Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tuesday Mornin' One Liners

The NLRB has adopted the rule change, putting an end to "unnecessary litigation & delays" between filing for a union election and the vote.

Here's what UFCW International President Joe Hansen said about the NLRB rule change.

Rumors are stirring that the NLRB could be shut down by next year.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association have released a statement on the NLRB rule change naming it the "ambush election rule".

A&P has updated their Financial Outlook, Supermarket News reports.

The Seattle City Council has passed a law banning plastic carry-out bags! The bill encourages the use of reusable shopping bags by requiring grocers and retailers to charge a nickel for paper bags. The bill was also backed by UFCW-21 "We have the support of grocers, retailers, restaurants, labor unions, and environmental organizations in Seattle. We also have broad grassroots involvement from residents who have been emailing and calling in support of this issue for months now."

Poor holidays sales along with competing against Walmart & Target, is leading Sears & /Kmart to close 100-120 stores, a move expected to lay off/displace thousands of retail workers.  More @ ABC News.

Rob Walton, Chairman of the Board for Walmart, won JWJ's annual 'Scrooge of the Year' contest.
The family’s dividends from their Walmart stock alone are more than $2 billion/year. Just using their dividends, they could ensure that a million Walmart employees make at least $12/hour. Instead, they are growing richer by the year. Even with all of this money, Walmart only pays an average of $8.81/hour to store associates. And the company has yet to meet with and address the concerns of those who work for them such as scheduling (especially during the holiday season). Just last month Walmart, under Rob’s leadership, slashed health care coverage for hundreds of thousands of Walmart employees and their families—right before the holidays!  What a scrooge! Check out more at JWJ.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer: Walmart a threat to NYC.

Editorial: Big Box Scheduling leaves workers exhausted and broke in the hectic holiday season.

Fresh, healthy foods were promoted less by Supermarkets in 2011 reports Supermarket News.

Bi-Lo will buy Winn-Dixie for $560 million.

Pathmark & workers clash on Christmas opening.

Huffington Post writes that Unions & Occupy Wall Street are working together, slowly.

The New York Observer sees through Target's new strive to be more 'local' at their Harlem store.

The AFL-CIO Blog points out that Lawmakers, not just CEO's, are the top 1% and maybe that's why it's so difficult to pass a millionaire's tax.  Summed up in an excellent article in today's  Washington Post: Growth wealth widens distance between politicians and constituents.

Sears to Close 100-120 Kmart & Sears Stores, Affecting Thousands of Retail Workers

Old logo of Sears
Image via Wikipedia
This morning Sears announced they will be closing 100 to 120 Kmart and Sears stores due to poor sales and lack of competition to rivals like Target & Walmart.  Earlier this year Sears announced they would close 10 stores.  Though all major media outlets continue to only focus on what this means for the stock and shareholders of Sears/Kmart, the closing of stores is expected to lay off or displace over 1,000 Sears/Kmart retail employees.  Our hearts and best wishes go out to those who will be affected by the store closings.

From The Associated Press:
Sears Holdings Corp. plans to close between 100 and 120 Sears and Kmart stores after poor sales during the holidays, the most crucial time of year for retailers.  
The store closings follow its announcement last quarter it would shutter 10 stores. Kmart and Sears have a combined 2,177 U.S. big box locations and another 500 in Canada.
A list of which stores closing will be available at www.searsmedia.com.
Wall Street analysts have long faulted Sears for not investing enough to make its stores appealing. Sears is "effectively asking customers to pay for a poorer shopping environment" than other chains, Credit Suisse analyst Gary Balter said in a note to clients.
Balter was also surprised that Sears would borrow money during the holidays, which are typically a peak cash flow period.

Sears blamed poor consumer electronics sales in a tough economic environment "especially for big-ticket items" for more than half of the decline in its namesake chain's domestic same-store sales.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

NLRB Adopts Rule to Speed Union Elections

Today, in a small step forward to leveling the playing field for the working class, the National Labor Relations Board adopted a new, Republican criticized and attacked, rule which would eliminate and "reduce unnecessary litigation and delays" during the union election process.  The new rule will go into effect on April 30, 2012.  From the NLRB:

but under the current rules, inefficiency, abuse of the process, and delay still hamper resolution of many questions of representation.
In recent years, only about 10 percent of NLRB election cases have gone through the hearing process. Such elections have been held on average 101 days after the election petition was filed with a regional office.

 “This rule is about giving all employees who have petitioned for an election the right to vote in a timely manner and without the impediment of needless litigation,” said Chairman Pearce.
You can read the press release from the NLRB with summaries of the proceedings here.  Earlier this November, House Republicans passed what was dubbed the Election Prevention Act, to combat the modest NLRB rule change.  The laws would give companies and corporations a tool-kit and a swiss-army knife for defeating unions and destroying workers' rights.   Republicans continue their attack on unions, workers' rights and the NLRB, though today a small victory towards creating a fair unionization process.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"Let Us Spend Christmas With Our Families!!"

