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.

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