President John T. Niccollai
AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM PRESIDENT JOHN T. NICCOLLAI 10-15-2020
CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS UPDATE
President Niccollai reported today that the Union Negotiating Committee met with the Companies’ Negotiating Committees for the fifth time in an attempt to hammer out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Based on prior negotiating sessions and continuing conferences among the Union and Companies’ Professionals, we were presented with an initial proposal including wage increases. President Niccollai foresees extremely serious problems relating to the restructuring of our Pension Plan from a Defined Benefit to a Defined Contribution Plan. In effect, this means that members are not guaranteed the amount promised in retirement in the event of poor Plan performance. President Niccollai unequivocally stated that it is not in the best interest of our Union members to permit the Companies to escape their commitment of guaranteeing the Pensions negotiated and promised.
The next area of the Companies’ proposal related to healthcare wherein the Companies are demanding member co-pay equal to 9.5% of an employee’s gross weekly wages. By way of example, if an employee was earning $1,000.00 per week, he or she would be paying $95.00 per week for the cost of their healthcare. The Companies took a collective position that we are the only Union they deal with that does not have medical co-pay by the employees. The healthcare scenario even gets worse for part-time members where, going forward, the Companies only would agree to ancillary benefits such as dental and optical.
Other significant aspects of the Companies’ proposal was the elimination of our Legal and Educational benefits, as well as a system of tiers for all new hires which would mandate fewer holidays and personal days, and lesser pay scales for those hours worked.
The Employers also included a wage proposal which, although costly to the Companies, is far below anything that the Union believes is consistent with achieving an Agreement.
There are a number of other collateral issues which President Niccollai raised at the conclusion of the Companies’ proposal. Among those more important issues were:
1. Hazard Pay
2. Meaningful compression language
3. Online shopping language
4. Store visitation language
5. Programs for certain C rates
6. Central cutting language
7. Job protection language
8. Seafood Clerk Managerial position
9. And certainly, a more meaningful wage increase proposal
The Union and the Companies will be negotiating again on Tuesday, October 27, 2020. In the interim, both sides will independently be reviewing all reasonable avenues by which an Agreement may be achieved. Our Union Negotiating Committee rank-and-file members have been most helpful in bringing back to the Union Committee the positions of the membership on all of these important issues.
All members should be assured that a number of our demands are set in concrete, and we cannot back off or back up from the positions we have presented to the Companies.