UFCW Local 1500 is standing up to the A&P/Pathmark  company and is asking its executives to close stores on Christmas Day. Our members have faced a very stressful and difficult year and this is not the time to be taking away a holiday that should be spent with their families.  "A&P/Pathmark ended up in bankruptcy because of poor decisions by former management. Hopefully current management will not follow in their footsteps and respect their workers, their customers and the spirit of the Christmas season and keep these stores shut"Secretary Treasurer Anthony Speelman. 

Below is the letter written to the A&P/Pathmark executives.UFCW Local 1500 will hand bill company stores this week urging the public to contact A&P/Pathmark management and express their disapproval. Another way of showing your support is to sign and share this petition to show your solidarity.  By signing this petition you will be helping thousands of Local 1500 members get the chance to spend Christmas with their families. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Come Meet Santa!

This Sunday December 11, 2011, Local 1500 will be hosting a Holiday Breakfast with Santa Claus at the Union Office!

All Local 1500 members are invited to attend with their families and all children under 11 years old will receive a free photo with Santa and a gift!

For more information call 516-214-1305 or send an email to info@ufcw1500.org!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Thursday Mornin' One Liners: Bob's Goes UFCW, Again!

"For the mayor to endorse Walmart... is an example of the 1 percent of the income earners advancing the economic interests of the 1 percent of the mega-corporate world." Brooklyn Assemblywoman Inez Barron, in response to Mayor Bloomberg's support of Walmart opening in NYC.

The New York Observer writes on how Walmart is constantly "woo'd" every week by brokers for their lucrative real estate deal if they open a store in NYC.   Since that's what it's all about, real estate commissions from Walmart, not their potential affects on surrounding communities and local business.

In India they're [Walmart] hearing a familiar complaint about opening and expansion, "You'll kill our local business."

Walmart is holding a community hostage explained the Mayor of Warren, as they won't agree to a developer building a new state of the art facility that will compete against them, forcing what locals call an eyesore next to the Walmart store.  “They basically have deserted the city of Warren and, rather than move out, they’re just paying their rent,”

Walmart's ballot-box tactics have California residents angered and feeling bullied by the mega-corporation.

Walmart really wants to do your taxes.

Odd story that people continue to find hypodermic needles in Walmart clothing.

New Jobs Report: Good for Retail Workers.

Four more Bob's Discount Furniture stores vote in the UFCW!

Great read: The GOP's war on labor unions.

The WSJ Reports that Stop & Shop balked A&P's new re-structuring deal, they're protesting the new CBA.

Forbes says $239 million is the cost to compete with Walmart.

Bankrupt A&P will fight on under concessionary bargains.

Stop & Shop is hosting a Healthy Kids Summit.

Target is trying to layoff their unionized employees who were recently acquired when they purchased the Canadian chain, Zellers.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Monday's News Afternoon:

Asbury Park Press: Workers approve contract to keep A&P afloat.  More @ NJ.com

UFCW International released a statement from President Joe Hansen on NLRB Election Rule.

Republicans are panicking about the NLRB rule change.

Stop and Shop is set to buy 3 King Kullen stores.

Buying holiday gifts made in America can help create jobs!

Huffington Post looks at Walmart's latest Chicago express store.  The store is 14,800 square feet and is expected to employ 45 people.

TheStreet.com says this is Walmart of the future.

The UFCW is Battling Target in Canada:

Target purchased many unionized stores for their Canadian expansion, the UFCW Canada is asking their labor board to declare Target as a successor employer, which would require Target to recognize the union as representing employees at that location after it becomes a Target store!  Target is claiming their acquisition of the stores was strictly for real estate.

More @MinneapolisBusinessJournal: Target faces union push in Canada.

Joint Statement from the 13 UFCW/RWDSU Locals of the A&P Bankruptcy Team

November 30, 2011

Union Representing A&P Supermarket Workers & Company Reach a Deal to help the company emerge from bankruptcy and save nearly 36,000 Jobs

New York- November 30, 2011- After a year of intense negotiations, 13 Locals of the UFCW/RWDSU representing some 36,000 union members from Maryland to Connecticut have concluded negotiations with The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company (A&P) and affiliated companies who filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December of 2010.

Over a three-day voting period, union members from the 13 Local Unions ratified, by a large majority, new contracts with the company. The new collective bargaining agreements were constructed in such a way as to allow A&P to rebuild and emerge from bankruptcy, while at the same time protecting the jobs, the medical plans and pensions of the members of the various Local Unions.

Throughout the bankruptcy proceedings the UFCW/RWDSU Local Unions have remained united, negotiating as one group, to ensure the best outcome for the long term health of the company, the members working in the stores and the more than 300 communities A&P stores serve.

