Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Support For Unions: Up

The latest results from the 2015 installment of Gallup’s annual Work and Education survey show that Americans’ approval of labor unions has jumped five percentage points to 58% over the past year, and is now at its highest point since 2008, when 59% approved. Consistent with the recent increase in approval of unions, the percentage of Americans saying they would like labor unions to have more influence in the country has also been rising, and now stands at 37%, up from 25% in 2009. Meanwhile, the percentage wanting unions to have less influence has declined from 42% to union survey

Making Overtime Right, For Everyone

At Local 1500 (and the entire UFCW) we believe that if you do the work, you deserve to be compensated.    

Unfortunately, not everyone has a voice on the job, and every day, millions of Americans work more than 40 hours per week with no pay. That’s because the salary threshold for overtime pay has been raised only once since 1975.

The current salary threshold is $23,660, which is lower than the federal poverty level for a family of four. This outdated system has given corporations a free pass to schedule low-level supervisors and managers for more than 40 hours per week without providing them with any overtime pay. 

But that’s about to change because the U.S. Department of Labor is raising the bar on employers by setting a higher salary threshold for overtime protection so that more salaried workers will be eligible to earn overtime when they work more than 40 hours in one week.  The proposed regulation will increase the overtime salary threshold to $50,440 per year by 2016, and extend overtime protection to almost 5 million additional workers, including those in the food and non-food retail sector. 

The new overtime regulation will benefit workers everywhere and make it harder for employers to misclassify workers as supervisors.  It is the most significant step the Obama Administration can take on its own to address our country’s low-wage, part-time economy, and will improve the standard of living for millions of Americans.

All workers deserve to be compensated for their hard work—so please take a few minutes to show your support by visiting:

Monday, August 17, 2015

Shelf Life Contract Ratified

Today workers from Shelf Life on Long Island ratified a new three year contract. The contract provides wage increases, maintains health benefits, and job security. "Congratulations to the negotiating committee, they fought hard, stuck together and delivered a contract they're proud of," President Bruce W. Both said.

Shelf Life operates on Long Island, New York.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Little Progress on Key Food Negotiations

August 16, 2015 Message to UFCW Members

Local 1500 along with Local 342 and Local 338 met with Key Food last week, marking the fourth meeting in the last month to discuss Key Food's acquisition of 17 A&P stores.

Again, during this meeting little progress was made. To be blunt, Key Food’s proposals are greedy, shortsighted and offensive to all of the hardworking men and women we represent. The company has been insistent in proposing that the the new owner has the right to reduce the pay of all employees, the right to reduce your hours and the right to reduce your health coverage at their own discretion.

Together, our unions have made it clear to Key Food that we will not accept any of concessionary proposals that would result in diminishing the lifestyles of our members. Key Food management has repeatedly been reminded that under the current A&P Term sheets, we have the right to all of our earned benefits and wages in the A&P contract. We expect them to fulfill their obligations under those Term sheets to our members and their families.

We have also made them aware that there are other companies bidding on these same stores that are certainly more than willing to work collectively with our unions than Key Food seems to be. Key Food is simply attempting to prey on the membership like they would a wounded animal. They are trying to take advantage of all of the men and women we represent who have already sacrificed more than enough, and who have done nothing but give their hard work and dedication to a poorly managed company.

Our next step is to continue to sit with Key Food management and try to negotiate a responsible new agreement. We are not obligated in any way to accept their greedy terms. In fact, Key Food is the one that has to make the decision. It’s our responsibility to insure the jobs we bargain for are jobs that will not only provide us with quality benefits and pay, but jobs our families can count on to support them for decades to come. We are exploring all options and you will continue to be notified of all new information. Once the negotiation process concludes, you will make the final decision to approve or reject what they are offering.

Although our priority and our first concern is for our members to continue to work without any loss, it is Local 1500, Local 342 and Local 338’s position that if Key Food was allowed to reduce pay by $5 per hour, reduce hours from 40 to 35 hours per week, and reduce health coverage from family plans to single that the damage would be catastrophic. Clearly our members would have a very hard time, and shouldn't have to exist under those conditions.

The proposed pay and hour cuts would equate to well over $250 per week in lost wages and the difference between a single and family medical plan could be as much as $600 to $700 per month. If that’s not enough, the company also has the arrogance to demand our members begin making a weekly contribution into this new inferior healthcare plan.

These terms are simply unacceptable. We are now more aggressively seeking other companies that are willing to purchase these same stores.

Bargaining with the rest of the employers that have bought A&P stores has not been nearly as disruptive or destructive as Key Food’s proposals are. None of the other companies are asking for our members to sacrifice anything even close to what Key Food is asking for. Why Key Food feels they are entitled to less is something that we can’t explain.

We have scheduled negotiations with other companies throughout next week.

Now that A&P is closing its doors, their stores have become something of a commodity pertaining to market share, and there are a lot of employers out there who are interested in purchasing that share.
Local 1500, Local 342 and Local 338 are not going to pull any punches and hold back any information that is associated with your lives, your contract, and your jobs. So we will continue to bring you updates on any bargaining that will take place next week and keep you updated on store purchases as soon as the information becomes available. Remember, if we stay united we will eventually succeed. 

It is Local 1500, Local 342 and Local 338’s main priority to make sure your jobs remain intact. We are not going into bargaining with a concessionary mindset. The companies that are coming to buy have no excuse to ask for anything less than what they are paying in the industry. Remember, it is our priority and our mission to preserve what we have, to move forward at all costs to avoid layoffs.

We Survive Together, or Not At All.

If you have any questions, please contact your Union Representative or simply reply to this email. We are here to help you in every way possible.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A&P Files for 1113(e)

Update on A&P Bankruptcy Developments

August 12, 2015

A&P has filed a motion seeking emergency, interim relief to modify its collective bargaining agreements with the UFCW and UFCW/RWDSU Local Unions under Section 1113(e) of the Bankruptcy Code.
A&P has asked that the hearing on the motion be heard before the Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, New York, on Monday, August 17, at 10 a.m.
While bankruptcy law favors companies like A&P, we are going to fight hard in negotiations and in court to protect our members and our contracts.

Your Local Union will be filing strong objections to this motion and opposing it in court because we find it to be totally unfair. You are the heart and soul of this company and have sacrificed more than enough already.

Some of the modifications to our contracts that A&P is seeking include:
  • Termination of all bumping provisions. 
  •  Severance to workers in stores that are closing will be paid up front, but will not exceed 25% of what is due according to your contract. 
Unfortunately, if the court rules in favor of the company and grants this motion, the modifications to our contracts that the company is seeking would go into effect immediately. Unless there are unusual circumstances, which we do not expect, the order by the judge cannot be appealed.
We understand the stress and concern that this terrible news will bring to you and all of our members.
We will fight tirelessly to make it very clear to A&P and the bankruptcy judge that A&P should honor its responsibilities to you and your families.  
FAQ sheets describing in more detail the 1113(e) bankruptcy process will be distributed to members later today.
If you have any questions, please contact your Union Representative. We are here to help you in every way possible. 

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