From labor disputes cases to labor and employment publications, for your research, you’ll find solutions on Bloomberg Law®. Protect your clients by developing strategies based on Litigation...
Sept. 27 — Grocery store workers at Schnuck Markets Inc. in St. Louis voted 1,934 to 250 to reject a contract offer, but negotiations will resume shortly in hopes of avoiding a strike.
The employees, represented by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 655, followed the recommendation of the union’s negotiating team in rejecting the three-year deal Sept. 26 and authorizing a strike.
Statements released after the vote by the union and the company, however, indicate that negotiations will continue and that a strike doesn’t appear imminent.
In a letter to workers before the vote, Schnucks said it was offering increased starting wages, a shorter time period for workers to progress through the first four wage brackets, a cash bonus and increased wages at the upper end of the pay scale.
But union officials said the proposed contract would lead to the loss of 133 full-time jobs, increase health-care costs, eliminate a guaranteed minimum 25-hour schedule for part-time employees, eliminate the holiday wage premium for new hires and reduce vacation time for part-time employees hired after 2009.
The proposal also featured wage increases that were less than increases in the cost of living, union officials said.
David Cook, president of Local 655, issued a statement saying the union hopes this “overwhelming rejection” will send a clear message that the substantial sacrifices made by workers over the past three contracts have allowed the company to be “extremely profitable.”
Schnucks said in a statement: “We’ll be meeting with 655 leadership for what we expect to be productive and meaningful discussions, just as we have had with numerous union leaders over the years. Our goal remains the same—to deliver a solution that works for our teammates. It is important that we do this while keeping our business positioned to compete against the more than 580+ non-union supermarkets and stores that sell food throughout our metro area.”
The parties have tentatively agreed to resume negotiations Sept. 29, said Collin Reischman, a Local 655 spokesman.
Local 655 represents about 4,500 Schnucks employees, in addition to about 4,500 workers employed by two other local supermarket chains, Dierbergs Markets and Shop ’n Save. The three chains have entered into an agreement under which the contract between Local 655 and Schnucks will set the economic terms of the other two agreements, Reischman said.
The overwhelming rejection of the offer was based on members’ anger over the economic provisions, Reischman told Bloomberg BNA Sept. 27.
“It’s hard to pick one thing that made them angriest,” Reischman said. “The contract really goes after every group of workers, no matter where you work in the store or what you do. There’s something in there for everyone to get pretty mad about.”
Schnucks workers have been forced to make painful sacrifices over the past several contracts and are unwilling to continue doing so in a climate in which the company is clearly thriving, he said.
“Here we have a proposal that cuts health benefits and reduces full-time jobs, and doesn’t give us anything meaningful in terms of wage increases, all while the company has been incredibly competitive,” he said. “It’s time for the company to come forward with a fair deal.”
The current contract expired in May but has been extended on a day-to-day basis as talks continue, Reischman said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Brown in St. Louis at ChrisBrown@bna.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan J. McGolrick at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)