According to the UFCW/RWDSU this agreement, while concessionary in nature, was necessary to save the jobs of tens of thousands of members. UFCW Secretary Treasurer Marc Perrone said of the deal, “While we are never happy to be in the position of concessionary bargaining, we do believe that these agreements represent the best outcome for our members under the circumstances.” Perrone continued, “I am proud of the 13 UFCW/RWDSU Local unions who stood united and worked together to ensure that the new agreements minimize the impact on the lives of our members while providing the A&P companies with sufficient financial savings to help them emerge from bankruptcy.”

Perrone also stated, “A&P’s bankruptcy was entirely self-inflicted, as the company suffered through decades of leadership that knew very little about running a supermarket chain. While most of the people responsible for the bankruptcy are no longer with the company, we truly hope the new leadership team understands and appreciates the sacrifice our members are making to help save the companies they have served for years.”

The new contracts were a condition to the financing for A&P’s proposed plan of reorganization, and if the new contracts had not been ratified by the 13 UFCW/RWDSU Unions, A&P could have faced liquidation.

The new contracts will last five years and will take effect two business days after bankruptcy court approval of the agreements. A bankruptcy court hearing on such approval is scheduled to take place on December 5.


Download the pdf here.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

13 UFCW/RWDSU Locals Ratify New A&P Agreement

13 UFCW/RWDSU Local Unions Overwhelmingly Ratify New A&P/Pathmark Agreement

UFCW Local 1500 President Bruce W. Both announced that the thirteen UFCW/RWDSU Locals participating in the A&P/Pathmark contract modification negotiations have ratified the new collective bargaining agreement. The following are the total votes cast:

7200 Voted 'Yes' to Accept the Contract Modifications

1827 Voted 'No' to Reject the Contract Modifications

“We know the past year was an extremely difficult time for UFCW Local 1500 members employed by Pathmark.  All of us at the Union are very grateful for the support and patience shown by the Pathmark workers.  While we all recognize the changes to the Pathmark contract are substantial, we are pleased that we were able to conclude this process with our Health Insurance and Pension programs unchanged.   Additionally, several provisions of the new agreement will expire during the life of the contract and will not have to be negotiated back in 2016.   Also, management proposals to gut the job protection language in your contracts were completely defeated," President Both stated.

“While I acknowledge that we now must move forward, we must also remain vigilant and united every day. We expect that early next year A&P/Pathmark will emerge from bankruptcy.  The new management team at A&P/Pathmark must listen to the voices of the workers if they are to have any chance to once again be a growing and successful supermarket.  However, as we have said in the past, Local 1500 will remain cautious and will be ready to protect our Union members jobs should A&P/Pathmark management take any actions we believe to be counter-productive to its success and harmful to our membership.”

“The key to our future is solidarity and unity.  Without that, I have no doubt that thousands of Pathmark workers today would be seeking new jobs during a horrible economy rather than going to their stores knowing their working conditions far exceed those of non-union companies like Walmart, BJ's and Target.  By remaining unified we can work to undo the difficult, but necessary, changes to this contract when we negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement in 2016.  Again, on behalf of the entire staff and leadership of UFCW Local 1500, I thank you for your for patience, support, and most importantly, your solidarity."

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday's One-Liners: Black Friday Recaps & NLRB Under Attack

The NLRB is split on the new rule change, (which would cut the useless waiting periods companies have used for to push their anti-union propaganda and simplify the union election process) and last week the lone Republican serving on the National Labor Relations Board threatened to resign if the new change goes into effect.

On November 30 the AFL-CIO will hold a special forum in DC to analyze the attacks on the NLRB and workers' rights.

On Black Friday, which always brings the best out in people, 2 shoppers were hurt, 1 arrested at a Walmart upstate NY where several fights broke out.  In LA, a shopper pepper sprayed fellow customers as the doors opened at a Walmart.  Fox did a nice round up of all the violence from across the country on Black Friday.

Walmart's Black Friday: Shootings, Pepper Spray & a Blackout.

An exhausted Target worker fell asleep after working long hours on Black Friday and crashed into a canal.

In Saranac NY, residents kept a Super Walmart out, then opened their own Community store to keep the local businesses alive!

A&P union workers across the east cost are voting on a modified contract to help the company emerge from bankruptcy.

Supermarket News looks at Ahold's new growth strategies.

Stop & Shop is set to unveil a new concept store in Massachusetts.

To the surprise of local residents, St. James King Kullen expansion was approved by the Smithtown town board.  More @ Newsday.

Walmart is finding ways to win big in California new initiatives.

AlterNet asks, is Walmart Chairman Rob Walton the worst of the top 1%?

An attorney has questioned the legality of a bill that would require Walmart and other national big box stores to meet with community groups to discuss wages, employee treatment and working conditions before opening.

UFCW Canada is calling all activists to help: Stop the Blacklisting of Migrant Workers!

More: Three Mexican farm workers who claim they were arbitrarily booted from Canada are suing the federal government and an Ontario company in a case that raises questions about the vulnerability of migrant labor.

