that of their Corporate equals, the argument is utterly absurd and without one shred of merit. According to the AFL-CIO ‘Pay Watch’ Survey, completed last week, the average CEO salary was $13,000,000.00 per year. That’s 380 times the average full-time workers annual pay of $34,000.00. Union Leaders’ annual income, by comparison, ranges between $100,000.00 and $700,000.00 annually. That’s somewhere between 3 to 20 times the average full-time workers annual pay of $34,000.00.
The reason these radicals are making Union Leaders’ wages an issue is clearly intended to build dissension in the ranks, which they hope will weaken the Union Movement and, ultimately, eliminate the Middle Class in America.
2. The Radicals charge that Labor Unions are corrupt and don’t allow members input.
Again, the facts don’t support the charge. There are far more business leaders in jail than Union Leaders. That statement is even more obvious today when we examine what has happened in the mortgage sector of the Banking Industry, Wall Street and Corporate America in general.
When it comes to input, where in Corporate America have you ever seen a Constitution or Bylaws, which all Unions have, that would allow Corporate employees to speak out and would guarantee them unlimited rights and protections?
3. The radicals charge that Labor Unions are undemocratic, uncontrolled and do as they please with members’ money.
In truth, Labor Unions are among the most highly regulated organizations in existence, and the most democratic. We are directly supervised and scrutinized by the following agencies:
a. The United States Department of Labor
b. The National Labor Relations Board
c. The Internal Revenue Service
d. The Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation
e. ERISA (Employee Retirement and Income Security Act)
f. The Labor Department of the State in which they operate
g. The Commissioner of Health of the State in which they operate
h. The International Union, which governs the operations of Local Unions.
And, most of all, the sharp minds of the millions of members they represent.
And, let's review the democratic process:
1. Union Officers are elected by the members through a comprehensive procedure directed by the United States Department of Labor.
2. All contracts are approved or rejected by a vote of the membership.
3. Our Bylaws are implemented or changed by a vote of the membership after appropriate notice to the membership.
4. Salaries of Union Officers and Union employees are tied to the same percentage increase won on behalf of the membership and then, further approved by the Union elected Executive Board and again approved by the membership at Membership Meetings.
5. Every check written by the Union is circulated to the Executive Board, which is composed of rank and file Union members, and then again voted upon at the Membership Meeting.
Where in Corporate America could we ever hope to see that degree of transparency, fiscal responsibility and democracy?
The most important difference between a Labor Union and a Corporation can never be acknowledged by union busting radicals because their biased self interest cannot accept that we, the Members, are in fact, the Union. Unlike a large Corporation, which is owned by a private and secret few and/or wealthy shareholders, we the so-called “Little Guy” members are the owners of our Union. It doesn’t belong to the Union Officers or the Union employees, or even the Union Trustees-----no, it belongs to the members!!
As for UFCW Local 464A, the members own nearly a billion dollars in assets consisting of Real Estate, General Fund assets, Pension Fund assets, Welfare Fund assets and Educational Fund assets.
Let the Union Busting partisans who falsely profess to probe for truth turn their efforts to the real issues confronting workers in America; the need for an honest, fair, competent and transparent corporate code of operations. The same code of operations already delivered by Unions!
MEMBERSHIP OVERWHELMINGLY RATIFIES FOODTOWN AGREEMENT
April 13, 2012 - UFCW Local 464A President, John T. Niccollai, announced at 2:00 PM today (April 13), that ballot boxes were opened and secret ballots tallied resulting in the following decision by Local 464A Foodtown members:
199 – Yes to ratify the Company’s proposal
1 – No to reject and strike
1 – Voided ballot
201 – Total
Vote Ratification Ratio 199 to 1
President Niccollai expressed his pleasure with the results stating that, “We achieved parity with our brothers and sisters at ShopRite, Stop & Shop and Kings and yet, granted accommodations to our Foodtown operators that will permit them to be competitive and guarantee our job security.”
Niccollai also said, “I deeply appreciate the patience and solidarity of our Foodtown members. This was the key to our attaining this outstanding result. We are now prepared to move forward with Foodtown and its management to give our customers continued outstanding service and to grow the business into the future.”
