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The 2011 NorCal Grocery Contract

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Bill Sable
Post Posted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 8:13 pm

Joined: 14 Feb 2009
Posts: 272
The silence has been golden...and a bit conspicuous. So let us create a space to discuss the next step which is the negotiations for the new Grocery Contract in Northern California.

Here's where things stand thus far:

(1) the Employers evinced no interest in negotiations preceding the settlement of a SoCal Contract. Meetings beteen Local 5, 648, and 8 were minimal.

(2) Employers and the Locals have been in meetings revolving around the how/where/when of negotiating, which is pretty normal.

(3) the prior Contract expired on 8 October 2011.

(4) that Contract was extended through 8 November 2011, so that clerks continue to work under all of its provisions until at least the specified date.

(5) At least a portion of the new Contract - that concerning our pensions and the status of the Pension Fund - have been determined between Employers and Locals acting as Trustees. Clerks have (or will soon receive a letter from the Pension Trust/Trustees which details the changes in the Pension Plan. The letter specifies certain reductions in benefits which the Trustees have negotiated to ensure future solvency of the Pension Fund.
By all means, read this document with attention and care.
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John Briley
Post Posted: Sun Oct 16, 2011 11:41 pm

Joined: 21 Nov 2007
Posts: 2158
Quote:
President's Perspective

by Ron Lind

Grocery Division Members: We're Getting Ready

While our Union is highly diversified with members in many industries ranging from wholesale meat and non-food retail to barbers, cannabis industry workers and others, the overwhelming majority continue to work in retail food stores. When contracts are set to expire for our approximately 25,000 members working in those stores, much of our energy and attention must naturally shift to the task of assuring success at the bargaining table. That time has come, and we’re getting ready.

The stars were aligned for us in 2007. A strong economy, healthy companies, our recent merger, union solidarity and a sound bargaining strategy resulted what is still seen as the best contract settlement for grocery industry workers in North America.

While our foresight in negotiating a four, rather than a three-year deal was a positive move, we are now faced with one of the most challenging bargaining environments that I have seen in my thirty-two year career as a union representative.

With the exception of Safeway, our largest employer and the only national company that we deal with, our union represented employers are facing difficult economic and competitive pressures and in some cases, are struggling to survive. Taking advantage of the ongoing financial crisis and lots of vacant stores previously occupied by the likes of Mervyn’s, Circuit City and others, low-wage, low benefit non-union companies are expanding in Northern California at an alarming pace. And while we continue to battle and slow the growth of the giant non-union enemies like Walmart and Fresh and Easy, they are adding market share as well. And, thanks in large part to Republican obstacles to economic growth and a turn-around in the employment situation, consumer spending continues to be negatively impacted.

Our ongoing pension funding challenges and the flat-out attack on unions and the working class by the Tea Party and other right-wing wackos who control the House of Representatives and many State legislatures are factors as well.

While these issues and others are problematic, they are overshadowed by our greatest challenge - the cost of health care. While health care reform was a good idea and may eventually lead to a better health care delivery model, the short-term result has been added cost to our plan. The math is pretty simple. Unionized grocery employers in Northern California pay a little over $6 an hour for every hour that you work in to our benefit plan. For us to maintain our existing plan without change would require that the rate increase to more than $8 an hour over the next two years. Even if we could get the employers to agree, it doesn’t leave much if anything for other needs including wages. And don’t forget that the hourly cost for Walmart and other non-union retailers is closer to $2 an hour at best. Clearly, this issue will be the driving force in our 2011 negotiations.

We’re working on a number of strategies to meet the challenge. The UFCW locals have already introduced cost-containment measures to the fund that have saved millions of dollars without reducing benefits. While some of them, like the dependent eligibility audit were unpopular, they are absolutely necessary and much better than the alternative. There is more to come. Disease management programs, wellness concepts and other alternatives will help us mitigate costs while ultimately making members healthier.

There is much more work to do and it will take place at the bargaining table later this year. Initial signals from the employers indicate that not only are they unwilling to see their health care costs increase, but that they want to dramatically reduce them. That is an unreasonable concept that we will quickly and firmly dissuade them of. We are already seeing this play out in Southern California where the very real threat of a strike is on the horizon.

While we and our employers continue to face the most challenging economic environment of our lifetimes, the fact is that the majority of groceries in Northern California continue to be sold at traditional stores. And the vast majority of those stores are covered by UFCW contracts with relatively the same labor costs.

