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JOINT RANK-AND-FILE NEGOTIATING COMMITTEES OF UFCW LOCALS 539 AND 876 UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTS STATEMENT TO STRIKING KROGER WORKERS

JOINT RANK-AND-FILE NEGOTIATING COMMITTEES OF UFCW LOCALS 539 AND 876
 UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTS STATEMENT TO STRIKING KROGER WORKERS
 MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich., May 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The joint rank-and- file Negotiating Committees of UFCW locals 539 and 876, having reviewed Kroger's proposal that was presented to union leadership and the news media on Friday, unanimously adopted the following statement to the striking Kroger workers:
 The Negotiating Committees deeply resent the arrogant actions of the company in refusing to meet with the rank-and-file Negotiating Committees which is the proper forum in collective bargaining to present this so-called "breakthrough" offer. By choosing, instead, to attempt to divide the membership of our union from the leadership and to turn this proposal into a media circus, Kroger is subverting the collective bargaining process.
 We sincerely regret that the Kroger Co. also refused to immediately enter into bargaining based on this slightly revised offer, as our union leadership properly offered. Having reviewed the company's offer and its comments to the media in detail, the Joint Negotiating Committees make the following observations:
 1) There is nothing new in working while both parties seek to reach agreement on the many outstanding issues. We tried that for more than three months and made absolutely no headway because of Kroger's adamant refusal to bargain in good faith. Indeed, the National Labor Relations Board has informed Local 539 that it has issued unfair labor practice complaints against Kroger for refusing to bargain with Local 539.
 2) At best, this is the same package that was overwhelmingly rejected by the members of Local 876. The fancy new ribbon of a bonus for one-third of the members cannot hide the fact that this package has been shrink-wrapped for two-thirds of our members. The shrink-wrapping has squeezed out the following:
 -- Post-'87 hires would lose one supplemental day;
 -- Post-'87 hires would lose 20 cents an hour in wage increases over
 Kroger's final offer;
 -- Everyone would lose retroactivity, which on average amounts to
 $300 per employee;
 -- No first-year wage increase for pre-'87 hires which would mean 12
 years between real wage increases; and
 -- Over the life of the contract, Farmer Jack workers will be making
 about $3,000 more in wages, including Kroger's so-called bonus,
 than Kroger workers doing the same job.
 3) Kroger failed to address any of the key issues which led our members to reject Kroger's "final offer" more than a month ago. Our members well understand these issues:
 -- Kroger's demand to take away our work through unlimited vendor
 stocking;
 -- Kroger's demand to take away preference for Sunday and holiday
 work based on seniority, which could cost senior employees
 thousands of dollars a year in premium pay;
 -- Kroger's refusal to provide additional full-time jobs, despite
 offering a "guarantee" of fewer full-time jobs than already
 exist;
 -- Kroger's demand to take away the opportunity for part-time
 employees to become full-time or to receive dependent coverage;
 -- Kroger's demand to "cap" the hours part-timers can work at 36
 hours a week, which works a double hardship on many part-timers
 a) by effectively blocking them from ever reaching full-time
 status; and b) depriving them of the opportunity to earn
 additional income by working more hours;
 -- Kroger's demand to take away dependent coverage from more than
 1,100 employees currently eligible for that coverage; and
 -- Kroger's demand to eliminate the minimum incentive bonus, which
 will take away hundreds of dollars in added income for the
 majority of employees.
 4) In our opinion, if Kroger truly believes that these issues can be resolved later in a mutually agreeable fashion, then they can be resolved now through good faith bargaining. There is no magic to May 19, but July 5 is very significant since it would allow Kruger to fatten up on Memorial Day and July 4th profits in order to hold out through the traditionally slow period before Labor Day. By making the December bonus contingent on the union capitulating on these key issues of jobs, benefits, and money, Kroger is not deceiving our fulltime members who are striking for a fair and just contract for all Kroger workers.
 For these reasons, the Joint Negotiating Committees see nothing in this proposal to recommend it to the membership or even sufficient reason for a vote. In many ways, it is a step backward, despite a highly effective strike.
 However, the Negotiating Committees have asked the Advisory Committee, which represents every store and every segment of our membership, to take this information and our analysis back to the members on the picket line for the next two days and to report back to us on Monday as to the sentiment of the membership.
 At the same time, we have directed the leadership of Local 539 and 876 to immediately bring unfair labor practices charges against the company for its blatant circumvention of the union, this committee, and the collective bargaining process. By going to the members directly rather than to this committee, Kroger committed an unfair labor practice of by-passing the elected union representatives. We are angered by numerous reports of store managers pressuring employees and trying to coerce them into abandoning their successful strike and the principles for which they struck on April 13. This is as illegal as it is outrageous. Consideration of this proposal is union business and the company should mind its own business, which is off approximately 80 percent.