In the first 12 days, 300,000 petitions have been signed to recall Governor Walker.

On December 1 (Thursday) we're marching with the New York City Central Labor Council at 4 PM from Herald Square to Union Square (NYC) for Economic Fairness and Jobs.  NO rally and NO Speeches! Just marching! For more info head here. If you'd like to join us, send us an email!
There are 14 million unemployed in America, while the richest 1% has tripled its wealth over the past 30 years. Everyday, we see hard-working families struggling to get by.  The labor movement will never be satisfied when so many working-class people find themselves shut out of the American dream. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

UFCW President Joe Hansen: Stand With Workers This Thanksgiving

United Food and Commercial Workers

UFCW International President Joe Hansen has written an excellent editorial on respecting retail workers featured in the Huffington Post.

Stand With Workers This Thanksgiving
By Joe Hansen 

International President, United Food and Commercial Workers

When one retail worker speaks out and takes public action against unfair scheduling practices, it's a media story. When his coworkers stand with him and speak with one voice, they've got a union, and that's the best way to make real change.

Anthony Hardwick, a retail worker at a North Omaha Target store, has drawn headlines by petitioning his employer to return to traditional opening hours on Black Friday instead of pushing up the opening to Thanksgiving Day. Across the country, thousands of retail workers at stores like Target and Walmart are facing a Black Friday work schedule that leaves them with no time to sit down for Thanksgiving dinner with their families.

Scheduling issues are consistently a top concern for retail workers. Many workers want more hours and a consistent, full-time schedule they can count on to support their families. But there's a double-edged sword for workers who put in long hours and forego family time over the holiday weekend: instead of seeing a reward for their hard work and loyalty in their paychecks, many will see their hours cut back in the days following the holiday so retailers can avoid paying overtime.

Even though their on-the-job conditions are often overlooked, retail workers are the backbone of our service economy. Millions of Americans work these jobs, and retail is one of the only sectors of our economy that is growing. Retail jobs are going to define how it is to live and work in America the way that manufacturing jobs once did. It is vital that retail jobs are secure, full-time jobs that pay the bills and allow people to live a middle class life.

That's why it matters for all of us when Anthony Hardwick has no voice to make holiday scheduling work for his family or demand fair compensation for working on a holiday. Americans know the way Anthony and his co-workers are being treated is unfair and wrong; over 175,000 people have signed a petition in support of Anthony. But for real change, Anthony's concerns over scheduling and holiday pay need to be heard by his managers. The best way that retail workers can have a say over holiday scheduling is by sticking together in a union and negotiating for those changes directly from their employer.

The UFCW and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Council of the UFCW represent workers at grocery stores, but also at stores like Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Modell's and H&M. Union retail workers earn premium pay for work on holidays. Their union contract guides fair scheduling. In these stores, many workers choose to take holiday shifts that might pay time-and-a-half or double-time union wages; as opposed to workers at stores like Target or Walmart who often work holiday shifts out of fear of losing their jobs and may not earn premium pay for these grueling shifts.

We all make compromises with our time over the busy holiday season. Sometimes it is traveling to see the in-laws. Other times it is working long hours over Thanksgiving weekend so that we can provide a magical Christmas morning for our children. When retail workers are given a voice in holiday scheduling, they can respect the needs of their families; whether that need is a loved one's presence at home or the need to earn additional income over the holidays.

Respect for the retail workers who are the heart of events like Black Friday means fair compensation for holiday hours and a voice in scheduling. When we support workers coming together to make positive changes in the workplace, we all win.

Click here to sign the petition to stand with Walmart employees and other retail workers who are sticking together to have a say over their schedules during the holidays.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pathmark Contract Modification Voting Time & Sites

Dear Pathmark Member:

A Secret Ballot Vote will be conducted on Monday, November 28, 2011 from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. regarding approval of proposed modifications to the Collective Bargaining Agreement between UFCW Local 1500 and Pathmark for the term June 27, 2010 to September 28, 2013.

Individual vote totals from each Local Union will be combined and counted in aggregate.


LaBetti Post, VFW                                                      International JFK Airport Hotel
390 Hylan Blvd.                                                         144-02 135th Avenue
Staten Island, New York                                          Jamaica, New York            

Project Hope                                                             Crowne Plaza Long Island
2050 Bartow Avenue                                               1730 North Ocean Avenue
Bronx, New York                                                        Holtsville, New York

UFCW Local 1500 – Union Hall
425 Merrick Avenue
Westbury, New York

Pursuant to Article 23(D)7 of the UFCW International Constitution, Local Nos. 27, 100R, 152, 338, 342, 371, 464A, 1034, 1245, 1262, 1360, 1500, and 1776 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (“Local Unions”) have agreed that the results of the vote to accept or reject the final offer by The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, Inc., and its affiliated debtors and debtors-in-possession (collectively, “the Company”) for modifications to existing collective bargaining agreements or terms for new collective bargaining agreements between the Local Unions and the Company will be determined by aggregating the votes of all the affected members of all the Local Unions.