We stand ready to work with the employers to continue to deal with health care and other contract costs in creative ways that minimize the impact on our members and our retirees. We may have to restructure our benefit plans in ways that shift some of the costs to those members and retirees, particularly those who choose not to participate in health management and other cost-saving programs. But if the employers make the mistake of trying to take advantage of tough times by over-reaching and attempting to undermine the hard-won union advantage that our members enjoy, we will resist with all of the resources that we have.

In the coming weeks our contract communication and member involvement plan will begin to roll out. We’ll be combining traditional strategies with new approaches based on technology and social media, including on-line surveys, virtual meetings, Twitter and so-on. The common denominator is you - and your willingness to stay informed and get involved. Let’s get to work!



Quote:
We may have to restructure our benefit plans in ways that shift some of the costs to those members and retirees, particularly those who choose not to participate in health management and other cost-saving programs.

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John Briley
Post Posted: Sun Oct 16, 2011 11:49 pm

Joined: 21 Nov 2007
Posts: 2158
Quote:
Northern CA:

Contract Extended To November 8th Posted On: Oct 07, 2011 (13:29:42)

Contract Extended
To November 8th
As talks continue, members in Northern and Central California
retail food stores will continue working under a temporary agreement

A temporary agreement allows tens of thousands of grocery workers in Northern and Central California to continue working past the Oct. 8 expiration date of their current Union contract.

Negotiators representing the UFCW Solidarity Alliance of Unions agreed with representatives of Raley’s / Nob Hill, Save Mart / Lucky and Safeway / Vons to extend the terms of the previous contract for an additional month, until Nov. 8.

Joining UFCW 8 in the alliance are UFCW Locals 5 and 648.

The contract extension will protect our members’ current wages, benefits and work rules as the two sides work through complicated issues that still must be resolved.

Prolonged negotiations and a strained bargaining process have become increasingly common around the country as the economy continues to falter and health care costs continue to spiral out of control.

In Southern California, grocery workers remained covered by an extended contract for eight months until a last-minute settlement averted a Labor dispute.

Challenging factors

Our Union has negotiated scores of contracts over the
years, but the negotiations of 2011 are among the most challenging in our history.

Several factors are contributing to the difficulties that are complicating super market negotiations around the nation.

These factors include:
• Spiraling health care costs;
• Changes imposed by health care reform legislation on medical plans;
• The significant increases in pension contributions required to offset losses incurred during the economic downturn of 2008;
• Encroachment by non-Union employers on the market share of Union companies;
• Current unemployment rates.

All of these factors present enormous challenges to reaching satisfactory agreements in our current negotiations.

Our bargaining team will keep working tirelessly to find solutions to these challenges. You can do your part by standing strong with your Union at all times.

Together, we will prove once again that...

Solidarity Works!

Jacques Loveall
President
International Vice President

http://www.ufcw8.org/index.cfm?zone=/unionactive/view_page.cfm&page=Negotiations20Update



Quote:
Negotiators representing the UFCW Solidarity Alliance of Unions agreed with representatives of Raley’s / Nob Hill, Save Mart / Lucky and Safeway / Vons to extend the terms of the previous contract for an additional month, until Nov. 8.

Joining UFCW 8 in the alliance are UFCW Locals 5 and 648.



Quote:


UFCW Solidarity Alliance of Unions ?????


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John Briley
Post Posted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 9:56 pm

Joined: 21 Nov 2007
Posts: 2158
Quote:
UFCW Local 5 Negotiations Update:

October 12, 2011

http://ufcw5.org/PDF%20Files/EnegotiationsUpdate5PDF.pdf


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unionnow
Post Posted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 2:20 am

Joined: 05 Feb 2006
Posts: 848
Location: Gettin the Hell out of retail
Interesting message from Lind. Our greatest challenge was delived by our allies but our great enemy is the tea party?

Obamacare hammered union plans but did not touch non union plans. Of course our union staffers got their double dipping cadillac health plans exempted from taxation.

Seems to me you should be paying those taxes the tea party opposes.

Priming the pump for paying more for health care. Give him an A for honesty. A rare trait in a union staffer.

We are all lashing out at perceived lower level enemies when we should be focusing on the high level enemies that work above mere politics to achieve their goals of poverty for all, exept them of course.

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“The burden against Damascus. ‘Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city, and it will be a ruinous heap. (Isaiah 17:1-2)
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GRUMPY
Post Posted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 3:01 pm

Joined: 19 Feb 2006
Posts: 204
This sh*t is funny. Not for the members. Local 8 has time to go picket a non union chain(Nugget) and complain about how they are dragging the union worker down. When in fact the company is pretty close to what the union contract is with some of it being better, without having to pay dues. After this contract is settled, this chain could have a better contract than the union.
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John Briley
Post Posted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:13 pm

Joined: 21 Nov 2007
Posts: 2158
Quote:
(5) At least a portion of the new Contract - that concerning our pensions and the status of the Pension Fund - have been determined between Employers and Locals acting as Trustees. Clerks have (or will soon receive a letter from the Pension Trust/Trustees which details the changes in the Pension Plan. The letter specifies certain reductions in benefits which the Trustees have negotiated to ensure future solvency of the Pension Fund.
By all means, read this document with attention and care.