SHOP RITE, STOP & SHOP AND KINGS MEMBERSHIP RATIFICATION VOTE
March 30, 2012 - President Niccollai reported early this afternoon that the Contract Committees from Shop Rite, Stop & Shop and Kings opened and tallied the returned Secret Ballots regarding the Final Contract Offer. The results are as follows:
Yes Votes - 2,079
No Votes - 95
Void Ballots - 1
Ratification Ratio: 23 to 1 in favor of approval.
STOP & SHOP
Yes Votes - 855
No Votes - 30
Void Ballots - 4
Ratification Ratio: 28 to 1 in favor of approval.
Yes Votes - 217
No Votes - 6
Void Ballots - 0
Ratification Ratio: 37 to 1 in favor of approval.
President Niccollai went on to say that he would again like to thank the Contract Committee for an outstanding job.
We are now set to move ahead for the next 51 months, knowing that we will receive substantial wage increases and, more importantly, that our Health Care and Pensions for both part-time and full-time members will be properly funded and assured.
In conclusion Niccollai stated, “This Contract stands as a shining example of what Union Members are able to achieve when they are united and forcefully support the position of their Union Leadership and Contract Committees. Amazing results can and are realized with this type of winning combination.”
SOUND and FURY: Unions 'Occupy' Contract Talks
Excerpted from Sound and Fury, an article in Supermarket News by Jon Springer Jan. 23, 2012:
John Niccollai. president of UFCW Local 464A, Little Falls, NJ, said health care, pension and wages will be on the docket for negotiations with ShopRite, Stop & Shop, Foodtown and King's when its contract comes up for renewal March 17...
He emphasized that (A&P's) situation wouldn't affect talks with other employers, saying his goal was to negotiate better deals for his workers.
"I see a greater dichotomy between the interests of management and the interests of workers, and I see that primarily because, overall there's been a diminution of the union movement in this country," Niccollai told SN. "I tie the union movement to the growth and preservation of the middle class. As we lose union workers, we lose middle class people. Once people begin to realize that we need to have a strong union movement in order to have a strong middle class you'll start to see resurgence. And I think that's happening now."
To read the entire article click here.
PRESIDENT NICCOLLAI REPORTS ON LANGUAGE REGARDING A SEVERANCE PROGRAM, SUCCESSORSHIP AND DATE TO NEGOTIATE BUYOUT PACKAGE
January 5, 2012 - As promised, President Niccollai and Local 464A staff are engaged in ever-continuing discussions with A&P/Pathmark to tie up all the loose ends that remain from a year of protracted negotiations. We are pleased to report two programs have been finalized and the third concerning the Buyout will be discussed with the Company at a meeting on Wednesday, January 18, 2012. The two programs finalized are as follows:
1. Severance Program
a. Each eligible full-time associate shall receive a Severance Benefit in the amount of one (1) week of base pay for each two (2) full years of service (from his or her most recent hire date), up to a maximum of four (4) weeks base pay; and three (3) months of continued health and welfare contributions by the Company.
The Severance cap described above shall be extended to a maximum of 18 weeks pay for eligible full-time associates with more than 25 years of continuous service to the Company; and a maximum of nine (9) weeks pay for eligible full-time associates with between 15 and 25 years of continuous service to the Company.
b. Each eligible part-time associate shall receive a Severance Benefit in the amount of one (1) week of base pay (based on his or her average hours worked in the prior year) for each four (4) full years of service (from his or her most recent hire date), up to a maximum of four (4) weeks base pay and two (2) months of continued health and welfare contributions by the Company.
2. Successors and Assigns Language
The following language shall be included as part of the Collective Bargaining Agreements between A&P/Pathmark and all other Banners and UFCW Local 464A:
This Agreement shall be binding on all signatories hereto, and their successors and assigns, whether such status is created by sale, bankruptcy sale, lease, assignment or any other type transfer transaction. In consideration of the Union’s execution of this Agreement, the Employer promises that its operations covered by this Agreement or any part thereof shall not be sold, conveyed, or otherwise transferred or assigned to any successor without first securing the Agreement of the successor to assume the Employer’s obligation under this Agreement, and to offer employment subject to the terms of this Agreement, to all of the Employer’s then current employees, recognizing their accrued seniority for all purposes.
Niccollai went on to say that we will post the results of the Buyout negotiations, which will commence on January 18th, as soon as we have a final result.
The President further noted that he wished to acknowledge all our Brothers and Sisters who have extended their thanks for saving their jobs with such limited modifications to the preexisting Collective Bargaining Agreements. As stated previously, this was a team effort and our outstanding results clearly serve as a symbol of the strength of the membership.
