For Immediate Release:
Supermarket Union Schedules Contract Update Meetings
Strike Vote to Be Taken if Necessary as November 2nd Expiration Date Approaches
United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500 (UFCW), New York State's largest grocery workers union, announced today that they would be scheduling contract update meetings for over 10.000 members employed by King Kullen and Stop and Shop supermarket chains. The Union also announced that the purpose of these meetings may also be to take a strike authorization vote should the lack of progress towards a fair settlement continue.
The collective bargaining agreements with each company expired on September 28th, 2013 but all parties had previously agreed to two contract extensions. The most recent extension is set to expire on November 2nd, 2013. However minimal progress has been made due to repeated attempts by the employers to use the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements as a basis to rollback the entire Union contract.
"We came to the bargaining table in good faith understanding that we would have to make changes to our Health and Welfare Fund to be compliant under the new requirements of the ACA" said Anthony Speelman, Local 1500's Secretary Treasurer and lead negotiator for the Unions Stop and Shop bargaining committee. "Stop and Shop came to these negotiations with the hopes of using the Affordable Care Act to gut the entire Union contract. That was a tremendous mistake. The members of our Union have worked and fought for many years to protect their hard earned benefits and if Stop and Shop thinks it is going to undo all of that because of Obamacare they are in for a rude awakening," Speelman stated.
"There is no question that the ACA has presented challenges during these negotiations," Speelman continued. "However our Union negotiating committee has no doubt that a resolution can be reached that will preserve our member's affordable and comprehensive healthcare plan if the company representatives would focus on mutual need rather than employer greed. The membership of our Union is prepared to do whatever is necessary should Stop and Shop continue to take this troubling approach," Speelman concluded.
Meetings are being arranged for Monday October 28 for Stop and Shop members and Tuesday October 29th for King Kullen members. Further details on times and locations will be released by the Union as soon as arrangements are finalized.
United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500, based out of Westbury, New York represents grocery workers in New York City, Long Island, Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess Counties. Members of Local 1500 are employed by A&P/Pathmark, Fairway, Stop and Shop, Gristedes, D'Agastinos, Key Food, Shop Rite and King Kullen. Stay up to date with UFCW Local 1500 on twitter @ufcw1500, facebook.com/ufcw1500, www.ufcw1500.org.