Turning point Sunday in grocery dispute.Byline: EDWARD RUSSO The Register-Guard
Sunday promises to be a key day in Lane County's intensifying in·ten·si·fy
v. in·ten·si·fied, in·ten·si·fy·ing, in·ten·si·fies
1. To make intense or more intense: grocery-store labor dispute, with union workers scheduled on that day to either accept their employers' latest offer or go on strike.
Leaders of the United Food and Commercial Workers The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union is a labor union representing approximately 1.4 million workers in the United States and Canada in many industries, including agriculture, health care, meatpacking, poultry and food processing, manufacturing, textile and Union Local 555 on Thursday called for the crucial votes on Sunday while hoping a settlement with Albertsons, Fred Meyer and Safeway can be reached by then to avert a strike that could spill beyond Lane County's borders.
Negotiations between the union and representatives of the three grocery store chains broke off late Wednesday night, setting the stage for Sunday's showdown.
But bargainers from both sides have agreed to last-minute help from a Washington, D.C.-based group of food industry chief executives and union presidents, who hope to mediate MEDIATE, POWERS. Those incident to primary powers, given by a principal to his agent. For example, the general authority given to collect, receive and pay debts due by or to the principal is a primary power. a compromise before Sunday.
The stakes are high, union officials said, partly because a strike could quickly spread to the companies' stores in Salem and Coos Bay Coos Bay (ks), city (1990 pop. 15,076), Coos co., SW Oreg., a port of entry on Coos Bay; founded 1854 as Marshfield, inc. 1874, renamed 1944. .
The grocery store chains also are nervous about a strike during the Thanksgiving holiday week, a busy time for food stores.
"A strike is not good for anybody," said Melinda Merrill, a spokeswoman for the companies' Tigard-based bargaining representative, Northwest Food Employers Inc. "It's not good for customers. It's not good for employees."
The union, which represents 1,200 workers in the three companies' 21 Lane County stores, had planned for workers to go on strike today, but agreed to the extension after the Joint Labor Management Committee of the retail food industry asked to help end the deadlock See deadly embrace.
(parallel, programming) deadlock - A situation where two or more processes are unable to proceed because each is waiting for one of the others to do something. .
The intervention came late Wednesday evening, near the end of three straight days of bargaining talks held at the DoubleTree Hotel in Springfield. Earlier in the evening, union leaders had told representatives of the three grocery store chains that workers would go on strike today if an agreement could not be reached by the end of the bargaining session, said Rick Sawyer, spokesman for FCW FCW Federal Computer Week
FCW Florida Championship Wrestling
FCW Forward Collision Warning
FCW FC Wacker Innsbruck (traditional soccer club)
FCW Field Claims Workstation (State Farm Insurance) Local 555.
Then, federal mediator mediator n. a person who conducts mediation. A mediator is usually a lawyer, or retired judge, but can be a non-attorney specialist in the subject matter (like child custody) who tries to bring people and their disputes to early resolution through a conference. Connie Weimer was contacted by the executive director of the Joint Labor Management Committee who asked to intervene, Sawyer said.
Agreeing to the three-day recess and calling off the strike "was a tough choice, but we have to use everything in our power to prevent a strike," he said.
With the top executives and labor leaders of the Washington, D.C.-based Joint Labor Management Committee now involved, Lane County's contract talks have been put in the national spotlight, he said. "It's now taken on national prominence because the settlement here will have implications across the country for both sides," Sawyer said.
The grocery chains' meat cutters A Retail Meat Cutter prepares primal cuts into a variety of smaller cuts intended for sale in a retail environment. The duties of a Meat Cutter are related to that of a Butcher. , checkstand clerks, grocery baggers, shelf stockers, and deli and bakery workers have been without a contract since last February. The contract for Fred Meyer's checkstand workers has not expired.
In nine previous meetings since January, labor and management have failed to agree on such major contract items as wages, medical insurance and pension contributions.
The employers want a five-year contract.
Albertsons, Safeway and Fred Meyer say they are being financially squeezed by rapidly rising health insurance costs and loss of customers to nonunion nonunion /non·union/ (non-un´yun) failure of the ends of a fractured bone to unite.
The failure of a fractured bone to heal normally. competitors. The stores also are getting ready to battle nonunion Wal-Mart, which is expected to add 70,000-square-foot grocery stores at its west Eugene and Springfield discount outlets in the next couple of years.
Albertsons, Safeway and Fred Meyer have asked full-time employees to pay a share of their health insurance premiums. Currently, the companies pay the full premium. Also, the employers had proposed a two-tier wage structure in which new employees would receive lower compensation, including a health care plan that costs employers less.
On wages, the employers have proposed that veteran employees receive a 25-cent-per-hour increase, payable in a lump sum Lump sum
A large one-time payment of money. once a year.
Having existed or persisted for a long time: a longtime friend; a longtime resident of Detroit.
Adjective employees make up about 25 percent of the covered workers, Sawyer said. However, Merrill said, at Fred Meyer's three Eugene-Springfield stores, longtime employees comprise 35 percent of courtesy clerks and 42 percent of food and bakery workers.
Sunday's meeting of union members will be at 9 a.m. and again at 7 p.m., at the DoubleTree Hotel.
Sawyer said the Sunday deadline and strike vote is a "line in the sand" drawn by the union.
"We are not going to allow these profitable corporations to take money out of our members' pockets and force them to pay their own medical insurance premiums and, at the same time, freeze their level of income and wages for five years," he said.
If a strike is called, other unions will honor picket lines, including Teamsters Teamsters
large, powerful union of U. S. truckers. [Am. Hist.: NCE, 2703]
See : Labor Local 206, which represents the drivers of the grocery chains' trucks, plus other suppliers to the stores, said Tom Leedham, secretary treasurer of the local.
Sawyer said a strike has the possibility to spread to other Oregon cities There are two places named Oregon City in the United States:
"If we wanted to put picket lines up at Safeways in Tacoma, Seattle and San Francisco San Francisco (săn frănsĭs`kō), city (1990 pop. 723,959), coextensive with San Francisco co., W Calif., on the tip of a peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, which are connected by the strait known as the Golden , we could do that." he said. "The game playing is over."