 The Negotiating Committee is ready, willing and prepared to negotiate, bargain, and compromise to reach a settlement of this strike, and we call upon Kroger to immediately return to the bargaining table. We pledge not to leave that table until a contract proposal worthy of our membership's consideration is achieved.
 Kroger's Final Offer Revised Proposal Union Explanation
 1) Unlimited vendor No change Probably loss of jobs
 stocking and hours
 2) Maintain demonstrated No change Continued discrimination
 skill and ability against more senior
 language for promotion employees
 3) Maintain county No change Limits opportunities for
 seniority for full-timers to maximize
 maximization of hours hours
 4) No jurisdiction for Agreed to Improvement from final
 Local 876 for any new negotiate with offer
 or acquired stores in Local 876 over
 old Local 11 new or acquired
 jurisdiction stores in old
 Local 11
 jurisdiction
 5) Reduce supplemental Reduce Improvement for pre-'87
 days for pre-'87 supplemental hires at the expense of
 hires to 5. Post- days for pre-'87 the post-'87 hires who
 '87 hires to keep hires to 8. lose one supplemental
 current 5 Reduce post-'87 day
 supplemental days hires supplemen-
 tal days to 4.
 6) Four-year contract Four-year In effect, a 53 month
 expiring 1/6/96 contract to contract
 expire 5/25/96
 7) $1-an-hour Sunday and No change Maintains two-tier
 holiday premium for premium rate
 new hires
 8) No change in two-tier No change Forces post-'87 hires to
 work week work Sunday at lesser
 premium than Farmer Jack
 9) No preference for No change Senior employees could
 Sundays and holidays lose thousands of
 based on seniority dollars in premium pay
 10) Excess pension Company still Pensions are "deferred
 contributions to wants to keep income;" Excess
 revert to Kroger, excess pension contributions should be
 rather than be used contributions used for wage or pension
 for wage or pension increases
 increases
 11) No change in current No change Competition has 50-50
 50-50 ratio based on ratio based on head
 hours count. Potential
 full-time jobs lost
 12) Employees must average No change Full-time jobs to be
 40 hours a week for 12 created only at
 consecutive weeks company's discretion
 because of cap on
 part-time hours
 13) Part-timers capped at No change Potential income loss to
 36 hours a week part-timers now working
 more than 36 hours a
 week. No opportunity to
 qualify for full-time
 benefits.
 14) Employees must average No change 1,140 employees would
 40 hours a week for 12 lose dependent coverage.
 weeks to receive
 dependent coverage
 15) Guarantee of 2,000 No change Presently 2,087
 full-time jobs full-time employees.
 Loss of 87 full-time
 jobs.
 16) No improvement in No change No light at the end of
 benefits based on the tunnel
 seniority
 17) Retroactive to 1/5/92 No Take away of $300 pay on
 retroactivity average
 18) Wages -- pre-'87 Wages -- pre- A 12th year before a
 hires (Top-rated '87 hires real wage increase.
 employees) (Dept. heads, During life of contract,
 1/5/92 -- $.50/hour clerks/cashiers)Farmer Jack workers will
 8/2/92 -- .25/hour 12/5/92 -- make $3,000 more than
 8/1/93 -- .25/hour $1,000 bonus Kroger worker doing same
 8/7/94 -- .25/hour 5/29/93 -- job. Combined with lost
 8/6/95 -- .25/hour $.40/hour Sundays and holidays,
 5/22/94 -- Kroger workers will lose
 $.45/hour additional thousands
 5/21/95 --
 $.45/hour
 (Top-rated non-dept.
 head, non-clerk/
 cashier)
 $750 bonus to be
 paid within 30 days
 12/5/92 --
 $750 bonus
 hourly increase same
 as above
 19) Wages -- post-'87 Wages -- post-'87 No bonus. Lost
 hire -- same increases hires 5/24/92 -- $.20/hour. Lost
 as pre-'87 hires $.25/hour remaining retroactivity
 increases in
 progressions, top
 rates reduced by
 $.20/hour
 20) Eliminate minimum No change Potential loss of
 incentive bonus hundreds of
 dollars per year
 -0- 5/16/92
 /CONTACT: Al Zack of United Food & Commercial Workers Union Local No. 876, 800-321-6406/ CO: United Food & Commercial Workers Union Local No. 876, 539 ST: Michigan IN: FOD SU:


TS-MA -- NYSA003 -- 1069 05/16/92 14:33 EDT
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Date:May 16, 1992
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