The last 14 months have been a telling time for our union. We’ve faced over 10 contract battles, combatting to preserve the benefits we’ve attained the last 70 years as a union, and fighting to secure new ones.
Contracts with Key Food, Fairway, Wild by Nature, Kings and ShopRite were signed and ratified in the last few months. Our entire union has faced the significant 800 lb. elephant in the room that every company has used as a tool to marginalize our contracts, the ACA (Affordable Care Act). However we still have persevered most our benefits and were able to reach fair bargaining agreements this past spring. Mark my words; the same will go for this fall and winter with contract negotiations for Stop & Shop, King Kullen and King Kullen RX.
We will not accept anything less.
The companies are aware of our bargaining position. These two companies aren’t expecting a fight from us. I fully expect that Stop & Shop and King Kullen want to take away our pension, take away more of our benefits, then give us scraps for raises. They expect us to sit back and take these concessions. We will not and cannot. Stopping their concessionary bargaining starts with you in the stores. Management will play their games again, they will spread rumors about concessions, rumors about what is “really going on” during contract negotiations. Rumors and this kind of talk throughout the stores are used as a way to divide our union.
This is how they have negotiated with us during the last decade and this is how they’ll continue to negotiate. They have displayed no respect for our work in the stores, or no respect for the tons we sweat to make them profitable. If they respected us they wouldn’t play these games and try to take away every single benefit we fight for and we all deserve. Every minute of the day there are individuals at our companies undermining, and figuring out ways to gut our contracts. Together we can combat them.
Negotiations are a simple formula, we get what our strength shows we deserve. Without an organized membership, we will not get anything.
Make no mistake; this battle (and every contract battle) will foretell the future of our entire union, not just the future for Stop & Shop and King Kullen. The next three months will be especially trying for 8,000 Stop & Shop and King Kullen members. Our union is counting on you to not just say the rhetoric, but to stand with your brothers and sisters as we head into negotiations once again. Last winter you did. Members from stores across our jurisdiction came to prepare STRIKE signs in the event of a stop work action. Hundreds signed up to volunteer and “Adopt a Shop” in the event of a picket line at a store. This time we’ll need our entire union, again, to stand with King Kullen and Stop & Shop workers as we fight to protect our benefits and to earn new ones.
Sign up for updates online at ufcw1500.org/contract14, don’t buy into any rumors that are being spread in the stores, attend your update meetings, and communicate with your union!
I urge all King Kullen and Stop & Shop members to attend their contract proposal meetings this month (details page 14), and I urge all members to attend our General Membership Meeting on September 10th at 7PM at our Union Hall. As the old adage goes, “Success is a ladder which we cannot expect to climb with our hands in our pockets.”
Be sure to enjoy your Labor Day, you earned it. I’ll see you at our next meeting.