Update on Stop & Shop Introduction of Prepackaged Meats from President John T. Niccollai

UPDATE ON STOP & SHOP INTRODUCTION OF
PREPACKAGED MEATS
FROM PRESIDENT JOHN T. NICCOLLAI
AUGUST 31, 2017

Earlier this month, the Union posted an update concerning the arbitration date of Wednesday, September 20, 2017 regarding the language interpretation in our contract concerning central cutting and, further, the issue of job and wage protections into the future in reference to those Stop & Shop employees cutting meat.  As with any tough situation which takes time to resolve, we find that the Rumor Mill kicks into high gear with the dissemination of information that is always negative and, for the most part, completely inaccurate.

In this posting, we are attempting to set the record straight on a number of issues through questions and answers as follows:

1. QUESTION:  As a meat cutter am I subject to a layoff?

ANSWER:  No, we have job protection language in our contract which prevents members from being laid off because of the introduction of prepackaged meats.  That language is presently being honored and will continue to be honored.  To date, no individual has been laid off or reduced because of the introduction of prepackaged meats.

2. QUESTION:  Why don’t we tell the Company that they can’t use prepackaged meat?

ANSWER:  Under the Management Clause, a Company has the right to determine how to run their business.  The Union and the employees do not always agree with the course of action that a Company has taken.  We disagree with the decision by Stop & Shop to convert stores to prepackaged meats, and we have continually expressed those concerns.  Unfortunately, the final decision is that of the Company.

Although we cannot prevent the conversion to prepackaged meats, we can prevent job losses based upon existing contractual protections along with our arbitration and, bottom line, that is our “Number 1” objective.  Where a Company makes a decision to change practices and procedures and, further, where there is language in a contract protecting workers from job elimination, the Company has an obligation to follow the contract language and live up to those protections.  Short and simple, that is the position of your Union.  We are not throwing our Meat Cutters under the bus because the Company believes that customers will acquiesce to the meat no longer being cut at store level. 

3. QUESTION:  I came on board after 2015 – is my job protected?

 ANSWER:  Your Union expects to be successful in extending job protections to all full-time and part-time members on the payroll from the 2003 date up to 2016.  This will, in effect, protect everyone on board at the beginning of our latest contract.  This position will also allow part-time members the same protections received by full-time members.  In addition, it will also extend job protections to all those who came on board after 2003.

4. QUESTION:  If I am not cutting meat, will my salary be reduced to a Clerk rate?

 ANSWER:  The Union’s position is to protect the jobs and the pay rates without reduction.

5. QUESTION:  Will the Company provide a Buyout?

 ANSWER:  The Company and the Union are discussing this issue and the Union is working diligently to establish some type of meaningful Buyout Program based on seniority.

6. QUESTION:  Who will determine the final terms and conditions involving central cutting and job securities of meat personnel?

 ANSWER:  An Arbitrator.  If the Union holds firmly to no central cutting without comprehensive discussion, the Company will simply buy prepackaged meats from another supplier not owned by Ahold as they are doing now and attempt to layoff meat cutters.  The best solution is to use Arbitration and to get as many job protections and guarantees as possible for today and into the future, along the lines as outlined above.

Your Union asks all members to remain calm, stay informed and to “Keep the Faith”.   This situation is extremely difficult to resolve, but putting it in positive terms it provides an opportunity for the Union to demonstrate its value to dues paying members.