ANTHONY G. SPEELMAN                                         BRUCE W. BOTH

Secretary-Treasurer                                                  President

 Print out the voting schedule by clicking the picture below and post in your store:


Nov. 17th: Update from UFCW Local 1500 on A&P (Pathmark) Bankruptcy

UFCW Local 1500 A&P/Pathmark Update, Thursday November 17, 2011

The following is an update from UFCW Local 1500 regarding the A&P/Pathmark bankruptcy proceedings.  This update includes all actions that have occurred since our last update on Sunday November 13th, 2011:

UFCW Local 1500 recently conducted a conference call with our International Legal Department, our Regional Directors and all local unions holding Collective Bargaining Agreements with A&P/Pathmark and its other banners.

The purpose of the discussion was to set-up times and the methodology needed to implement ratification and the reporting of results regarding the modifications of our current Contracts.

The following was discussed and decided:

- The Bankruptcy Court has not yet received the final Term Sheets laying out changes to each Local's contract from several Local Unions. That is causing a legal delay in discussing the contract modifications with the Pathmark membership. Please understand that because the Bankruptcy Court has not yet placed its official seal on the negotiations, we have not been permitted to discuss details of the agreement.

- As far as the voting process is concerned, all UFCW/RWDSU Local Unions agreed that the ballots will be worded in line with appropriate terminology so as to reflect whether the situation is a contract modification or the enactment of new contract provisions.

- Ballot language will be provided by our International Legal Department. All Local Unions voted unanimously that the ballots cast by all Unions will be combined and counted in the aggregate.

- The specific process regarding the vote will be left to the individual Locals. Information regarding Local 1500's voting process is being released to the membership.

- Local 1500 must print ballots, create a document, identify changes in the Contract, establish a voting procedure and provide adequate notice to the members. All of that work is being done now.

All of this work will get done despite the added complication that next week marks Thanksgiving, which is an extremely busy period in stores. The timing is not conducive to stopping work and casting ballots next week..

Members should continue to stay focused, united and informed. We will give you all the facts as soon as the Bankruptcy Court permits us to do so.  Please do not believe the rumors you might hear and report them to your union delegate.   Follow our updates on the union website and under our Facebook page.

The International UFCW Blog: Stop Nespressure! Tell Nestlé to respect trade unions!

The UFCW Blog: Stop Nespressure! Tell Nestlé to respect trade union rights!...: Management pressure on workers and their unions continues at Nestlé, the world's largest food company. At the Nescafé factory in Panjang, Indonesia, union members have been dismissed following industrial action in response to a collective bargaining deadlock. The company has failed to show up for mediation and refused admittance to the occupied factory with a committee from the local parliament, preferring mass dismissals to good faith negotiations....Read more

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Update #21 from UFCW/RWDSU Locals 1500, 338 and 342 A&P Bankruptcy Negotating Team

Update on A&P/Pathmark Bankruptcy Negotiations from UFCW/RWDSU Locals 1500, 342 and 338

Sunday, November 13th

At the conclusion of four straight days of negotiations, UFCW and RWDSU Local Unions presented to A&P/Pathmark a proposal to bring before the Federal bankruptcy judge for consideration. Under the court ordered confidentiality agreement, details of the proposal cannot be released or discussed until the court process permits.

To be clear, no tentative agreement has been reached between the unions and A&P.  Any agreement on labor concessions must be voted on by the members.  This will only take place after the court process permits the unions to bring the proposal to the members.  The members will have sufficient time to review any proposal prior to voting.

The company is scheduled to appear before the Federal bankruptcy judge Monday morning, November 14th.

UFCW/RWDSU Locals 1500, 338 and 342 have stood together throughout and will remain united.

Your Union will continue to keep you updated. Members should continue to stay focused, united and informed. Please report any rumors to your union delegate. Follow our updates on the unions website and/or Facebook page. As we have said all along, we will continue to provide information to you in compliance with the confidentiality guidelines of the bankruptcy court.

Update #20 from UFCW/RWDSU Locals 1500, 342 & 338

Negotiations Continue Between Local Unions, A&P, and Yucaipa

Union Efforts Continue to Focus on Bargaining Best Deal Possible for Members Working in A&P, Pathmark, Waldbaum's, and Food Emporium

UFCW and RWDSU Local Unions are continuing to meet with A&P and Yucaipa in Newark, New Jersey in an attempt to bargain a new contract. To bargain a fair and equitable deal for the members,
Locals 342, 338, and 1500 have united together to be sure the members are spoken for with one voice.

As part of the effort to stay as united as possible, the leadership of the Local Unions are asking the members to stop expressing their opinions about the ongoing bankruptcy negotiations in front of managers and supervisors. Alleged conversations and opinions of the members are surfacing at the bargaining table, and the company is trying to use those positions to their advantage. Therefore, the Unions are asking that members please refrain from expressing all opinions on this matter in front of store management until a conclusion is reached.

