As we proceed deeper into the takeover of stores by new owners and we get closer to the end of the WARN Notice period for those stores still unsold, we are receiving additional questions from our membership concerning their future.  We will do our best in this article to answer those questions, and give all our members an understanding of our future actions, plans and anticipated fights.  If you still have unanswered concerns, contact Local 464A by email or phone.

First, we are pleased to report that we have seen finalization, through the Bankruptcy Court, of the first wave of sales of 48 stores to Acme and 4 stores to Stop & Shop.  These stores will provide over 4,000 good Union jobs with full no co-pay medical and full no co-pay pensions.  We are still finalizing language with these two Employers, although we do have verbal understandings of the issues.  Our top goal is to keep what we have and, although that is a very high standard, that’s our plan.

The A&P Company reported to the Bankruptcy Court that they have obtained bids on 128 of the remaining unsold stores and, because of the high number of bids, have asked that four days of auctions be held instead of the two days previously scheduled.  That’s another positive event for us.  As we have stated continuously, A&P/Pathmark have good locations and we do not expect them to go dark and remain unsold indefinitely.  At the bankruptcy sale we must watch out for any non-Union bidders or bidders that may not wish to use the property as a food store.  We are strongly encouraging good Union Employers to attend the auctions and place bids.  We are aware of the fact that Key Foods, who will operate Union, is interested in a substantial number of stores and Local 464A has been in continuing negotiations with them.

The A&P/Pathmark Company and the Bankruptcy Court have not released the names of the bidders, in the hope that the auction sale will continue to attract substantial interest from numerous potential buyers.  Our research from industry sources indicates that strong Union buyers will be attending the auctions with intent to purchase unsold stores.

We have been informed by A&P/Pathmark that Severance checks for our full-time and part-time members in the stores already closed will be in the mail very shortly and, further, that full-timers will get three months of additional medical coverage and part-timers will get two months of additional medical coverage.  The Local Union fought very hard to accomplish this result, and the thousands of petitions we signed helped enormously.

We are also continuing to fight vigorously to get the same Severance and continued health care for all other members in stores still unsold.  This Severance and medical coverage will cost A&P/Pathmark over $35 million from the proceeds received from the sale of stores.  Again, we acknowledge the understanding of Judge Drain in the importance of this action for our Brothers and Sisters presently losing their livelihood.  The average part-time Severance is approximately $350.00 with maximums of $1,500.00.  Our average full-time Severance is approximately $5,000.00, with the maximums over $10,000.00.  This is the safety net we need at this time until everything ultimately gets settled.

We anticipate the turnover to Acme and Stop & Shop will begin in early October and continue until the months’ end.  Stores will be converted in rapid fashion and our Brothers and Sisters will help with the conversion.  We expect little or no interruption in earnings during this period.  We would project further that your salary will be paid by A&P/Pathmark until the conversion, and then by either Acme or Stop & Shop.

Things are subject to change, but at this moment, the above schedule is what we should expect.

For our Brothers and Sisters in the stores yet unsold, the auction process is our lifeboat.  We are working tirelessly to bring in Union bidders and get stores sold.  We are hopeful that we will get Severance just as those did in the stores that closed.  Those funds will be invaluable in paying the bills until the job base grows, based on the auctions.  As we stated previously, it is possible that not all stores will be sold or that some future Employers close for a longer period of time concerning purchased auctioned stores.  We are hearing stories of more extensive remodeling before reopening.  Again, use the Severance money wisely in the event there is a break in reemployment. 

Local 464A is obsessed by the need to get our members reemployed.  It’s all about the jobs – namely, good Union jobs.  In the event that any store should be sold non-Union, our intent is to turn that store into a good Union job.  We will need the help of our members to make that happen.  We are sure that having experienced a good Union job with no co-pay medical and pension, and a living wage, you will not allow yourself or your family to settle for less.  No one should agree to leave the ranks of the middleclass. 

Stay positive, stay loyal and together we can continue to make good things happen.