Thank You Brother Bill Sable for your excellent suggestion re: the above...

Let us all review / compare the following Rehabilitation Plans for the UFCW Northern and Southern California Joint Pension Plans.

Quote:


UFCW Southern California October / 2011 Updated Rehabilitation Plan for the Joint Pension Plan:

http://www.uncharted.ca/images/users/ssigurdur/20111107_socal_ufcw_joint_pension_fund.pdf

UFCW Northern California October / 2011 Rehabilitation Plan for the Joint Pension Plan:

http://www.uncharted.ca/images/users/ssigurdur/2011nocal_pension_rehab.pdf


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John Briley
Post Posted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 8:37 pm

Joined: 21 Nov 2007
Posts: 2158
Quote:
UFCW Local 5 Negotiations Update:

October 19, 2011

http://ufcw5.org/PDF%20Files/ENegotiationsUpdate6.pdf



After I read this update, I couldn't help but think of the following...

http://www.uncharted.ca/content/view/284/35/

Quote:
Part of my suspicion is a result of having experienced firsthand during numerous negotiation sessions over the years with these same employers their relentless whining about Wal-Mart Supercenters.

Still fresh in my mind is how union employers would raise concerns over what a severe impact a Supercenter would have on their businesses, while threatening to pursue concessions from our members.


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John Briley
Post Posted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 3:23 pm

Joined: 21 Nov 2007
Posts: 2158
With the recent contract settlement in So. Ca. and No. Ca. negotiations just beginning, here is a very disturbing article for your information and review....

Wal-Mart Cuts Some Health Care Benefits

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/21/business/wal-mart-cuts-some-health-care-benefits.html

The New York Times / October 20, 2011
By: Steven Greenhouse & Reed Abelson

Quote:
Citing rising costs, Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest private employer, told its employees this week that all future part-time employees who work less than 24 hours a week on average will no longer qualify for any of the company’s health insurance plans.

In addition, any new employees who average 24 hours to 33 hours a week will no longer be able to include a spouse as part of their health care plan, although children can still be covered.


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SharynS
Post Posted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 5:28 pm

Joined: 28 Jan 2006
Posts: 3626
Location: the 'puter
Monkey see monkey do eh, UFCW retail contracts setting the standard. If Nugget workers are reading along, here's hoping they see that they don't have to pay dues to be treated like crap by their employers. Paying dues may actually just leave them subject to also being treated like crap by UFCW. The risk is there/high in Loveall land.

Making employment ground doesn't have to mean trapped by UFCW and then made pawns in a money game.

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Free speech is the whole thing, the whole ball game. Free speech is life itself. - Salman Rushdie
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Bill Sable
Post Posted: Sat Oct 22, 2011 4:05 am

Joined: 14 Feb 2009
Posts: 272
...and from UFCW Local 648/San Francisco in today's mail, the following:

"UFCW SOLIDARITY 2011/NORTHERN CALIFORNIA FOOD NEGOTIATIONS

Alliance of UFCW Unions Extends Contract with Major Supermarket Chains to Nov. 8th


As talks continue, members in Northern and Central California retail food stores will continue working under temporary agreement.

Negotiating together under the banner of the UFCW Solidarity Alliance, three local Unions of the United Food and Commercial Workers have agreed with three major supermarket companies in Northern and Central California to extend the terms of their collective bargaining agreement to Nov. 8th.
The temporary extension will protect our members' current wages, benefits and working conditions as discussions continue with representatives of Raleys/Nob Hill, Save Mart/Lucky and Safeway/Von's.
The extension past the contract's original expiration date of Oct. 8th will give the Unions and the employers more time to work through complicated issues that must be resolved before they reach a new agreement.
In addition to wages, the major issues at the bargaining table include health benefits and pensions.
The extended contract which was negotiated in 2007, affects some 60,000 workers in hundreds of locations from the Oregon border in the north to Monterey, Kings and Tulare counties in the south.
The contract that eventually emerges from the negotiations will affect workers at many smaller companies in addition to the major supermarket chains.
The workers will vote on ratification of any agreement that is reached by their Union negotiators.