UFCW Locals 342, 338, and 1500 are determined to stand together and remain more united than ever. The more united the locals remain, the more power we have at the bargaining table.

Members should continue to stay focused and informed. Please report any rumors to your union delegate. Follow our updates on the union website and our Facebook page.

In Unity There is Strength!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Update #19 From UFCW Local 1500 on A&P (Pathmark) Bankruptcy Negotiations

United Food and Commercial WorkersImage via Wikipedia
The following update is from the UFCW Local 1500 A&P/Pathmark Bankruptcy Negotiation Team:

Negotiations between the UFCW Local 1500, A&P Pathmark and the several other affected UFCW Local Unions concluded Thursday evening with no progress having made between the parties.

The following is a brief summary of the current status of the negotiations:

1.  Unions representing UFCW members working in A&P/Pathmark stores located in New York have presented a united front to the company and have made it clear that their solidarity will not be broken.  Management must deal with the New York unions together.

2.   Despite various reports from other sources outlining the companies demands, UFCW Local 1500 members should understand these negotiations will NOT be driven by any set of unacceptable demands made by the company.  The Union considers several demands "dead on arrival."

3. The company is scheduled to appear before the Federal bankruptcy judge Monday morning, November 14, 2011. The unions are prepared to meet non-stop through the weekend to reach a fair agreement.

UFCW Local 1500 will continue to keep you updated as soon as events change.  We continue to work very hard to reach an agreement that saves jobs, keeps as much of our contract with Pathmark intact and helps return this company to profitability and growth.

Members should continue to stay focused, united and informed.  Please report any rumors to your union delegate. Follow our updates on the union website and our Facebook page.  As we have all along, we will continue to disseminate information to you in compliance with the confidentiality guidelines of the bankruptcy court.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

UFCW On Point: Nov 9, 2011

Check out the latest edition of UFCW International's OnPoint, summarizing what's going on in the UFCW around the nation.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Update #18: UFCW Local 1500 on the A&P/Pathmark Bankruptcy

Update from UFCW Local 1500 on the A&P/Pathmark Bankruptcy

Representatives of UFCW Local 1500 and several other UFCW Local Unions met Monday, November 7th, with the management team from the Yucaipa Investment company. Yucaipa is one of the investors that will be part of the management team charged with turning around this company, both financially and operationally.  To be clear, Yucaipa will be playing a leading role in the turn around of A&P (Pathmark).

As of today, we know the following regarding this most recent transaction:

1. The current board of directors at A&P/Pathmark will be dissolved and replaced by a new board.  A Yucaipa representative will chair the new board of directors

2. The UFCW International Union will have a representative on the new board.

3. The company will switch from a public company to a privately owned company.

4. The company is scheduled to appear before the bankruptcy judge on November 14th to seek approval of these actions.

5. Pathmark/A&P hopes to exit bankruptcy in early 2012.

Many Pathmark members have experience with Yucaipa from previous company organizational changes.  Does this recent transaction mean the unions will no longer have to negotiate labor concessions as part of the company turnaround?

Absolutely not.   In fact, the entire agreement between A&P/Pathmark and the group of investors led by Yucaipa is contingent upon labor concessions being negotiated and approved by the membership.  Should those concessions not be negotiated and ratified, the likely end result would be the possible liquidation of the company.

As we have always stated, during negotiations we will continue to emphasize that real change must come from management and that the union members must be real partner if the company is to succeed.  Once the union negotiators feel that an agreement has been reached, it will be brought before you.  We do expect that these negotiations will conclude in the very near future.

Union leadership goals have not changed since day one of this bankruptcy. We want to reach an agreement that saves jobs, keeps much of our contract with Pathmark intact and helps return this company to profitability and growth.

Thank you for the continued confidence and support of your union leadership.  Members should continue to stay focused, united and informed.  Please report any rumors to your union delegate.  Follow our updates on the union website and our Facebook page. As we have all along, we will continue to disseminate information to you in compliance with the confidentiality guidelines of the bankruptcy court.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday Mornin' One Liners: Nov 4 - Nov 7th: Burkle to Chair A&P


Ron Burkle will chair A&P under the new buyout plan.
The proposed new board of directors would also include two designees each from Goldman Sachs Asset Management and Mount Kellett Capital Management; one director selected by the United Food and Commercial Workers union; and A&P’s chief executive officer, Sam Martin. The former two companies are combining with Yucaipa on a $490 million deal to buy A&P out of U.S. Bankruptcy Court and operate it as a privately held company, as reported first in SN Thursday. The plan is predicated upon savings as a result of a new labor deal with the UFCW, which has yet to be reached.
Read more: http://supermarketnews.com/retail_financial/burkle_ap_1104/?cid=upd#ixzz1d1mrohwR
The Bergen Record: A&P Deal Called Positive for Unions, Business.

