A message to UFCW Members at A&P-owned supermarkets:
June 3, 2011
In recent weeks, your local union and the other UFCW local unions at A&P-owned stores have been meeting with A&P about the company’s bankruptcy proceedings. The goal of these meetings, and all our previous work on the bankruptcy committee, is for A&P to emerge from this process healthy enough that our members can continue to serve customers in as many communities as possible.
One of the requirements of our union’s participation in the bankruptcy process is to maintain strict confidentiality about financial, operational, and other information that is provided pursuant to a court-approved confidentiality agreement. That confidentiality also covers the Company’s review of such information at meetings. It’s difficult, mind you, to have a look behind the company’s curtain yet and not be able to communicate that information to our members. It’s very important that we honor the agreement lest we lose the opportunity to participate in the process and review that key information so that we can advocate for your job standards and your union contract. Ultimately we will be able to review the conclusions the unions reach after reviewing such information.
One thing is very clear - A&P would like to change everything in your union contract, under the cover of bankruptcy reorganization. In the information sharing process, the company has shown that it views all economic contract provisions as up for negotiation. Even worse, it views non-economic provisions, including those about transfers, schedules, hours, and classifications, as potential items to demand to negotiate away.
Our union will not let this happen. Our financial analysis clearly shows that there is no economic need for the type of wholesale change to the contracts sought by the company. While some changes to our contracts may happen, by standing strong together, we can keep any changes to the minimum of what’s actually necessary.
A&P needs to make changes to its corporate structure that put it back on a long-range path to success. Many of those changes will need to happen at the management level.
We are still early in this process, but it’s never too early to stick together. A&P workers are willing do to our part to get this company back on the right track and to make changes that will have a long-term positive impact on our company.
UFCW local unions will continue our coordinated work to protect UFCW members throughout the A&P chain. Shop stewards will continue to serve as key leaders in your store and we encourage you to talk with your steward about the bankruptcy process and what each of you can do to help secure a positive outcome for all A&P workers. As always, your union representative is also available to answer any questions.
Bruce W. Both
President, UFCW Local 1500