In Unity, Michael Sharpe"

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SharynS
Post Posted: Sat Oct 22, 2011 5:26 am

Joined: 28 Jan 2006
Posts: 3626
Location: the 'puter
Quote:
The temporary extension will protect our members' current wages, benefits and working conditions
...and protect employers' much coveted thanksgiving sales.
Quote:
...three local Unions of the United Food and Commercial Workers have agreed with three major supermarket companies...
Not that it matters one iota - a dog and pony show is a dog and pony show - but one would think being the agreeable bunch that they seem to be, they might have agreed to start negotiating well ahead of deadlines.

Does anyone else get sick of ufcw dumb-nuts pumping out the same rhetorical bullshit year after year, and making like it's freakin' news.

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Free speech is the whole thing, the whole ball game. Free speech is life itself. - Salman Rushdie
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John Briley
Post Posted: Wed Oct 26, 2011 8:26 pm

Joined: 21 Nov 2007
Posts: 2158
Quote:
UFCW Local 5 Negotiations Update #7

October 24, 2011

http://ufcw5.org/PDF%20Files/ENegotiationsUpdate7.pdf

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John Briley
Post Posted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 5:05 pm

Joined: 21 Nov 2007
Posts: 2158
Thanks for the heads up regarding the following article:

Raleys To Halt Health Coverage for Some Retirees 65 Plus

http://www.sacbee.com/2011/11/05/4031970/raleys-to-halt-health-coverage.html

Sac Bee / November 5, 2011
By: Darrell Smith

Quote:

Raley's will stop providing health coverage to its retired hourly employees 65 and older in July 2012, the supermarket chain said in a letter to retirees.

The letter, dated Oct. 24 and signed by Michael Teel, Raley's president and chief executive officer, said the chain is struggling to maintain profitability amid a down economy, increased competition and escalating health costs.

"Unfortunately, due to the economic downturn and increased competition we are struggling to sustain our business," the letter read. "We have … determined that Raley's can no longer cover the cost of this benefit."



Interestingly enough I have yet to read any rebuttals and or outrage from any of the Leadership @ UFCW Local 5, 8, & 648 concerning Raley's / Nob Hill's Blatant attack on their Retirees???

Once again, each and every Active and Retiree in Northern California had better take this "threat" very seriously from Raleys.

Clearly this Employer has has taken a very bold step by signaling their intentions to the Sac Bee with respect to eliminating Retiree Health Coverage!

Time will only tell as to the intentions of Safeway and Savemart as it pertains to this subject matter.

We provided the following information during the recent Southern Ca. Food Negotiations. Based on the recent Sac Bee newspaper article, it clearly is the time for Northern Ca. UFCW Active & Retirees to start contacting their Local Union Leadership immediately!

Quote:
Pledge to UFCW Members and Retirees throughout the USA and Canada:

1. Any and all Contract Concessions, including any Retiree claw-backs and/or additional H&W co-pay premiums will automatically trigger an immediate reduction in UFCW members' weekly/monthly dues structure and initiation fees within their respective Local Union.

2. Any and all Contract Concessions, including any Retiree claw-backs and/or additional H&W co-pay premiums will automatically trigger an immediate reduction in Leadership and Union Reps salaries within the respective Local Union and I.U. staff.

3. Additionally, any and all Contract Concessions, including any Retiree claw-backs and/or additional H&W co-pay premiums will trigger an immediate reduction in the monthly Per Capita tax required to be paid by the Local Union to the I.U.

As indicated in UFCW Local and International communications, articles and speeches, UFCW Leadership pledge to, at a minimum, stand in full solidarity with UFCW Members and UFCW Retirees.

http://forums.uncharted.ca/viewtopic.php?p=21773&highlight=#21773



Last edited by John Briley on Tue Nov 08, 2011 7:21 pm; edited 1 time in total
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John Briley
Post Posted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 7:17 pm

Joined: 21 Nov 2007
Posts: 2158
Hey.... someone might want to tell Raleys / Bel Air / Nob Hill / Food Source to get their "shit / act together"!!!!!.

Check it out...

Raleys Stores Say Some Customers Charged Twice on Sunday

http://www.sacbee.com/2011/11/08/4038777/raleys-stores-says-some-customers.html

Sac Bee / November 8, 2011
By: Bill Lindelof

Quote:

Customers who shopped at Raley's, Bel Air, Nob Hill and Food Source stores on Sunday may have been double-charged if they used plastic to pay for groceries.

The West Sacramento-based chain said that there was a technical problem with transactions using debit cards, credit cards, gift cards and EBT cards that may have resulted in duplicate charges. A customer could have been charged more than once for the same amount.


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