Wall Street Journal: Yucaipa keeps A&P in its Grocery Basket.

More @ Reuters, Progressive Grocer.

The Westbury Times profiles a Local 338 member working at Waldbaum's and how the A&P bankruptcy is affecting workers.

Patch highlights how A&P's negotiations have been affecting local workers in Long Island.

Best Yet will take over for a shuttered Waldbaum's in Patchogue, Long Island.

The National Labor Relations Board accuses Target of intimidating workers at Valley Stream before their union vote this past June.

There's a Thanksgiving Food Drive at Dix Hills Stop & Shop.

King Kullen opened a new store Friday in Garden City, Long Island.

Rumors of a new "high-end" supermarket could be opening in Southampton.

30 workers at Master Food in Flatbush have been overworked and underpaid, Local 338 helped them win back wages and a union contract!
Workers at a Flatbush supermarket who charged they were illegally stiffed on their wages for years settled a lawsuit for $300,000 - and a union contract.
The 30 workers at Master Food on Church Ave. charged they worked 12 hour days, six or seven days a week, for as little as $3.93 an hour, and never got required overtime pay. Read more: @ Daily News

Prioritizing attacks on NLRB at the expense of Jobs:
According to a new report from American Rights at Work in 2011 alone Republicans have launched nearly 50 attacks on the National Labor Relations Board. 

The AFL-CIO says it right: "The assaults on workers’ rights comes at a time when most Americans say jobs are the nation’s No. 1 priority."

Check out the report along with some interesting graphics here.

AFL-CIO Blog: For the third time in a month, senate repbulicans kill "Rebuild America Act," an act which would create hundreds of thousands of jobs.

The AFL-CIO Blog also lists Verizon and 29 other very large corporations who haven't paid taxes since 2007.

Unions supply food for thousands of Occupy Oakland protesters.

UFCW Blog: 80,000 Jobs aren't enough to re-start our economy.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Nov. 4: Week's End News

SN: A&P Agrees to Deal to Emerge from Bankruptcy

A&P Receives $490 Million Commitment to Sponsor Plan of Reorganization:
Agreement with The Yucaipa Companies, Mount Kellett and Investment Funds Managed by Goldman Sachs Asset Management Positions A&P to Exit Chapter 11 as a Private Company in Early 2012Here's A&P's Press Release.

Since the announcement, the UFCW A&P Negotiating team has released two statements, the first here and second here.

Workers at Bob's Discount Furniture Stores continue to organize throughout the Northeast.

The landlord of a Pathmark in Lackawanna is telling Pathmark, "shape up, or ship out!" Blaming A&P's old un-renovated Pathmark for the shopping center's demise.

Southhampton Village has drafted a new law altering zoning regulations for supermarkets, in order to allow King Kullen to build a new store.

Fresh & Easy debuts an express store format.

Nov. 4th: Update to all UFCW/RWDSU Members Working at A&P or Subsidiary Company

The following message is from the UFCW/RWDSU A&P Negotiating Team

November 4, 2011

Attention all UFCW/RWDSU Members Working at A&P or Subsidiary Company:

A&P has filed a motion in the Bankruptcy Court asking approval to enter into agreements with Yucaipa and certain note holders. Those agreements would form the basis of a plan of reorganization and an investment in A&P of $490 million by Yucaipa and those note holders. This investment is conditioned on obtaining concessionary labor agreements on a very fast time frame. The Motion is scheduled to be heard by the Bankruptcy Court on November 14, 2011.

The UFCW and UFCW Local Unions will be meeting on Monday, November 7, 2011, with Ron Burkle of Yucaipa, one of the investors in this proposed transaction. We are pleased, given his past experience in the grocery business, that he will be involved in this proposed transaction. The Monday meeting will review these investment proposals and the path forward to try to reach new labor agreements.

We will further communicate with you following the meeting with Ron Burkle and advise you of our progress.

In Solidarity,

UFCW A&P Negotiating Committee

Download the printable format below: 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Nov. 3, 2011: Statement from UFCW/RWDSU Negotiating Committee on A&P

United Food and Commercial WorkersThe following is a statement is from the UFCW/RWDSU A&P Negotiating Committee:

Attention all UFCW/RWDSU Members Working at A&P or Subsidiary Company:

This morning, A&P announced in their stores to members that it reached an agreement with financial institutions to bring the company out of bankruptcy in early 2012 as a private company and begin the turnaround process.

While this is generally good news, there are details relative to the management direction of the company still being reviewed. Negotiations with the UFCW and the RWDSU Council for new labor agreements are still not concluded. It is very important to realize that the financial arrangement to bring the company out of bankruptcy is contingent upon labor agreements that are modified from their present form. Our labor agreements will be different than those we are presently working under.