Niccollai went on to caution that as much as we would like to believe that our future is bright with A&P/Pathmark, in all likelihood, we will encounter speed bumps and that progress will not be a quick and straight meteoric rise.
As we look at the economy, we see thousands of jobs being lost daily. One of the best-known names teetering on bankruptcy is Kodak. Industry experts speculate that a Kodak bankruptcy could possibly affect 19,000 workers, casting them among the unemployed.
Again, we will continue to report future updates on A&P/Pathmark as they occur.
PRESIDENT NICCOLLAI REPORTS ON A&P/PATHMARK VOTING RESULTS AND OVERALL ISSUES CONCERNING THE NEW AGREEMENT
November 29, 2011 - Although we have not received the final tally of all results from the other 12 Locals, we are pleased to release the following results relating to Local 464A:
3,137 Voted “Yes” to Accept the Contract Modifications
643 Voted “No” to Reject the Contract Modifications
We are all greatly relieved that this year-long agony has finally come to an end and that the conclusion is far better than we expected. We realize there are some members who voted “No” and by doing so, were sending a message that they preferred to see the Company go out of business. That, of course, would have meant the loss of many thousands of jobs. We find that preference difficult to understand, especially in this weak economy. Still, we respect the position of those few members and we will work even harder in the months ahead to demonstrate to them that the overwhelming majority of the membership made the better decision. As your President, I am especially pleased to be free of some of the confidentiality restrictions placed by the Bankruptcy Court. It is always my desire to communicate to the membership candidly, as we have always done in the past. We will immediately begin a process with the Company to put together the final language relating to all contract modifications. This information will be disseminated as soon as it has been finalized and should also be more specific relating to profit sharing, the severance program and a buyout.
One of the most important issues affecting the specific Local 464A negotiations pertained to the sound financial condition of our Pension and Welfare Funds, which enabled us to minimize monumental cuts in wages. I can report to you with deep compassion for some of our Brothers and Sisters in other Local Unions, that there were wage cuts in excess of 2½ times higher than the result we achieved. In the area of wages, I would urge our members to view this issue in the context of the adage: ‘Is the glass half empty or half full?’ In our case, with reference to wages, the glass is 97% full - a significant victory.
Again, for the few Nay Sayers among us, ask yourself where could I possibly replace the job that I have with the wages, no co-pay for Health Care and no co-pay for Pension? Then add to that the paid holidays, the personal days, the sick days, time-and-a-half on Sunday and holidays, Seniority Rights and new programs we are negotiating with the Company concerning Profit Sharing, a Severance Program, a Buyout and Successor language in the event the Company is sold. Where indeed, in today’s sputtering economy, can such jobs be found?
Be certain that, as your President I do not intend to give our Employers the impression that we are overpaid or that our benefit programs are lucrative. Let no one ever doubt that we are worth every dollar we earn and much more. We are employed in a dangerous industry. Our working environments are often cold and wet. We operate saws, knives and slicers. We lift heavy loads and stand on our feet all day long. We suffer with arthritis, bursitis, back pain and other afflictions germane to our working conditions. We do our job as true professionals and give our best effort to satisfy our customers each day. Unfortunately, the actions of others can sometimes cause bad things to happen to good, decent hardworking people. Neither you nor your Union is responsible for the bankruptcy of The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, Inc. But, as in many segments of our society, it is working men and women who are forced to bear the brunt of pain caused by the mistakes of incompetent management. That, in a nutshell, is the undeniable A&P/Pathmark scenario.
Now we move on. The accommodations that we have made to keep our jobs can and will be reversed by success. We expect to see A&P/Pathmark emerge from bankruptcy in the very near future. With our seat on the Board of Directors, we will not only monitor, but also influence the future direction of the Company. Whether the end result is a successful turnaround or a sale to another Union employer, we have every reason to expect our future to grow brighter each and every day. As your President I can say without equivocation that the results we have achieved collectively are a direct result of our solidarity. Management is keenly aware of the fact that Union leadership and membership march in lock step. We must always remain inseparable. As long as we stick together we will be a force to be reckoned with.
ADDENDUM UPDATE NOVEMBER 30, 2011: UFCW A&P/PATHMARK TOTAL CONTRACT RATIFICATION RESULTS (ALL UFCW LOCAL UNIONS):
7,200 YES (ACCEPT)
1,827 NO (REJECT)