On Tuesday, the UFCW bargaining committee reviewed Yucaipa’s proposal to finance an effort to emerge from chapter 11. We will continue to review announcements from Yucaipa and A&P as they will affect our future contract.

We are still reviewing the details of today’s announcement by A&P. We will examine closely whether or not it meets the objectives of the bargaining committee of local unions.

It is important for UFCW and RWDSU members to remain unified and in contact with their local union representatives with any questions that you may have regarding the discussions between the UFCW and A&P representatives.

In Solidarity,

UFCW A&P Negotiating Committee

Download the print version below:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A&P/Pathmark Update #15 From President Bruce Both

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 13:  A person walks in...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeBy: Bruce Both, President, UFCW Local 1500

Without question, the last 12 months have been very difficult for the Union and members employed by Pathmark. We have been following every news report, reading all other union updates, witnessing questionable business decisions by your employer and hearing the never-ending rumors about the future of A&P/Pathmark.

The last year has been an emotional rollercoaster. We have been forced to watch a once proud company close stores, file for bankruptcy and implement questionable business practices to reverse the decline.

Still, our Union and our 5,000 members employed by Pathmark are still standing strong and united. Together we remain hopeful that Pathmark will emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy with a sound business plan that will lead to a stable, growing company.

The following is a brief summary of actions taken by the Union over the past year to protect Local 1500 Pathmark members and keep you informed.

1. The Union has met with the company several times to discuss both the company plan for the future and potential labor cost savings. These meetings have resulted in no agreements.

2. The Union has shared everything with the membership within the guidelines of the confidentiality agreement Union negotiators were required to sign by a federal judge.

3. The Union has utilized all possible means of communications with Pathmark members. We have used the union website, social media, phone hotlines, direct mail and of course, our Union Delegates.

4. The Union has emphasized in our presentations to the company that we and our members are skeptical on their ability and commitment to running supermarkets effectively.

5. We have demanded the company listens to the people who know industry operations best and have the best solutions to Pathmark’s problems: The backbone of the company, the union members!

6. We have opposed executive bonuses and incentives executive management believes it deserves in order to turn the company around.

7. The Union has made it clear to you, the Pathmark members that any final agreement between the Union and the company will be voted on by you.

I will not begin to guess when this process will reach its conclusion. We can’t predict the future. However, with over a year having already passed, we all are aware that we are getting closer to some resolution.

We must continue to stay united. The company will continue to do what is best for the company and its executives. We must speak as one union with one voice and do what is best for the workers. Remember: One Union, One Voice!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Mornin' One-Liners: #OWS & Labor, Walmart's Health Plan Gets Worse

Good Monday Morning! Below are relevant NY grocery industry news stories for today:

Stop & Shop signs a lease for a new store in Purchase, NY.

Ben & Jerry's newest ice cream, Schweddy Balls, has been banned by Stop & Shop.

In Europe, rumors of Aldi's plans to sell beer for a buck in 2012 have people angry.

The highly criticized Walmart health plan is changing, for the worse: Wal-Mart is substantially rolling back coverage for part-time workers and significantly raising premiums for many full-time staff.  This is due to "rising costs", meanwhile the five Walton heirs who are listed in the Forbes 400 Billionaires list are worth a total of $86.4 billion.

New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn slammed Walmart on Friday after learning of the Health Care cuts.

UFCW International President Joe Hansen released a statement on Walmart's Health plan changes, saying, "This lowering of working standards will have repercussions throughout the retail industry- particularly for part-time workers."

UFCW International also endorsed Barack Obama last week.

Editorial: Walmart shifts employee health costs to States.

Walmart could seek World Trade Organization relief in their controversial Massmart (South Africa) deal. 

USA Today wonders if Walmart's business problems in China are just an example of a growing trend for foreign retailers in China.

"Our Walmart" held a teach in at Occupy Wall Street last week.

Walmart workers Occupy Wall Street.

NBC, NY 1 & Crain's covered the Walmart teach in. 

Verizon workers marched with #OWS on Friday.

New poll shows over a third of Americans support #OWS.

AFL-CIO: Unions join Occupy Wall Street movement.

The Washington Post examines the uneasy alliance between #OWS protesters and the labor movement.

Fairway is teaming up with a local TV Chef to help public TV in Connecticut.

In Commack, Long Island, Pathmark leaves a big spot to fill.

A new ShopRite in Somerville, NJ, which replaced a closed Pathmark, has the community excited and hopeful for a revitalization of business.

A&P has been fighting to save a development in New Jersey, where the landlord was accused of soliciting other retailers & having reservations about the bankrupt company...Last week a judge adjourned the dispute, encouraging A&P and the landlord to settle out of court.  Another hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 14.

JBS workers in Minnesota vote in the UFCW!

Local 1500 raised over $9,000 for the Making Strides against Breast Cancer walk at Jones Beach.  Local 1500 member Jessica Goldstein was quoted, “We walk every year to show support from the union we work for,” in the Long Island report.